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´╗┐Title: Si Klegg, Complete, Books 1-6
Author: McElroy, John
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Si Klegg, Complete, Books 1-6" ***

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SI KLEGG

His Transformation From a Raw Recruit To A Veteran



By John McElroy



Frontispiece

Title Page


PUBLISHED BY

THE NATIONAL TRIBUNE CO.,

WASHINGTON, D. C

SECOND EDITION


COPYRIGHT 1910



THE SIX VOLUMES SI KLEGG, Book I, Transformation From a Raw Recruit SI
KLEGG, Book II, Through the Stone River Campaign SI KLEGG, Book III,
Meets Mr. Rosenbaum, the Spy SI KLEGG, Book IV, On The Great Tullahoma
Campaign SI KLEGG, Book V, Deacon's Adventures At Chattanooga SI KLEGG,
Book VI, Enter On The Atlanta Campaign



PREFACE.

"Si Klegg, of the 200th Ind., and Shorty, his Partner," were born more
than 25 years ago in the brain of John McElroy, editor of The National
Tribune, who invented the names and characters, outlined the general
plan, and wrote a number of the chapters. Subsequently, the editor,
having many other important things pressing upon his attention, called
in an assistant to help on the work, and this assistant, under the
direction and guidance of the editor, wrote some of these chapters.
Subsequently, without the editor's knowledge or consent, the assistant
adopted all the material as his own, and expanded it into a book which
had a limited sale and then passed into the usual oblivion of shortlived
subscription books.

The sketches in this first number are the original ones published in The
National Tribune in 1885-6, revised and enlarged somewhat by the editor.

Those in the second and all following numbers appeared in The National
Tribune when the editor, John McElroy, resumed the story in 1897, 12
years after the first publication, and continued it for the
unprecedented period of seven years, with constantly growing interest
and popularity. They gave "Si Klegg" a nation-wide and enduring
celebrity. Gen. Lew Wallace, the foremost literary man of his day,
pronounced "Si Klegg" the "great idyll of the war."

How true they are to nature every veteran can abundantly testify from
his own service. Really, only the name of the regiment was invented.
There is no doubt that there were several men of the name of Josiah
Klegg in the Union Army, and who did valiant service for the Government.
They had experiences akin to, if not identical with, those narrated
here, and substantially every man who faithfully and bravely carried a
musket in defense of the best Government on earth had sometimes, if not
often, experiences of with those of Si Klegg, Shorty and the boys are
strong reminders.

Many of the illustrations in this first number are by the late Geo. Y.
Coffin, deceased, a talented artist, whose work embellished The National
Tribune for many years. He was the artist of The National Tribune until
his lamented and premature death, and all his military work was done by
daily consultation, instruction and direction of the editor of The
National Tribune.

THE NATIONAL TRIBUNE.



CONTENTS


PREFACE.

SI KLEGG


CHAPTER I. GOING TO WAR\x97SI KLEGG'S COMPLETE EQUIPMENT

CHAPTER II. THE DEADLY BAYONET

CHAPTER III. THE OLD CANTEEN

CHAPTER IV. THE AWFUL HARDTACK

CHAPTER V. FAT PORK\x97INDISPENSABLE BODY TIMBER FOR PATRIOTISM

CHAPTER VI. DETAILED AS COOK\x97SI FINDS RICE ANOTHER INNOCENT

CHAPTER VII. IN THE AWKWARD SQUAD

CHAPTER VIII. ON COMPANY DRILL

CHAPTER IX. SI GETS A LETTER

CHAPTER X. SI AND THE DOCTORS

CHAPTER XI. THE PLAGUE OF THE SOLDIER

CHAPTER XII. A WET NIGHT

CHAPTER XIII. SI "STRAGGLED"

CHAPTER XIV. SI AND THE MULES

CHAPTER XV. UNDER FIRE\x97SI HAS A FIGHT, CAPTURES A PRISONER

CHAPTER XVI. ONE OF THE "NON-COMMISH"

CHAPTER XVII. FORAGING ON THE WAY

CHAPTER XVIII.   A SUNDAY OFF

CHAPTER XIX. A CLOSE CALL

CHAPTER XX. "THE SWEET SABBATH"

CHAPTER XXI. SI AND SHORTY WERE RAPIDLY LEARNING

CHAPTER XXII. A NIGHT OF SONG



ILLUSTRATIONS


Title Page

Frontispiece

Si Decides to Enlist

Off to the War

As Si Looked when he Landed at Louisville

Si's Load Begins to Get Heavy

Si's Chum, "shorty" Elliott

The Diverse Uses of the Good Old Canteen

What the Bayonet Was Good for

As Maria Pictured Si Using his Bayonet

He Tries the Butt of his Gun on It

The Best Way After All

The Veteran Talks to Si

Drawing Rations

"All Right, Boss; Dats a Go"

Si Falls out With his Food

Si Thinks It over

The Trouble Begins

The Rice Gets the Bulge

Si Makes the Acquaintance of The Guard House

"Right Shoulder Shift\x97Arms!"

"Fix\x97bayonets!"

Brought his Gun Down on the Man's Foot

Don't Care a Continental

"Right\x97face!"

"Forward\x97march!"

"Company\x97right Wheel!"

It's from Annabel

Si Carries a Rail

Si Writes to "deer Annie."

An Army Writing-desk

Laying the Foundation

A Rude Awakening

Visits the Doctor

"Let Yer Nails Grow; Ye'll Need 'em"

"Say, Cap, What Kind O' Bug is This?"

"Skirmishing"

"Naw! Lemme Show Ye How!"

Struck by a Cyclone

Supper Under Difficulties

A Field Shanty

It's the Morning

Taking the Top Rail

"Don't Stab Me."

Hydropathic Treatment

Si Defies a Regiment

He Let Both Heels Fly

Si Went Sprawling

Stuck in the Mud

It Burst With a Loud "bang."

Si Takes a Crack at A Reb

Si Captures a Johnny

Corporal si Klegg

One of the "Non-Com Mish."

"Not 'less Ye Say 'Bunker Hill.'"

They Had Shot a Mule

The 200th Ind. Was Not Without Talent in Foraging

Si Beat a Retreat

Si Being Worked for a "good Thing."

Si Was Disposed to Grumble

Showing the Old Man a Trick

Waiting for Their Clothes to Dry

An Assault on the Well-filled Corn Crib

Shorty Held the Calf

Si Sprang Upon Him

"Shorty if We\x97only Git\x97out O' This\x97"

So Straight he Leaned Backward

Si Almost Fainted when the Colonel Stopped

Shorty Was There\x97with a Guard



THIS BOOK IS RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED TO THE RANK AND FILE OF THE GRANDEST
ARMY EVER MUSTERED FOR WAR.



SI KLEGG



CHAPTER I. GOING TO WAR\x97SI KLEGG'S COMPLETE EQUIPMENT AND WHAT BECAME OF
IT.

AFTER Si Klegg had finally yielded to his cumulative patriotic impulses
and enlisted in the 200th Ind. for three years or until the rebellion
was put down, with greater earnestness and solemnity to equip himself
for his new career.

He was thrifty and provident, and believed in being ready for any
emergency. His friends and family coincided with him. The Quartermaster
provided him with a wardrobe that was serviceable, if not stylish, but
there were many things that he felt he would need in addition.

"You must certainly have a few pairs of homeknit socks and some changes
of underclothes," said his tearfully-solicitous mother. "They won't
weigh much, and they'll in all likelihood save you a spell of sickness."

"Certainly," responded Josiah, "I wouldn't think of going away without
'em."

Into the capacious knapsack went several pounds of substantial knit
woolen goods.

"You can't get along without a couple of towels and a piece of soap,"
said his oldest sister, Maria, as she stowed those things alongside the
socks and underclothes.

"Si," said Ellen, his second sister, "I got this pocket album for my
gift to you. It contains all our pictures, and there is a place for
another's picture, whose name I suppose I needn't mention," she added
archly.

Si got a little red in the face, but said:

"Nothing could be nicer, Nell. It'll be the greatest comfort in the
world to have all your pictures to look at when I'm down in Dixie."

"Here's a 'housewife' I've made for you with my own hands," added
Annabel, who was some other fellow's sister. She handed him a neatly-
stitched little cloth affair. "You see, it has needles, thread, buttons,
scissors, a fine-tooth comb, and several other things that you'll need
very badly after you've been in camp awhile. And" (she got so near Si
that she could whisper the rest) "you'll find in a little secret pocket
a lock of my hair, which I cut off this morning."

"I suppose I'll have a good deal of leisure time while we're in camp,"
said Si to himself and the others; "I believe I'll just put this Ray's
Arithmetic and Greene's Grammar in."

"Yes, my young friend," added the Rev. Boanarg, who had just entered the
house, "and as you will be exposed to new and unusual temptations, I
thought it would be judicious to put this volume of 'Baxter's Call to
the Unconverted' in your knapsack, for it may give you good counsel when
you need it sorely."

"Thankee," said Si, stowing away the book. Of course, Si had to have a
hair-brush, blackingbrush, a shaving kit, and some other toilet
appliances.

Si Decides to Enlist 017

Then it occurred to his thoughtful sister Maria that he ought to have a
good supply of stationery, including pens, a bottle of ink, and a
portfolio on which to write when he was far away from tables and desks.

These went in, accompanied by a half-pint bottle of "No. 6," which was
Si's mother's specific for all the ills that flesh is heir to. Then, the
blanket which the Quartermaster had issued seemed very light and
insufficient to be all the bed-clothes a man would have when sleeping on
the bare ground, and Si rolled up one of the warm counterpanes that had
helped make the Indiana Winter nights so comfortable for him.

"Seems rather heavy," said Si as he put his knapsack on; "but I guess
I'll get used to it in a little while. They say that soldiers learn to
carry surprising loads on their backs. It'll help cure me of being
round-shouldered; it'll be better 'n shoulder-braces for holding me up
straight."

Of course, his father couldn't let him go away without giving him
something that would contribute to his health and comfort, and at last
the old gentleman had a happy thought\x97he would get the village shoemaker
to make Si a pair of his best stout boots. They would be ever so much
better than the shoes the Quartermaster furnished for tramping over the
muddy roads and swamps of the South. Si fastened these on top of his
knapsack until he should need them worse than at present.

His old uncle contributed an immense bowie knife, which he thought would
be of great use in the sanguinary hand-to-hand conflicts Si would have
to wage.

On the way to the depot Si found some of his comrades gathered around an
enterprising retail dealer in hardware, who was convincing them that
they could serve their country much better, besides adding to their
comfort, by buying from him a light hatchet and a small frying-pan,
which he offered, in consideration of their being soldiers, to sell them
at remarkable low rates.

Off to the War 019

Si saw at once the great convenience a hatchet and a frying-pan would
be, and added them to his kit. An energetic dealer in tinware succeeded
in selling him, before he reached the depot, a cunning little coffee-pot
and an ingenious combination of knife, fork and spoon which did not
weigh more than a pound.

When he got in the cars he was chagrined to find that several of his
comrades had provided themselves with convenient articles that he had
not thought of. He consoled himself that the regiment would stop some
time in Louisville, when he would have an opportunity of making up his
deficiencies.

But when the 200th reached Louisville there was no leisure for anything.
Bragg was then running his celebrated foot-race with Buell for the
Kentucky metropolis, and the 200th Ind. was trotted as rapidly as unused
legs could carry it to the works several miles from the center of the
city.

Everybody who was in that campaign remembers how terribly hot and dry
everything was.

Si Klegg managed to keep up tolerably near the head of the column until
camp was reached, but his shoulders were strained and blisters began to
appear on his feet.

"That was a mighty tough pull, wasn't it?" he said to his chum as they
spread their blankets on the dog-kennel and made some sort of a bed;
"but I guess after a day or two we'll get so used to it that we won't
mind it."

For a few days the 200th Ind. lay in camp, but one day there came an
order for the regiment to march to Bardstown as rapidly as possible. A
battle was imminent. The roads were dusty as ash-heaps, and though the
pace was not three miles an hour, the boys' tongues were hanging out
before they were out of sight of camp.

"I say, Captain, don't they never have resting spells in the army?" said
Si.

"Not on a forced march," answered the Captain, who, having been in the
first three months' service, was regarded as a veteran. "Push on, boys;
they say that they'll want us before night." Another hour passed.

As si Looked when he Landed at Louisville 021

"Captain, I don't believe you can put a pin-point anywhere on my feet
that ain't covered with a blister as big as a hen's egg," groaned Si.

"It's too bad, I know," answered the officer; "but you must go on. They
say Morgan's cavalry are in our rear shooting down every straggler they
can find."

Si saw the boys around him lightening their knapsacks. He abominated
waste above all things, but there seemed no help for it, and, reaching
into that receptacle that bore, down upon his aching shoulders like a
glacier on a groundhog, he pulled out and tossed into the fence corner
the educational works he had anticipated so much benefit from. The
bottle of "No. 6" followed, and it seemed as if the knapsack was a ton
lighter, but it yet weighed more than any stack of hay on the home farm.

A cloud of dust whirled up, and out of it appeared a galloping Aid.

"The General says that the 200th Ind. must push on much faster. The
enemy is trying to get to the bridge ahead of them," he shouted as he
dashed off in another cloud of dust.

A few shots were heard in the rear.

"Morgan's cavalry are shooting some more stragglers," shouted some one.

Si was getting desperate. He unrolled the counterpane and slashed it
into strips with his bowie. "My mother made that with her own hands," he
explained to a comrade, "and if I can't have the good of it no infernal
rebel shall. He next slashed the boots up and threw them after the
quilt, and then hobbled on to overtake the rest of his company.

"There's enough dry-goods and clothing lying along in the fence corners
to supply a good-sized town," the Lieutenant-Colonel reported as he rode
over the line of march in rear of the regiment.

The next day Si's feet felt as if there was a separate and individual
jumping toothache in every sinew, muscle, tendon and toe-nail; but that
didn't matter. With Bragg's infantry ahead and John Morgan's cavalry in
the rear, the 200th Ind. had to go forward so long as the boys could put
one foot before the other.

Si's Load Begins to Get Heavy 023

The unloading went on even more rapidly than the day before.

"My knapsack looks like an elephant had stept on it," Si said, as he
ruefully regarded it in the evening.

"Show me one in the regiment that don't," answered his comrade.

Thenceforward everything seemed to conspire to teach Si how vain and
superfluous were the things of this world. The first rain-storm soaked
his cherished album until it fell to pieces, and his sister's portfolio
did the same. He put the photographs in his blouse pocket and got along
just as well. When he wanted to write he got paper from the sutler. A
mule tramped on his fancy coffee-pot, and he found he could make quite
as good coffee in a quart-cup. A wagon-wheel lan over his cherished
frying-pan, and he melted an old canteen in two and made a lighter and
handier pan out of one-half of it. He broke his bowie-knife prying the
lid off a cracker-box. He piled his knapsack with the others one day
when the regiment was ordered to strip them off for a charge, and
neither he nor his comrades ever saw one of them again. He never
attempted to replace it. He learned to roll up an extra pair of socks
and a change of underclothing in his blanket, tie the ends of this
together and throw it over his shoulder sash fashion. Then, with his
socks drawn up over the bottoms of his pantaloons, three days' rations
in his haversack and 40 rounds in his cartridgebox, he was ready to make
his 30 miles a day in any direction he might be sent, and whip anything
that he encountered on the road.



CHAPTER II. THE DEADLY BAYONET IT IS USED FOR NEARLY EVERYTHING ELSE
THAN FOR PRODDING MEN.

IN COMMON with every other young man who enlisted to defend the glorious
Stars and Stripes, Si Klegg, of the 200th Ind., had a profound
superstition concerning the bayonet. All the war literature he had ever
read abounded in bloodcurdling descriptions of bayonet charges and hand-
to-hand conflicts, in which bayonets were repeatedly thrust up to the
shanks in the combatants' bodies just as he had put a pitch-fork into a
bundle of hay. He had seen pictures of English regiments bristling with
bayonets like a porcupine with quills, rushing toward French regiments
which looked as prickly as a chestnut-bur, and in his ignorance he
supposed that was the way fighting was done. Occasionally he would have
qualms at the thought of how little his system was suited to have cold
steel thrust through it promiscuous-like, but he comforted himself with
the supposition that he would probably get used to it in time\x97"soldiers
get used to almost anything, you know."

When the 200th Ind. drew its guns at Indianapolis he examined all the
strange accouterments with interest, but gave most to the triangular bit
of steel which writers who have never seen a battle make so important a
weapon in deciding contests.

It had milk, molasses, or even applejack, for Si then was not a member
of the Independent Order of Good Templars, of which society he is now an
honored officer. Nothing could be nicer, when he was on picket, to bring
buttermilk in from the neighboring farm-house to his chum Shorty, who
stood post while he was gone.

Si's Chum, 'shorty' Elliott 026

Later in the service Si learned the inestimable value of coffee to the
soldier on the march. Then he stript the cloth from his canteen,
fastened the strand with bits of wire and made a fine coffee-pot of it.
In the morning he would half fill it with the splendid coffee ihe
Government furnished, fill it up with water and hang it from a bush or a
stake over the fire, while he went ahead with his other culinary
preparations. By the time these were finished he would have at least a
quart of magnificent coffee that the cook of the Fifth Avenue could not
surpass, and which would last him until the regiment halted in the
afternoon.

The bully of the 200th took it into his thick head one day to try to
"run over" Si. The latter had just filled his canteen, and the bully
found that the momentum of three pints of water swung at arm's length by
an angry boy was about equal to a mule's kick.

Just as he was beginning to properly appreciate his canteen, he learned
a sharp lesson, that comes to all of us, as to how much "cussedness"
there can be in the simplest things when they happen to go wrong. He
went out one day and got a canteen of nice sweet milk, which he and
"Shorty" Elliott heartily enjoyed. He hung the canteen upon the ridge-
pole of the tent, and thought no more about it until the next day, when
he came in from drill, and found the tent filled with an odor so vile
that it made him cough.

"Why in thunder don't the Colonel send out a detail to find and bury
that dead mule? It'll pizen the hull camp."

He had been in service just long enough to believe that the Colonel
ought to look out for and attend to everything.

"'Taint no dead mule," said Shorty, whose nose had come close to the
source of the odor. "It's this blamed canteen. What on earth have you
been putting in it. Si?"

"Ha'int had nothin' in but that sweet milk yesterday."

"That's just what's the matter," said the Orderly, who, having been in
the three-months' service, knew all about war. He had come in to detail
Si and Shorty to help unload Quartermaster's stores. "You must always
scald out your canteens when you've had milk in 'em. Don't you remember
how careful your mother is to scald her milk pans?"

After the company wagon had run over and hopelessly ruined the neat
little frying-pan which Si had brought from Posey County, he was in
despair as to how he should fry his meat and cook his "lobscouse."
Necessity is the mother of invention. He melted in two a canteen he
picked up, and found its halves made two deep tin pans, very light and
very handy. A split stick made a handle, and he had as good a frying-pan
as the one he had lost, and much more convenient, for when done using
the handle was thrown away, and the pan slipt into the haversack, where
it lay snug and close, instead of clattering about as the frying-pan did
when the regiment moved at the double-quick.

The other half of the canteen was useful to brown coffee, bake hoe-cake,
and serve for toilet purposes.

One day on the Atlanta campaign the regiment moved up in line to the top
of a bald hill. As it rose above the crest it was saluted with a
terrific volley, and saw that another crest across the narrow valley was
occupied by at least a brigade of rebels.

"We'll stay right here, boys," said the plucky little Colonel, who had
only worn Sergeant's stripes when the regiment crossed the Ohio River.
"We've preempted this bit of real estate, and we'll hold it against the
whole Southern Confederacy. Break for that fence there, boys, and every
fellow come back with a couple of rails."

It seemed as if he hardly ceased speaking when the boys came running
back with the rails which they laid down along the crest, and dropped
flat behind them, began throwing the gravelly soil over them with their
useful half-canteens. In vain the shower of rebel bullets struck and
sang about them. Not one could penetrate that little ridge of earth and
rails, which in an hour grew into a strong rifle-pit against which the
whole rebel brigade charged, only to sustain a bloody repulse.

The war would have lasted a good deal longer had it not been for the
daily help of the ever-useful half-canteen.



CHAPTER III. THE OLD CANTEEN THE MANY AND QUEER USES TO WHICH IT WAS AT
LAST PUT.

The Diverse Uses of the Good Old Canteen 029

WHEN Josiah (called "Si" for short) Klegg, of the 200th Ind., drew his
canteen from the Quartermaster at Louisville, he did not have a very
high idea of its present or prospective importance. In the 22 hot
Summers that he had lived through he had never found himself very far
from a well or spring when his thirst cried out to be slacked, and he
did not suppose that it was much farther between wells down South.

"I don't see the use of carrying two or three pints o' water along all
day right past springs and over cricks," he remarked to his chum, as the
two were examining the queer, cloth-covered cans.

"We've got to take 'em, any way," answered his chum, resignedly, "It's
regulations."

On his entry into service a boy accepted everything without question
when assured that it was "regulations." He would have charged bayonets
on a buzz-saw if authoritatively informed that it was required by the
mysterious "regulations."

The long march the 200th Ind. made after Bragg over the dusty turnpikes
the first week in October, 1862, taught Si the value of a canteen. After
that it was rarely allowed to get empty.

"What are these grooves along each side for?" he asked, pointing out the
little hollows which give the "prod" lightness and strength.

"Why," answered the Orderly, who, having been in the three-months'
service, assumed to know more about war than the Duke of Wellington,
"the intention of those is to make a wound the lips of which will close
up when the bayonet is pulled out, so that the man'll be certain to
die."

Naturally so diabolical an intention sent cold shivers down Si's back.

The night before Si left for "the front" he had taken his musket and
couterments home to show them to his mother and sisters\x97and the other
fellow's sister, whose picture and lock of hair he had safely stowed
away. They looked upon the bayonet with a dreadful awe. Tears came into
Maria's eyes as she thought of Si roaming about through the South like a
bandit plunging that cruel steel into people's bowels.

"This is the way it's done," said Si, as he charged about the room in an
imaginary duel with a rebel, winding up with a terrifying lunge. "Die,
Tur-r-rraitor, gaul durn ye," he exclaimed, for he was really getting
excited over the matter, while the girls screamed and jumped upon the
chairs, and his good mother almost fainted.

The attention that the 200th Ind. had to give to the bayonet drill
confirmed Si's deep respect for the weapon, and he practiced assiduously
all the "lunges," "parries," and "guards" in the Manual, in the hope
that proficiency so gained would save his own dearly-beloved hide from
puncture, and enable him to punch any luckless rebel that he might
encounter as full of holes as a fishing net.

What the Bayonet Was Good for 033

The 200th Ind.'s first fight was at Perryville, but though it routed the
rebel force in front of it, it would have taken a bayonet half-a-mile
long to touch the nearest "Johnny." Si thought it odd that the rebels
didn't let him get close enough to them to try his new bayonet, and
pitch a dozen or two of them over into the next field.

If the truth must be told, the first blood that stained Si's bayonet was
not that of a fellow-man.

Si Klegg's company was on picket one day, while Gen. Buell was trying to
make up his mind what to do with Bragg. Rations had been a little short
for a week or so. In fact, they had been scarcely sufficient to meet the
demands of Si's appetite, and his haversack had nothing in it to speak
of. Strict orders against foraging had been, issued. It was the day of
"guarding rebel onion patches." Si couldn't quite get it straight in his
head why the General should be so mighty particular about a few pigs and
chickens and sweet potatoes, for he was really getting hungry, and when
a man is in this condition he is not in a fit mood to grapple with fine-
spun theories of governmental policy.

So when a fat pig came wabbling and grunting toward his post, it was to
Si like a vision of manna to the children of Israel in the wilderness. A
wild, uncontrollable desire to taste a fresh spare-rib took possession
of him. Naturally, his first idea was to send a bullet through the
animal, but on second thought he saw that wouldn't do at all. It would
"give him away" at once, and, besides, he had found that a single shot
on the picket-line would keep Buell's entire army in line-of-battle for
a whole day.

Si wrote to his mother that his bright new bayonet was stained with
Southern blood, and the old lady shuddered at the awful thought. "But,"
added Si, "it was only a pig, and not a man, that I killed!"

"I'm so glad!" she exclaimed.

As Maria Pictured si Using his Bayonet 035

By the time Si had been in the service a year there was less zeal in the
enforcement of orders of this kind, and Si had become a very skillful
and successful forager. He had still been unable to reach with his
bayonet the body of a single one of his misguided fellow citizens, but
he had stabbed a great many pigs and sheep. In fact, Si found his
bayonet a most useful auxiliary in his predatory operations. He could
not well have gotten along without it.

Uncle Sam generally furnished Si with plenty of coffee\x97roasted and
unground\x97but did not supply him with a coffee mill. Si thought at first
that the Government had forgotten something. He saw that several of the
old veterans of '61 had coffee mills, but he found on inquiry that they
had been obtained by confiscation only. He determined to supply himself
at the first opportunity, but in the meantime he was obliged to 'use his
bayonet as a substitute, just as all the rest of the soldiers did.

We regret to say that Si, having thrown away his "Baxter's Call to the
Unconverted" in his first march, and having allowed himself to forget
the lessons he had learned but a few years before in Sunday-school, soon
learned to play poker and other sinful games. These, at night, developed
another use for the bayonet. In its capacity as a "handy" candlestick it
was "equaled by few and excelled by none." The "shank" was always ready
to receive the candle, while the point could be thrust into the ground
in an instant, and nothing more was necessary. This was perhaps the most
general sphere of usefulness found by the bayonet during the war.
Barrels of candle-grease flowed down the furrowed sides of this weapon
for every drop of human blood that dimmed its luster.



CHAPTER IV. THE AWFUL HARDTACK THE HARD AND SOLID STAFF OF MILITARY
LIFE.

"APPETITE'S a queer thing," said Si to Shorty one day, when both were in
a philosophical mood. "It's an awful bother when you haven't it, and
it's a great deal worse when you have it, and can't get anything for
it." "Same as money," returned sage Shorty. During the first few months
of Si Klegg's service in the army the one thing that bothered him more
than anything else was his appetite. It was a very robust, healthy one
that Si had, for he had grown up on his father's farm in Indiana, and
had never known what it was to be hungry without abundant means at hand
for appeasing his desires in that direction. His mother's cupboard was
never known to be in the condition of Old Mother Hubbard's, described in
the nursery rhyme. The Kleggs might not have much tapestry and bric-a-
brac in their home, but their smoke-house was always full, and Mrs.
Klegg's kitchen could have fed a camp-meeting any time without warning.
So it was that when Si enlisted his full, rosy face and his roundness of
limb showed that he had been well fed, and that nature had made good use
of the ample daily supplies that were provided. His digestive organs
were kept in perfect condition by constant exercise.

After Si had put down his name on the roll of Co. Q of the 200th Ind. he
had but a few days to remain at home before his regiment was to start
for Louisville. During this time his mother and sisters kept him filled
up with "goodies" of every sort. In fact, it was the biggest thing in
the way of a protracted picnic that Si had ever struck.

"You must enjoy these things while you can, Si," said his mother, "for
goodness knows what you'll do when you really git into the army. I've
heerd 'em tell awful things about how the poor sogers don't have half
enough to eat, and what they do git goes agin' any Christian stomach.
Here, take another piece of this pie. A little while, and it'll be a
long time, I reckon, till ye git any more."

"Don't keer if I do!" said Si, for there was scarcely any limit to his
capacity.

And so during those days and nights the old lady and the girls cooked
and cooked, and Si ate and ate, until it seemed as if he wouldn't want
any more till the war was over.

Si was full, and as soon as Co. Q was, it was ordered to camp, and Si
had to go. They loaded him down with good things enough to last him a
week. The pretty Annabel\x97the neighbor's daughter who had solemnly
promised Si that she wouldn't go with any other fellow while he was
away\x97came around to see Si off and brought him a rich fruit cake.

"I made that for you," she said.

"Bully for you!" said Si, for he felt that he must begin to talk like a
soldier.

The first day or two after reaching Louisville the 200th received
rations of "soft bread." But that didn't last long. It was only a way
they had of letting the fresh soldier down easy. Orders came to get
ready to pull out after Bragg, and then Si'a regiment had its first
issue of army rations. As the Orderly pried open a box of hardtack and
began to distribute them to the boys, exclaimed:

"Them's nice-looking soda crackers. I don't believe the grub is going to
be so bad, after all."

Si had never seen a hardtack before.

"Better taste one and see how you like it!" said one of Buell's ragged
Indiana veterans, who had come over to see the boys of the 200th and
hear the latest news from "God's country."

It happened that this lot was one of extra quality as to hardness. The
baker's watch had stopped, or he had gone to sleep, and they had been
left in the oven or dry-kiln too long. Si took one of them and carried
it to his mouth. He first tried on it the bite which made such havoc
with a quarter section of custard pie, but his incisors made no more
impression upon it than if it had been a shingle.

"You have to bear on hard," said the veteran, with a grim smile.

"Je-ru-sa-lem!" exclaimed Si after he had made two or three attempts
equally barren of results.

Then he tried his "back teeth." His molars were in prime order, and his
jaw power was sufficient to crack a hickory nut every time. Si crowded
one corner of the hardtack as far as he could between his "grinders,"
where he could get a good "purchase" on it, shut his eyes and turned on
a full head of steam. His teeth and jaws fairly cracked under the
strain, but he couldn't even "phase" it.

"If that ain't old pizen!" said Si. "It beats anything I ever seen up in
the Wabash country."

But his blood was up, and laying the cracker upon a log, he brought the
butt of his gun down upon it like a pile-driver.

He Tries the Butt of his Gun on It 041

"I thought I'd fix ye," he said, as he picked up the fragments, and
tried his teeth upon the smaller ones. "Have I got to eat such stuff as
that?" with a despairing look at his veteran friend. "I'd just as soon
be a billy-goat and live on circus-posters, fruit-cans and old hoop-
skirts."

"You'll get used to it after a while, same's we did. You'll see the time
when you'll be mighty glad to get even as hard a tack as that!"

Si's heart sank almost into his shoes at the prospect, for the taste of
his mother's pie and Annabel's fruit cake were yet fresh in his mouth.
But Si was fully bent on being a loyal, obedient soldier, determined to
make the best of everything without any more "kicking" than was the
inalienable right of every man who wore a uniform.

For the first time in his life Si went to bed hungry that night.
Impelled by the gnawings of his appetite he made repeated assaults upon
the hardtack, but the result was wholly insufficient to satisfy the
longings of his stomach. His supper wasn't anything to speak of. Before
going to bed he began to exercise his ingenuity on various schemes to
reduce the hardtack to a condition in which it would be more gratifying
to his taste and better suited to the means with which nature had
provided him for disposing of his rations. Naturally Si thought that
soaking in water would have a beneficial effect. So he laid five or six
of them in the bottom of a camp-kettle, anchored them down with a stone,
and covered them with water. He thought that with the aid of a frying-
pan he would get up a breakfast that he could eat, anyway.

Si felt a little blue as he lay curled up under his blanket with his
head pillowed on his knapsack. He thought some about his mother, and
sister Maria, and pretty Annabel, but he thought a good deal more about
the beef and potatoes, the pies and the puddings, that were so
plentifully spread upon the table at home.

It was a long time before he got to sleep. As he lay there, thinking and
thinking, there came to his mind some ether uses to which it seemed to
him the hardtack might be put, which would be much more consistent with
its nature than to palm it off on the soldiers as alleged food. He
thought he could now understand why, when he enlisted, they examined his
teeth so carefully, as if they were going to buy him for a mule. They
said it was necessary to have good teeth in order to bite "cartridges"
successfully, but now he knew it was with reference to his ability to
eat hardtack.

Si didn't want to be killed if he could help it.

While he was lying there he determined to line one of his shirts with
hardtacks, and he would put that on whenever there was going to be a
fight. He didn't believe the bullets would go through them. He wanted to
do all he could toward paralyzing the rebels, and with such a protection
he could be very brave, while his comrades were being mowed down around
him. The idea of having such' a shirt struck Si as being a brilliant
one.

Then, he thought hardtack would be excellent for half-soling his shoes.
He didn't think they would ever wear out.

If he ran short of ammunition he could ram pieces of hardtack into his
gun and he had no doubt they would do terrible execution in the ranks of
the enemy.

All these things and many more Si thought of until finally he was lost
in sleep. Then he dreamed that somebody was trying to cram stones down
his throat.

The company was called out at daylight, and immediately after roll-call
Si went to look after the hardtacks he had put to soak the night before.
He thought he had never felt so hungry in his life. He fished out the
hardtack and carefully inspected them, to note the result of the
submerging and to figure out the chances on his much-needed breakfast.

To any old soldier it would be unnecessary to describe the condition in
which Si found those hardtacks, and the effect of the soaking. For the
information of any who never soaked a hardtack it may be said that Si
found them transformed, to all appearances, into sole-leather. They were
flexible, but as tough as the hide that was "found in the vat when the
tanner died."

Si tried to bite a piece off one of them to see what it was like, but he
couldn't get his teeth through it. In sheer desperation he laid it on a
log, seized a hatchet, and chopped off a corner. He put it in his mouth
and chewed on it a while, but found it as tasteless as cold codfish.

Si thought he would try the frying-pan. He chopped the hardtacks into
bits, put in equal parts of water and grease, sifted over the mixture a
little salt and pepper, and then gave it a thorough frying. Si's spirits
rose during the gradual development of this scheme, as it seemed to
offer a good prospect for his morning meal. And when it came to the
eating. Si found it really good, comparatively speaking, even though it
was very much like a dish compounded of the sweepings from around a
shoemaker's bench. A good appetite was indispensable to a real enjoyment
of this\x97which the soldiers called by a name that cannot be given
here\x97but Si had the appetite, and he ate and was thankful.

"I thought I'd get the bulge on them things some way or other," said Si,
as he drank the last of his coffee and arose from his meal, feeling like
a giant refreshed with new wine.

For the next two or three months Si largely devoted his surplus energies
to further experimenting with the hardtack. He applied every conceivable
process of cookery he could think of that was possible with the meager
outfit at his command in the way of utensils and materials. Nearly all
of his patient and persevering efforts resulted only in vexation of
spirit.

He continued to eat hardtack from day to day, in these various forms,
but it was only because he had to do it. He didn't hanker after it, but
it was a military necessity\x97hardtack or starvation. It was a hard
choice, but Si's love of life\x97and Annabel\x97induced him to choose the
hardtack.

The Best Way After All 045

But for a long-time Si's stomach was in a state of chronic rebellion,
and on the whole he had a hard time of it getting used to this staple
article of army diet. He did not become reconciled to it until after his
regiment had rations of flour for a week, when the "cracker-line" had
been cut by the guerillas and the supply of that substantial edible was
exhausted. Si's experience with the flour swept away all his objections
to the hardtack. Those slapjacks, so fearfully and wonderfully made, and
those lumps of dough, mixed with cold water and dried on flat stones
before the fire, as hard as cannon balls, played sad havoc with his
internal arrangements. For the first time he was obliged to fall into
the cadaverous squad at sick-call and wabble up to the doctor's shop,
where he was dosed with castor-oil and blue-mass. Si was glad enough to
see hardtack again. Most of the grumbling he did thereafter concerning
the hardtack was because he often couldn't get enough.

About six months taught Si what all the soldiers learned by experience,
that the best way to eat the average hardtack was to take it
"straight"\x97just as it came out of the box, without any soaking or frying
or stewing. At meal-time he would make a quart or so of coffee, stab the
end of a ramrod through three or four slices of sowbelly, and cook them
over the coals, allowing some of the drippings to fall upon the hardtack
for lubricating purposes, and these constituted his frugal repast.



CHAPTER V. FAT PORK\x97INDISPENSABLE BODY TIMBER FOR PATRIOTISM.

IT WAS told in the last chapter how the patriotic impulses of Si Klegg,
of the 200th Ind., reached his stomach and digestive apparatus, and
brought them under obedient subjection to hardtack. He didn't have quite
so rough an experience with that other staple of army diet, which was in
fact the very counterpart of the hardtack, and which took its most
popular name from that part of the body of the female swine which is
usually nearest the ground. Much of Si's muscle and brawn was due to the
fact that meat was always plenty on his father's farm. When Si enlisted
he was not entirely free from anxiety on the question of meat, for to
his appetite it was not even second in importance to bread. If bread was
the "staff of life" meat was life itself to Si. It didn't make much
difference to him what kind it was, only so it was meat. He didn't
suppose Uncle Sam would keep him supplied with quail on toast and
porterhouse steaks all the time, but he did hope he would give him as
much as he wanted of something in that line.

"You won't get much pork, unless you're a good forager," said one of
Si's friends he met at Louisville, and who had been a year in the
service.

Si thought he might, with practice and a little encouragement, be fairly
successful in foraging on his' own hook, but at the same time he said he
wouldn't grumble if he could only get plenty of pork. Fortunately for
him he had not been imbued with the teachings of the Hebraic
dispensation which declared "unclean" the beast that furnished the great
bulk of the animal food for the American defenders of the Union.

Co. Q of the 200th Ind. received with the first issue of army rations at
Louisville a bountiful supply of bacon of prime quality, and Si was
happy at the prospect. He thought it would always be that way.

"I don't see anything the matter with such grub as that!" said Si.
"Looks to me as though we were goin' to live like fighting-cocks."

"You're just a little bit brash," said his veteran friend, who had just
been through the long, hungry march from Huntsville, Ala., to
Louisville. "Better eat all you can lay yer hands on now, while ye've
got a chance. One o' these days ye'll git into a tight place and ye
won't see enough hog's meat in a week to grease a griddle. I've bin
there, myself! Jest look at me and see what short rations 'll bring you
to?"

But Si thought he wouldn't try to cross a bridge till he got to it, nor
lie awake nights worrying over troubles that were yet in the future. Si
had a philosophical streak in his mental make-up and this, by the way,
was a good thing for a soldier to have. "Sufficient unto the day is the
evil thereof," was an excellent rule for him to go by.

So Si assimilated all the pork that fell to his share, with an extra bit
now and then from a comrade whose appetite was less vigorous. He thrived
under its fructifying influence, and gave good promise of military
activity and usefulness. No scientific processes of cookery were
necessary to prepare it for immediate use. A simple boiling or frying or
toasting was all that was required.

The Veteran Talks to si 049

During the few days at Louisville fresh beef was issued occasionally. It
is true that the animals slain for the soldiers were not always fat and
tender, nor did each of them have four hind-quarters. This last fact was
the direct cause of a good deal of inflammation in the 200th Ind., as in
every other regiment. The boys who got sections of the forward part of
the "critter," usually about three-quarters bone, invariably kicked, and
fired peppery remarks at those who got the juicy steaks from the rear
portion of the animal. Then when their turn came for a piece of hind-
quarter the other fellows would growl. Four-fifths of the boys generally
had to content themselves with a skinny rib or a soupshank. Si shared
the common lot, and did his full quota of grumbling because his "turn"
for a slice of steak didn't come every time beef was issued.

The pickled pork was comparatively free from this cause of irritation.
It was all alike, and was simply "Hobson's choice." Si remembered the
fragrant and delicious fried ham that so often garnished his mother's
breakfast table and wondered why there was not the same proportion of
hams and sides in the Commissary that he remembered in the meathouse on
the Wabash. He remarked to Shorty one day:

"I wonder where all this pork comes from?"

"It comes from Illinoy, I suppose," said Shorty. "I notice the barrels
are all marked 'Chicago'."

"Must grow funny kind o' hogs out there\x97a mile long each, I should say.
What do you mean?"

"Why, we've drawn a full mile o' sides from the Commissary, and haint
struck a ham yit. I'm wonderin' jest how long that hog is!"

"Well, you are green. You oughter know by this time that there are only
enough hams for the officers."

Now and then a few pigs' shoulders were handed round among the boys, but
the large proportion of bone they contained was exasperating, and was
the cause of much profanity.

Sometimes bacon was issued that had really outlived its usefulness,
except, perhaps, for the manufacture of soap. Improperly "cured," it was
strong and rancid, or, occasionally, so near a condition of putrefaction
that the stench from it offended the nostrils of the whole camp. Some
times it was full of "skippers," that tunneled their way through and
through it, and grew fat with riotous living.

Drawing Rations 051

Si drew the line at this point. He had an ironplated stomach, but putrid
and maggoty meat was too much for it. Whenever he got any of this he
would trade it off to the darkies for chickens. There is nothing like
pork for a Southern negro. He wants something that will "stick to his
ribs."

By a gradual process of development his appetite reached the point when
he could eat his fat pork perfectly raw. During a brief halt when on the
march he would squat in a fence corner, go down into his haversack for
supplies, cut a slice of bacon, lay it on a hardtack, and munch them
with a keen relish.

'all Right, Boss; Dats a Go' 052

At one of the meetings of the Army of the Cumberland Gen. Garfield told
a story which may appropriately close this chapter.

One day, while the Army of the Cumberland was beleaguered in Chattanooga
and the men were almost starving on quarter rations, Gen. Rosecrans and
his staff rode out to inspect the lines. As the brilliant cavalcade
dashed by a lank, grizzled soldier growled to a comrade:

"It'd be a darned sight better for this army if we had a little more
sowbelly and not quite so many brass buttons!"



CHAPTER VI. DETAILED AS COOK\x97SI FINDS RICE ANOTHER INNOCENT WITH A GREAT
DEAL OF CUSSEDNESS IN IT.

IT WOULD have been very strange, indeed, if Si Klegg had not grumbled
loudly and frequently about the food that was dished up to him by the
company cooks. In the first place, it was as natural for a boy to
grumble at the "grub" as it was for him to try to shirk battalion drill
or "run the guard." In the next place, the cooking done by the company
bean-boiler deserved all the abuse it received, for as a rule the boys
who sought places in the hash foundry did so because they were too lazy
to drill or do guard duty, and their knowledge of cooking was about like
that of the Irishman's of music:

"Can you play the fiddle, Pat?" he was asked. "Oi don't know, sor-r-r\x97Oi
niver tried."

Si's mother, like most of the well-to-do farmers' wives in Indiana, was
undoubtedly a good cook, and she trained up her daughters to do honor to
her teachings, so that Si undoubtedly knew what properly-prepared food
was. From the time he was big enough to spank he had fared sumptuously
every day. In the gush of patriotic emotions that prompted him to enlist
he scarcely thought of this feature of the case. If it entered his mind
at all, he felt that he could safely trust all to the goodness of so
beneficent a Government as that for the preservation of which he had
offered himself as a target for the rebels to shoot at. He thought it no
more than fair to the brave soldiers that Uncle Sam should furnish
professional cooks for each company, who would serve everything up in
the style of a first-class city restaurant. So, after Si got down among
the boys and found how it really was, it was not long till his inside
was a volcano of rebellion that threatened serious results.

Si Falls out With his Food 055

When, therefore, Si lifted up his voice and cried aloud, and spared
not\x97when he said that he could get as good coffee as that furnished him
by dipping his cup into a tan-vat; when he said that the meat was not
good soap-grease, and that the potatoes and beans had not so much taste
and nutrition in them as so much pine-shavings, he was probably nearer
right than grumblers usually are.

"Give it to 'em, Si," his comrades would Say, when he turned up his loud
bazoo on the rations question. "They ought to get it ten times worse.
When we come out we expected that some of us would get shot by the
rebels, but we didn't calculate that we were going to be poisoned in
camp by a lot of dirty, lazy potwrastlers."

One morning after roll-call the Orderly-Sergeant came up to Si and said:

"There's been so much chin-music about this cooking-business that the
Captain's ordered the cooks to go back to duty, and after this
everybody'll have to take his regular turn at cooking. It'll be your
turn to-day, and you'll stay in camp and get dinner."

When Co. Q marched out for the forenoon drill. Si pulled off his blouse
and set down on a convenient log to think out how he should go to work.
Up to this time he had been quite certain that he knew all about cooking
that it was worth while to know. Just now none of his knowledge seemed
to be in usable shape, and the more he thought about it the less able he
seemed to be to decide upon any way of beginning. It had always appeared
very easy for his mother and sisters to get dinner, and on more than one
occasion he had reminded them how much better times they had staying in
the house cooking dinner than he had out in the harvest field keeping up
with the reaper. At this moment he would rather have kept up with the
fastest reaper in Posey County, on the hottest of July days, than to
have cooked the coarse dinner which his 75 comrades expected to be ready
for them when they returned, tired, hot and hungry, from the morning
drill.

Si Thinks It over 057

He went back to the barracks and inspected the company larder. He found
there the same old, coarse, greasy, strong, fat pork, a bushel or so of
beans, a few withered potatoes, sugar, coffee, bread, and a box of rice
which had been collected from the daily rations because none of the
cooks knew how to manage it. The sight of the South Carolina staple
recalled the delightful rice puddings his mother used to make. His heart
grew buoyant.

"Here's just the thing," he said. "I always was fond of rice, and I know
the boys will be delighted with it for a change. I know I can cook it;
for all that you've got to do is to put it in a pot with water and boil
it till it is done. I've seen mother do that lots o' times.

"Let's see," he said, pursuing his ruminations.

"I think each boy can eat about a cupful, so I'll put one for each of
'em in the kettle."

"There's one for Abner," he continued, pouring a cupful in for the first
name on the company-roll; "one for Acklin, one for Adams, one for
Barber, one for Brooks," and so on down through the whole well-known
list.

"It fills the old kettle tol'bly full," he remarked, as he scanned the
utensil after depositing the contribution for Williams, the last name on
the roll; "but I guess she'll stand it. I've heard mother tell the girls
that they must always keep the rice covered with water, and stir it
well, so that it wouldn't burn; so here goes. Won't the boys be
astonished when they have a nice mess of rice, as a change from that
rusty old side-meat!"

He hung the kettle on the fire and stepped out to the edge of the
parade-ground to watch the boys drilling. It was the first time he had
had the sensation of pleasure of seeing them at this without taking part
in it himself, and he began to think that he would not mind if he had to
cook most of the time. He suddenly remembered about his rice and hurried
back to find it boiling, bulging over the top like a small snowdrift.

The Trouble Begins 059

"I was afraid that kettle was a little too full," he said to himself,
hurrying off for another campkettle, in which he put about a third of
the contents of the first. "Now they're all right. And it'll cook better
and quicker in two than one. Great Scott! what's the matter? They're
both boiling over. There must be something wrong with that rice."

Pretty soon he had all the company kettles employed, and then all that
he could borrow from the other companies. But dip out as much as he
would there seemed no abatement in the upheaving of the snowy cereal,
and the kettles continued to foam over like so many huge glasses of soda
water. He rushed to his bunk and got his gum blanket and heaped upon it
a pile as big as a small haycock, but the mass in the kettle seemed
larger than it was before this was subtracted.

He sweat and dipped, and dipped and sweat; burned his hands into
blisters with the hot rice and hotter kettles, kicked over one of the
largest kettles in one of his spasmodic rushes to save a portion of the
food that was boiling over, and sent its white contents streaming over
the ground. His misery came to a climax as he heard the quick step of
his hungry comrades returning from drill.

"Right face; Arms a-port; Break ranks\x97March!" commanded the Orderly-
Sergeant, and there was a clatter of tin cups and plates as they came
rushing toward him to get their dinner\x97something to stay their ravenous
stomachs. There was a clamor of rage, ridicule, wrath and disappointment
as they took in the scene.

The Rice Gets the Bulge 061

"What's the matter here?" demanded the Captain, striding back to the
company fire. "You young rascal, is this the way you get dinner for your
comrades? Is this the way you attend to the duty for which you're
detailed? Waste rations in some fool experiment and scatter good food
all over the ground? Biler, put on your arms and take Klegg to the
guard-houae. I'll make you pay for this nonsense, sir, in a way that you
won't forget in a hurry, I'll be bound."

So poor Si marched to the guard-house, where he had to stay for 24
hours, as a punishment for not knowing, until he found out by this
experience, that rice would "s-well." The Captain wouldn't let him have
anything to eat except that scorched and half-cooked stuff cut of the
kettles, and Si thought he never wanted to see any more rice as long as
he lived.

Si Makes the Acquaintance of The Guard House 062

In the evening one of the boys took Si's blanket to him, thinking he
would want it to sleep in.

"I tell ye, pard, this is purty derned tough!" said Si as he wiped a
tear out of the southwest corner of his left eye with the sleeve of his
blouse. "I think the Cap'n's hard on a feller who didn't mean to do
nothin' wrong!" And Si looked as if he had lost all his interest in the
old flag, and didn't care a pinch of his burnt rice what became of the
Union.

His comrade "allowed" that it was hard, but supposed they, had got to
get used to such things. He said he heard the Captain say he would let
Si out the next day.



CHAPTER VII. IN THE AWKWARD SQUAD SI HAS MANY TRIBULATIONS LEARNING THE
MANUAL OP ARMS.

WHEN Si Klegg went into active service with Co. Q of the 200th Ind. his
ideas of drill and tactics were exceedingly vague. He knew that a
"drill" was something to make holes with, and as he understood that he
had been sent down South to make holes through people, he supposed
drilling had something to do with it. He handled his musket very much as
he would a hoe. A "platoon" might be something to eat, for all he knew.
He had a notion that a "wheel" was something that went around, and he
thought a "file" was a screeching thing that his father used once a year
to sharpen up the old buck saw.

The fact was that Si and his companions hardly had a fair shake in this
respect, and entered the field at a decided disadvantage. It had been
customary for a regiment to be constantly drilled for a month or two in
camp in its own State before being sent to the front; but the 200th was
rushed off to Kentucky the very day it was mustered in. This was while
the cold chills were running up and down the backs of the people in the
North on account of the threatened invasion by Bragg's army. The
regiment pushed after the fleeing rebels, but whenever Suell's army
halted to take breath, "Fall in for drill!" was shouted through its camp
three or four times a day. It was liable to be called into action at any
moment, and it was deemed indispensable to begin at once the process of
making soldiers out of those tender-footed Hoosiers, whose zeal and
patriotism as yet far exceeded their knowledge of military things. Most
of the officers of the 200th were as green as the men, though some of
them had seen service in other regiments; so, at first, officers and
non-commissioned officers who had been in the field a few months and
were considered veterans, and who knew, or thought they knew, all about
tactics that was worth knowing, were detailed from the old regiments to
put the boys through a course of sprouts in company and squad drill.

One morning three or four days after leaving Louisville, word was passed
around that the regiment would not move that day, and the boys were so
glad at the prospect of a day of rest that they wanted to get right up
and yell. Si was sitting on a log, with his shoes off, rubbing his
aching limbs and nursing his blisters, when the Orderly came along.

"Co. Q, be ready in 10 minutes to fall in for drill. Stir around, you
men, and get your traps on. Klegg, put on them gunboats, and be lively
about it."

"Orderly," said Si, looking as if he hadn't a friend on earth, "just
look at them blisters; I can't drill to-day!"

"You'll have to or go to the guard-house," was the reply. "You'd better
hustle yourself, too!"

Si couldn't think of anything to say that would do justice to his
feelings; and so, with wailing and gnashing of teeth, and a few muttered
words that he didn't learn in Sunday school, he got ready to take his
place in the company.

As a general combustion of powder by the armies of Buell and Bragg was
hourly expected, it was thought best for the 200th to learn first
something about shooting. If called suddenly into action it was believed
the boys could "git thar," though they had not yet mastered the science
of company and battalion evolutions. Co. Q was divided into squads of
eight for exercise in the manual of arms. The man who took Si's squad
was a grizzled Sergeant, who had been "lugging knapsack, box and gun"
for a year. He fully realized his important and responsible functions as
instructor of these innocent youths, having at the same time a supreme
contempt for their ignorance. "Attention, Squad!" and they all looked at
him in a way that meant business.

'right Shoulder Shift--arms!' 067

"Load in nine times\x97Load!"

Si couldn't quite understand what the "in" meant, but he had always been
handy with a shotgun, to the terror of the squirrels and coons up in
Posey County, and he thought he would show the Sergeant how spry he was.
So he rammed in a cartridge, put on a cap, held up his musket, and
blazed away, and then went to loading again as if his life depended upon
his activity. For an instant the Sergeant was speechless with amazement.
At length his tongue was loosened, and he roared out:

"What in the name of General Jackson are you doing, you measly idiot!
Who ordered you to load and fire your piece?"

"I\x97I th\x97thought you did!" said Si, trembling as if he had the Wabash
ague. "You said for us to load nine times. I thought nine loads would
fill 'er chuck full and bust 'er and I didn't see any way but to shute
'em oft as fast as I got 'em in."

"No, sir! I gave the command according to Hardee, 'Load\x97in\x97nine\x97times!'
and ef yer hadn't bin in such a hurry you'd 'a' found out what that
means. Yer'll git along a good deal faster ef you'll go slower. Yer
ought ter be made ter carry a rail, and a big one, for two hours."

Si protested that he was sorry, and didn't mean to, and wouldn't do so
again, and the drill went on. The master went through all the nine
"times" of "Handle\x97Cartridge!" "Draw\x97Rammer!" etc., each with its two or
three "motions." It seemed like nonsense to Si.

"Boss," said he, "I kin get 'er loaded in just half the time ef yer'll
let me do it my own way!"

"Silence!"' thundered the Sergeant. "If you speak another word I'll have
ye gagged 'n' tied up by the thumbs!"

Si had always been used to speaking right out when he had anything to
say, and had not yet got his "unruly member" under thorough subjection.
He saw that it wouldn't do to fool with the Drill Sergeant, however, and
he held his peace. But Si kept thinking that if he got into a fight he
would ram in the cartridge and fire them out as fast as he could,
without bothering his head about the "one time and three motions."

'fix--bayonets!' 069

"Order\x97Arms!" commanded the Sergeant, after he had explained how it was
to be done. Si brought his gun down along with the rest like a pile-
driver, and it landed squarely on the foot of the man next to him.

Brought his Gun Down on the Man's Foot 065

"Ou-ou-ouch!" remarked the victim of Si's inexperience.

"Didn't do it a'purpose, pard," said Si compassionately; "'pon my word I
didn't. I'll be more keerful after this."

His suffering comrade, in very pointed language, urged upon Si the
propriety of exercising a little more care. He determined that he would
manage to get some other fellow to stand next to Si after that.

"Shoulder\x97Arms!" ordered the Sergeant, and the guns came straggling up
into position. Then, after a few words of instruction, "Right shoulder
shift\x97Arms!"

"Don't you know your right shoulder?" said the Sergeant, with a good
deal of vinegar in his tone, to Si, who had his gun on the "larboard"
side, as a sailor would say.

"Beg yer pardon," said Si; "I always was lefthanded. I'll learn if yer
only gimme a show!"

"Silence!" again roared the Sergeant. "One more word, sir, and I will
tie ye up, fer a fact!"

The Sergeant got his squad down to an "order arms" again, and then,
after showing them how, he gave the order, "Fix\x97Bayonets!"

There was the usual clicking and clattering, during which Si dexterously
managed to stick his bayonet into the eye of his comrade, whose toes
were still aching from the blow of the butt of Si's musket. Si assured
him he was sorry, and that it was all a mistake, but his comrade thought
the limit of patience had been passed. So he confidently informed Si
that as soon as drill was over he was going to "pound the stuffin'" out
of him, and there wouldn't be any mistake about it, either.

When the hour was up the Captain of the company came around to see how
the boys were getting along. The upshot of it was that poor Si was
immediately organized into an "awkward squad" all by himself, and
drilled an extra hour.

"We'll see, Mr. Klegg," said the Captain, "if you can't learn to handle
your arms without mashing the toes and stabbing the eyes out of the rest
of the company."



CHAPTER VIII. ON COMPANY DRILL SI GETS TANGLED IN THE MAZES OF THE
EVOLUTIONS.

"ALL in for company drill!"

These words struck the unwilling ears of Co. Q, 200th Ind., the next
time Buell halted his army to draw a long breath.

"Wish somebody would shoot that durned Orderly," muttered Si Klegg. "For
two cents I'd do it myself."

"Don't do it, Si," admonished Shorty, "They'd git another one that'd be
just as bad. All orderlies are cusses."

Si believed it would be a case of justifiable homicide, and, if the
truth must be told, this feeling was largely shared by the other members
of the company. For more than a week the boys had been tramping over a
"macadamized" Kentucky pike. Feet were plentifully decorated with
blisters, legs were stiff and sore, and joints almost refused to perform
their functions.

It had rained nearly all the previous day, and the disgusted Hoosiers of
the 200th went sloshing along, wet to the skin, for 20 dreary miles.
With that diabolical care and method that were generally practiced at
such times, the Generals selected the worst possible locations for the
camps. The 200th was turned into a cornfield, where the men sank over
their shoetops in mud, and were ordered to bivouac for the night. The
wagons didn't get up at all. How they passed the slowly-dragging hours
of that dismal night will not be told at this time. Indeed, bare mention
is enough to recall the scene to those who have "been there."

Don't Care a Continental 073

In the morning, when the company was ordered out for drill, Si Klegg was
standing before the sputtering fire trying to dry his steaming clothes,
every now and then turning around to give the other side a chance. The
mercury in his individual thermometer had fallen to a very low point\x97in
fact, it was a cold day for Si's patriotism. He had reached that stage,
not by any means infrequent among the soldiers, when he "didn't care
whether school kept or not."

"Well, Si, I s'pose you love your country this mornin'!" said Shorty. He
was endeavoring to be cheerful under adverse circumstances.

"I ain't quite as certain about it," said Si, reflectively, "as I was
when I left home, up in Posey County. I'm afeared I haven't got enough
of it to last me through three years of this sort of thing!"

Si felt at that moment as though he was of no account for anything,
unless it was to be decked with paint and feathers and stood for a sign
in front of a cigar store.

The rain had ceased, and the Colonel of the 200th felt that he must,
like the busy bee, "improve each shining hour" in putting his command
into condition for effective service. So he told the Adjutant to have
the companies marched over to an adjacent pasture for drill.

"Attention, Co. Q!" shouted the Captain, after the Orderly had got the
boys limbered up enough to get into ranks. The Captain didn't know very
much about drilling himself, but he had been reading up "Hardee," and
thought he could handle the company; but it was a good deal like the
blind trying to lead the blind.

"Right\x97Face!"

Not quite half the men faced the wrong way, turning to the left instead
of the right, which was doing pretty well for a starter.

"Get around there, Klegg, and the rest of you fellows! Can't ye ever
learn anything."

'right--face!' 075

Si was so particularly awkward that the Captain put him at the tail-end
of the company. Then he tried the right face again, and as the boys
seemed to get around in fair shape he commanded:

"Right shoulder shift arms! Forward\x97March!"

The company started off; but the Captain was not a little surprised, on
looking back, to see Si marching: off in the opposite direction. He had
faced the wrong way again, and, as he didn't see the others, he thought
he was all right, and away he went on his own hook, till a shout from
the Captain told him of his mistake.

'forward--march!' 076

When the Captain reached the field which was the drill-ground for the
day, he thought he would try a wheel. After a brief lecture to the
company on the subject he gave the command for the movement.

'company--right Wheel!' 077

It is scarcely necessary to say that the first trial was a sad failure.
The line bulged out in the center, and the outer flank, unable to keep
up, fell behind, the company assuming nearly the shape of a big letter
C. Then the boys on the outer end took the double-quick, cutting across
the arc of the proper circle, which soon resulted in a hopeless wreck of
the whole company. The Captain halted the chaotic mass of struggling
men, and with the help of the Orderly finally succeeded in getting them
straightened out and into line again. The men had often seen practiced
soldiers going through this most difficult of all tactical movements,
and it seemed easy enough; they didn't see why they couldn't do it just
as well as the other fellows. They kept at it, and in the course of half
an hour had improved so much that they could swing around in some kind
of shape without the line breaking to pieces.



CHAPTER IX. SI GETS A LETTER AND WRITES ONE TO PRETTY ANNABEL, UNDER
DIFFICULTIES.

"COMPANY Q, tumble up here and git yer mail!" shouted the Orderly one
afternoon, soon after the 200th Ind. turned into a tobacco patch to
bivouac for the night. It had been two weeks since the regiment left
Louisville, and this was the first mail that had caught up with it.

It seemed to the boys as if they had been away from home a year. For a
whole fortnight they hadn't heard a word from their mothers, or sisters,
or their "girls." Si Klegg couldn't have felt more lonesome and forsaken
if he had been Robinson Crusoe.

In the excitement of distributing the mail everything else was
forgotten.. The boys were all getting their suppers, but at the thought
of letters from home even hunger had to take a back seat.

Si left his coffee-pot to tip over into the fire, and his bacon sizzling
in the frying-pan, as he elbowed his way into the crowd that huddled
around the Orderly.

"If there ain't more'n one letter for me," said Si softly to himself, "I
hope it'll be from Annabel; but, of course, I'd like to hear from Ma and
sister Marier, too!"

The Orderly, with a big package of letters in his hand, was calling out
the names, and as the boys received their letters they distributed
themselves through the camp, squatting about on rails or on the ground,
devouring with the greatest avidity the welcome messages from home. The
camp looked as if there had been a snowstorm.

Si waited anxiously to hear his name called as the pile letters rapidly
grew smaller, and he began to think he was going to get left.

"Josiah Klegg!" at length shouted the Orderly, as he held out two
letters. Si snatched them from his hand, went off by himself, and sat
down on a log.

Si looked at his letters and saw that one of them was addressed in a
pretty hand. He had never received a letter from Annabel before, but he
"felt it in his bones" that this one was from her. He glanced around to
be certain nobody was looking at him, and gently broke the seal, while a
ruddy glow overspread his beardless cheeks. But he was secure from
observation, as everybody else was similarly intent.

"Dear Si," the letter began. He didn't have to turn over to the bottom
of the last page to know what name he would find there. He read those
words over and over a dozen times, and they set his nerves tingling
clear down to his toe-nails. Si forgot his aches and blisters as he read
on through those delicious lines.

It's from Annabel 081

She wrote how anxious she was to hear from him and how cruel it was of
him not to write to her real often; how she lay awake nights thinking
about him down among those awful rebels; how she supposed that by this
time he must be full of bullet-holes; and didn't he ge' hungry
sometimes, and wasn't it about time for him to get a furlough? how it
was just too mean for anything that those men down South had to get up a
war; how proud she was of Si because he had 'listed, and how she watched
the newspapers every day to find some thing about him; how she wondered
how many rebels he had killed, and if he had captured any batteries
yet\x97she said she didn't quite know what batteries were, but she read a
good deal about capturing 'em, and she supposed it was something all the
soldiers did; how she hoped he wouldn't forget her, and she'd like to
see how he looked, now that he was a real soldier, and her father had
sold the old "mooley" cow, and Sally Perkins was engage to Jim Johnson,
who had stayed at home, and as for herself she wouldn't have anybody but
a soldier about the size of Si, and 'Squire Jones's son had been trying
to shine up to her and cut Si out, but she sent him off with a flea in
his ear.

"Yours till deth, Annabel."

The fact that there was a word misspelt now and then did not detract in
the least from the letter, so pleasing to Si. In fact, he was a little
lame in orthography himself, so that he had neither the ability nor the
disposition to scan Annabel's pages with a critic's eye. Si was happy,
and as he began to cast about for his supper he even viewed with
complacence his bacon burned to a crisp and his capsized coffee-pot
helplessly melting away in the fire.

"Well, Si, what does she say?" said his friend Shorty.

"What does who say?" replied Si, getting red in the face, and bristling
up and trying to assume an air of indifference.

"Just look here now. Si," said Shorty, "you can't play that on me. How
about that rosy-cheeked girl up in Posey County?"

It was Si's tender spot. He hadn't got used to that sort of thing yet,
and he felt that the emotions that made his heart throb like a sawmill
were too sacred to be fooled with. Impelled by a sudden impulse he smote
Shorty fairly between the eyes, felling him to the ground.

The Orderly, who happened to be near, took Si by the ear and marched him
up to the Captain's quarters.

"Have him carry a rail in front of my tent for an hour!" thundered the
Captain. "Don't let it be a splinter, either; pick out a good, heavy
one. And, Orderly, detail a guard to keep Mr. Klegg moving."

Si Carries a Rail 083

Of course, it was very mortifying to Si, and he would have been almost
heartbroken had he not been comforted by the thought that it was all for
her! At first he felt as if he would like to take that rail and charge
around and destroy the whole regiment; but, on thinking it over, he made
up his mind that discretion was the better part of valor.

As soon as Si's hour was up, and he had eaten supper and "made up" with
Shorty, he set about answering his letter. When, on his first march, Si
cleaned out all the surplusage from his knapsack, he had hung on to a
pretty portfolio that his sister gave him. This was stocked with postage
stamps and writing materials, including an assortment of the envelopes
of the period, bearing in gaudy colors National emblems, stirring
legends, and harrowing scenes of slaughter, all intended to stimulate
the patriotic impulses and make the breast of the soldier a very volcano
of martial ardor.

When Si got out his nice portfolio he found it to be an utter wreck. It
had been jammed into a shapeless mass, and, besides this, it had been
soaked with rain; paper and envelopes were a pulpy ruin, and the postage
stamps were stuck around here and there in the chaos. It was plain that
this memento of home had fallen an early victim to the hardships of
campaign life, and that its days of usefulness were over.

"It's no use; 'tain't any good," said Si sorrowfully, as he tossed the
debris into the fire, after vainly endeavoring to save from the wreck
enough to carry, out his epistolary scheme.

Then he went to the sutler\x97or "skinner," as he was better known\x97and paid
10 cents for a sheet of paper and an envelope, on which were the
cheerful words, "It is sweet to die for one's country!" and 10 cents
more for a 3-cent postage stamp. He borrowed a leadpencil, hunted up a
piece of crackerbox, and sat down to his work by the flickering light of
the fire. Si wrote:

"Deer Annie."

There he stopped, and while he was scratching his head and thinking what
he would say next the Orderly came around detailing guards for the
night, and directed Klegg to get his traps and report at once for duty.

Si Writes to 'deer Annie.' 085

"It hain't my turn," said Si. "There's Bill Brown, and Jake Schneider,
and Pat Dooley, and a dozen more\x97I've been since they have!"

But the Orderly did not even deign to reply. Si remembered the guard-
house, and his shoulder still ached from the rail he had carried that
evening; so he quietly folded up his paper and took his place with the
detail.

The next morning the army moved early, and Si had no chance to resume
his letter. As soon as the regiment halted, after an 18-mile march, he
tackled it again. This time nothing better offered in the way of a
writing-desk than a tin plate, which he placed face downward upon his
knee. Thus provided, Si plunged briskly into the job before him, with
the following result:

"I now take my pen in hand to let you know that I am well, except the
doggoned blisters on my feet, and I hope these few lines may find you
enjoying the same blessings."

Si thought this was neat and a good start for his letter. Just as he had
caught an idea for the next sentence a few scattering shots were heard
on the picket-line, and in an instance the camp was in commotion. "Tall
in!" "Be lively, men!" were heard on every hand.

Si sprang as if he had received a galvanic shock, cramming the letter
into his pocket. Of course, there wasn't any fight. It was only one of
the scares that formed so large a part of that campaign. But it spoiled
Si's letter-writing for the time.

It was nearly a week before he got his letter done. He wrote part of it
using for a desk the back of a comrade who was sitting asleep by the
fire. He worked at it whenever he could catch a few minutes between the
marches and the numerous details for guard, picket, fatigue and other
duty. He said to Annie:

An Army Writing-desk 087

"Bein' a soljer aint quite what they crack it up to be when they're
gittin' a fellow to enlist. It's mity rough, and you'd better believe
it. You ought to be glad you're a gurl and don't haf to go. I wish't I
was a gurl sometimes. I haven't kild enny rebbles yet. I hain't even
seen one except a fiew raskils that was tuk in by the critter soljers,
they calls em cavilry. Me and all the rest of the boys wants to hav a
fite, but it looks like Ginral Buil was afeared, and we don't git no
chance. I axed the Ordly couldn't he get me a furlow. The Ordly jest
laft and says to me, Si, says he, yer don't know as much as a mule. The
Capt'n made me walk up and down for an hour with a big rail on my
sholder.

"You tell Squire Joneses boy that he haint got sand enuff to jine the
army, and if he don't keep away from you I'll bust his eer when I git
home, if I ever do. Whattle you do if I shouldn't ever see you agin? But
you no this glorus Govyment must be pertected, and the bully Stars and
Strips must flote, and your Si is goin to help do it.

"My pen is poor, my ink is pale, My luv for you shall never fale.

"Yours, aflfeckshnitly, Si Klegg."



CHAPTER X. SI AND THE DOCTORS HE JOINS THE PALE PROCESSION AT SICK-CALL.

SI KLEGG was a good specimen of a healthy, robust Hoosier lad\x97for he
could scarcely be called' a man yet. Since he lay in his cradle and was
dosed with paregoric and catnip tea like other babies, he had never seen
a sick day, except when he had the mumps on "both sides" at once. He had
done all he could to starve the doctors.

When the 200th Ind. took the field it had the usual outfit of men who
wrote their names sandwiched between a military title in front and "M.
D." behind, a big hospital tent, and an apothecary shop on wheels,
loaded to the guards with quinine, blue-mass, castor oil, epsom salts,
and all other devices to assuage the sufferings of humanity.

The boys all started out in good shape, and there had been hardly time
for them to get sick much yet. So up to this stage of the regiment's
history the doctors had found little to do but issue arnica and salve
for lame legs and blistered feet, and strut around in their shiny
uniforms.

But there came a day when they had all they could attend to. On going
into camp one afternoon, the regiment, well in advance, struck a big
field of green corn and an orchard of half-ripe apples. Of course, the
boys sailed in, and natural consequences followed.

"Now this is something like!" said Si, as he squatted on the ground
along with Shorty and half a dozen messmates. They surrounded a camp-
kettle full of steaming ears and half a bushel or so of apples heaped on
a poncho.

"Wish we had some o' mother's butter to grease this corn with," observed
Si, as he flung a cob into the fire and seized a fresh ear.

All agreed that Si's head was level on the butter question, but under
all the circumstances of the case they were glad enough to have the com
without butter.

The ears went off with amazing rapidity. Every man seemed to be afraid
he wouldn't get his share. When the kettle was empty the boys turned
themselves loose on the apples, utterly reckless of results. So, they
were filled full, and were thankful.

When Si got up he burst off half the buttons on his clothes. He looked
as if he was carrying a bass-drum in front of him. After he began to
shrink he had to tie up his clothes with a string until he had a chance
to repair damages. But during the next 24 hours he had something else to
think of.

In fact, it wasn't long till Si began to wish he had eaten an ear of
corn and an apple or two less. He didn't feel very well. He turned in
early, thinking he would go to sleep and be all right in the morning.

Along in the night he uttered a yell that came near stampeding the
company. An enormous colic was raging around in his interior, and Si
fairly howled with pain. He thought he was going: to die right away.

Laying the Foundation 091

"Shorty," said he, between the gripes, to his comrade, "I'm afeared I'm
goin' to peter out. After I'm gone you write to\x97to\x97Annie and tell her I
died for my country like a man. I'd ruther been shot than die with the
colic, but I 'spose 'twont make much difference after it's all over!" 9
"I'll do it," replied Shorty. "We'll plant you in good shape; and Si,
we'll gather up the corn-cobs and build a monument over you!"

But Si wasn't cut off in the bloom of youth by that colic. His eruptive
condition frightened Shorty, however, and though he was in nearly as bad
shape himself, he went up and routed out one of the doctors, who growled
a good deal about being disturbed.

The debris of the supper scattered about the camp told him what was the
matter, and he had no need to make a critical diagnosis of Si's case. He
gave him a dose of something or other that made the pain let up a
little, and Si managed to rub along through the night.

Fortunately for Si, and for more than half the members of the regiment,
the army did not move next day, and the doctors had a good opportunity
to get in their work.

At the usual hour in the morning the bugle blew the "sick-call." A
regiment of tanned and grizzled veterans from Ohio lay next to the 200th
Ind., and as Si lay there he heard them take up the music:

"Git yer qui-nine! Git yer qui-nine! Tumble up you sick and lame and
blind; Git a-long right smart, you'll be left be-hind."

"Fall in fer yer ipecac!" shouted the Orderly of Co. Q. Si joined the
procession and went wabbling up to the "doctor's" shop. He was better
than he had been during the night, but still looked a good deal
discouraged.

It was a regular matinee that day. The Surgeon and his assistants were
all on hand, as the various squads, colicky and cadaverous, came to a
focus in front of the tent.

A Rude Awakening 093

The doctors worked off the patients at a rapid rate, generally
prescribing the same medicine for all, no matter what ailed them. This
was the way the army doctors always did, but it happened in this case
that they were not far wrong, as the ailments, arising from a common
cause, were much the same.

Si waited till his turn came, and received his rations from the Hospital
Steward. Of course, he was excused from duty for the day, and as he
speedily recovered his normal condition he really had a good time.

Visits the Doctor 094

A few days after this the whole regiment was ordered on fatigue duty to
repair an old corduroy road. Si didn't want to go, and "played off." He
told the Orderly he wasn't able to work, but the Orderly said he would
have to shoulder an ax or a shovel, unless he was excused by the doctor.
He went up at sick-call and made a wry face, with his hands clasped over
his body in the latitude of his waistband.

The doctor gave him a lot of blue-mass pills, which Si threw into the
fire as soon as he got back to his quarters. Then he played seven-up all
day with Shorty, who had learned before Si did how to get a day off when
he wanted it.

Si thought it was a great scheme, but he tried it once too often. The
doctor "caught on," and said, the next time Si went up, that castor oil
was what he needed to fetch him around. So he poured out a large dose
and made Si take it right then and there.

The next time fatigue duty was ordered Si thought he felt well enough to
go along with the boys.



CHAPTER XI. THE PLAGUE OF THE SOLDIER INTRODUCTION TO "ONE WHO STICKETH
CLOSER THAN A BROTHER."

"HELLO Si; goin' for a soljer, ain't ye?"

"You bet!"

"Wall, you'd better b'lieve its great fun; it's jest a picnic all the
time! But, say, Si, let's see yer finger-nails!"

"I'd like ter know what finger-nails 's got to do with soljerin'!" said
Si. "The 'cruitin' ossifer 'n' the man 't keeps the doctor shop made me
shuck myself, 'n' then they 'xamined my teeth, 'n' thumped me in the
ribs, 'n' rubbed down my legs, 'n' looked at my hoofs, same 's if 'I'd
bin a hoss they wuz buyin', but they didn't say nothin' 'bout my finger-
nails."

"You jest do 's I tell ye; let 'em grow, 'n' keep 'em right sharp. Ye'll
find plenty o' use fer 'em arter a while, 'n' 'twont be long, nuther. I
know what I'm talkin' 'bout; I've been thar!"

This conversation took place a day or two before Si bade farewell to his
mother and sister Marier and pretty Annabel and left the peaceful
precincts of Posey County to march away with the 200th Ind. for that
awful place vaguely designated as "the front!" He had promptly responded
to the call, and his name was near the top of the list of Company Q.

'let Yer Nails Grow; Ye'll Need 'em' 097

Si already had his blue clothes on. By enlisting early he had a good
pick of the various garments, and so got a suit that fitted his
form\x97which was plump as an apple-dumpling tolerably well. It was left
for the tail-enders of the company to draw trousers that were six inches
too long or too short, and blouses that either wouldn't reach around,
and left yawning chasms in front, or were so large that they looked as
if they were hung on bean-poles.

Of course, Si couldn't be expected to do any more plodding farm work,
now that he had "jined" the army. While the company was filling up he
spent most of his time on dress parade in the village near by, eliciting
admiring smiles from all the girls, and an object of the profoundest awe
and wonder to tha small boys.

One day Si was sitting on the sugar-barrel in the corner grocery,
gnawing a "blind robin," and telling how he thought the war wouldn't
last long after the 200th Ind. got down there and took a hand and got
fairly interested in the game; they would wind it up in short meter.
Such ardent emotions always seethed and bubbled in the swelling breasts
of the new troops when they came down to show the veterans just how to
do it.

One of the town boys who had been a year in the service, had got a
bullet through his arm in a skirmish, and was at home on furlough, came
into the store, and then took place the dialog between him and Si that
opens this chapter.

Si wondered a good deal what the veteran meant about the finger-nails.
He did not even know that there existed in any nature a certain active
and industrious insect which, before he had been in the army a great
while, would cause his heart to overflow with gratitude to a beneficent
Providence for providing him with nails on his fingers.

When the 200th left Indiana all the boys had, of course, brand-new
outfits right from Uncle Sam's great one-price clothing house. Their
garments were nice and clean, their faces well washed, and their hair
yet showed marks of the comb. At Louisville they stuck up their noses,
with a lofty consciousness of superiority, at the sight of Buell's
tanned and ragged tramps, who had just come up on the gallop from
Tennessee and northern Alabama.

'say, Cap, What Kind O' Bug is This?' 099

If the new Hoosier regiment had been quartered for a while in long-used
barracks, or had pitched its tents in an old camp, Si would very soon
have learned, in the school of experience, the delightful uses of
finger-nails. But the 200th stayed only a single night in Louisville and
then joined the procession that started on the chase after the rebel
army. It generally camped on new ground, and under these circumstances
the insect to which allusion has been made did not begin its work of
devastation with that suddenness that usually marked its attack upon
soldiers entering the field. But he never failed to "git there" sooner
or later, and it was more frequently sooner than later.

One afternoon, when a few days out on this march, a regiment of
Wisconsin veterans bivouacked next to the 200th Ind. The strange antics
as they threw off their accouterments attracted Si's attention.

"Look a' thar," he said to Shorty. "What 'n name of all the prophets 's
them fellers up to?"

"Seems like they was scratchin' theirselves!"

"I s'pose that's on account of the dust 'n' sweat," said Si.

"It's a mighty sight worse 'n that!" replied Shorty, who knew more about
these things than Si did. "I reckon we'll all be doin' like they are
'fore long."

Si whistled softly to himself as he watched the Wisconsin boys. They
were hitching and twisting their shoulders about, evidently enjoying the
friction of the clothing upon their skins. There was a general
employment of fingers, and often one would be seen getting come other
fellow to scratch his back around where he couldn't reach himself. If
everybody was too busy to do this for him he would back up to a tree and
rub up and down against the bark.

Life has few pleasures that can equal the sensations of delightful
enjoyment produced in those days, when graybacks were plenty, by rubbing
against a tree that nicely fitted the hollow of the back, after throwing
off one's "traps" at the end of a day's march.

Directly the Wisconsin chaps began to scatter into the woods. Si watched
them as they got behind the trees and threw off their blouses and
shirts. He thought at first that perhaps they were going in swimming,
but there was no stream of water at hand large enough to justify this
theory in explanation of their nudity. As each man set down, spread his
nether garment over his knees and appeared to be intently engaged, with
eyes and fingers. Si's curiosity was very much excited.

"Looks 's if they wuz all mendin' up their shirts and sewin' on
buttons," said Si, "Guess it's part o' their regular drill, ain't it,
Shorty?"

Shorty laughed at Si's ignorant simplicity. He knew what those veterans
were doing, and he knew that Si would have to come to it, but he didn't
want to shock his tender sensibilities by telling him of it.

"Them fellers ain't sewin' on no buttons. Si," he replied; "they're
skirmishin'."

"Skirmishin'!" exclaimed Si, opening his eyes very wide. "I haint seen
any signs o' rebs 'round here, 'n' there aint any shootin' goin' on,
'nless I've lost my hearin'. Durned if 't aint the funniest skirmishin'
I ever hearn tell of!"

"Now, don't ax me nuthin' more 'bout it, Si," said Shorty. "All I'm
goin' to tell ye is that the longer ye live the more ye'll find things
out. Let's flax 'round 'n' git supper!"

A little while after, as Si was squatting on the ground holding the
frying-pan over the fire, he saw a strange insect vaguely wandering
about on the sleeve of his blouse. It seemed to be looking for
something, and Si became interested as he watched it traveling up and
down his arm. He had never seen one like it before, and he thought he
would like to know what it was. He would have asked Shorty, but his
comrade had gone to the spring for water. Casting his eye around he saw
the Captain, who chanced to be sauntering through the camp.

The Captain of Co. Q had been the Principal of a seminary in Posey
County, and was looked upon with awe by the simple folk as a man who
knew about all that was worth knowing. Si thought he might be able to
tell him all about the harmless's-looking little stranger.

So he put down his frying-pan and stepped up to the Captain, holding out
his arm and keeping his eye on the insect so that he shouldn't get away.

"Good evenin', Cap.," said Si, touching his hat, and addressing him with
that familiar disregard of official dignity that characterised the
average volunteer, who generally felt that he was just as good as
anybody who wore shoulder straps.

"Good evening, Klegg," said the Captain, returning the salute.

"Say, Cap, you've been ter collidge 'n' got filled up with book-larnin';
p'raps ye kin tell me what kind o' bug this is. I'm jest a little bit
curious to know."

And Si pointed to the object of his inquiry that was leisurely creeping
toward a hole in the elbow of his outer garment.

"Well, Josiah," said the Captain, after a brief inspection, "I presume I
don't know quite as much as some people think I do; but I guess I can
tell you something about that insect. I never had any of them myself,
but I've read of them."

"Never had 'em himself," thought Si. "What 'n the world does ha mean?"
And Si's big eyes opened with wonder and fear at the thought that
whatever it was he had "got 'em."

"I suppose," continued the Captain, "you would like to know the
scientific name?"

"I reck'n that'll do 's well 's any."

"Well, sir, that is a Pediculus. That's a Latin word, but it's his
name."

"Purty big name fer such a leetle bug, ain't it, Perfessor?" observed
Si. "Name's big enough for an el'fant er a 'potamus."

'skirmishing' 103

"It may seem so, Klegg; but when you get intimately acquainted with him
I think you will find that his name isn't any too large for him. There
is a good deal more of him than you think."

The young soldier's eyes opened still wider.

"I was going on to tell you," continued the Captain, "that there are
several kinds of Pediculi\x97we don't say Pediculuses. There is the
Pediculus Capitis\x97Latin again\x97but it means the kind that lives on the
head. I presume when you were a little shaver your mother now and then
harrowed your head with a fine-tooth comb?"

"Ya-as" said Si; "she almost took the hide off sometimes, an' made me
yell like an Injun."

"Now, Klegg, I don't wish to cause you unnecessary alarm, but I will say
that the head insect isn't a circumstance to this one on your arm. As
you would express it, perhaps, he can't hold a candle to him. This
fellow is the Pediculus Corporis!"

"I s'pose that means they eats up Corporals!" said Si.

"I do not think the Pediculus Corporis confines himself exclusively to
Corporals, as his name might indicate," said the Captain, laughing at
Si's literal translation and his personal application of the word. "He
no doubt likes a juicy and succulent Corporal, but I don't believe he is
any respecter of persons. That's my opinion, from what I've heard about
him. It is likely that I 'will be able to speak more definitely, from
experience, after a while. Corporis means that he is the kind that
pastures on the human body. But there's one thing more about this
fellow, some call him Pediculus Vestimenti; that is because he lives
around in the clothing."

"But we don't wear no vests," said Si, taking a practical view of this
new word; "nothin' but blouses, 'n' pants, 'n' shirts."

"You are too literal, Klegg. That word means any kind of clothes. But I
guess I've told you as much about him as you care to know at present. If
you want any more information, after two or three weeks, come and see me
again. I think by that time you will not find it necessary to ask any
more questions."

Si went back to his cooking, with the Pediculus still on his arm. He
wanted to show it to Shorty. The Captain's profound explanation, with
its large words, was a little too much for Si. He did not yet clearly
comprehend the matter, and as he walked thoughtfully to where Shorty was
"bilin'" the coffee he was trying to get through his head what it all
meant.

"Hello, Si," said Shorty; "whar ye bin? What d'ye mean, goin' off 'n'
leavin' yer sowbelly half done?"

"Sh-h!" replied Si. "Ye needn't git yer back up about it. Bin talkin' to
the Cap'n. Shorty, look at that 'ere bug!"

And Si pointed to the object of the Captain's lecture on natural history
that was still creeping on his arm. Shorty slapped his thigh and burst
into a loud laugh.

"Was that what ye went to see the Cap'n 'bout?" he asked as soon as he
could speak.

"Why\x97ya-as," replied Si, somewhat surprised at Shorty's unseemly levity.
"I saw that thing crawlin' round, 'n' I was a-wonderin' what it was, fer
I never seen one afore. I knowed Cap was a scolard, 'n' a perfesser, 'n'
all that 'n' I 'lowed he c'd tell me all about it. So I went 'n' axed
him."

"What'd he tell ye?"

"He told me lots o' big, heathenish words, 'n' said this bug was a
ridiculous, or suthin' like that."

"'Diculus be blowed!" said Shorty, "The ole man was a'stuffin' ye. I'll
tell ye what that is, Si," he added solemnly, "that's a grayback!"

"A grayback!" said Si. "I've hearn 'em call the Johnnies graybacks, but
I didn't know 's there was any other kind."

"I reck'n 'twont be long, now, till yer catches on ter the meanin' ol
what a grayback is. Ye'll know all 'bout it purty sudden. This ain't the
first one I ever seen."

Si was impressed, as he had often been before, by Shorty's superior
wisdom and experience.

"See here. Si," Shorty continued, as his eye suddenly lighted up with a
brilliant thought, "I guess I kin make ye understand what a grayback is.
What d'ye call that coat ye've got on?"

"Why, that's a fool question; it's a blouse, of course!"

"Jesso!" said Shorty. "Now, knock off the fust letter o' that word, 'n'
see what ye got left!"

Si looked at Shorty as if he thought his conundrums were an indication
of approaching idiocy. Then he said, half to himself:

"Let's see! Blouse\x97blouse\x97take off the 'b' 'n' she spells l-o-u-s-e,
louse! Great Scott, Shorty, is that a louse?"

"That's jest the size of it. Si. Ye'll have millions of 'em 'fore the
war's over 'f they don't hurry up the cakes."

Si looked as if he would like to dig a hole in the ground, get into it,
and have Shorty cover him up.

"Why didn't the Cap'n tell me it was that? He said suthin' about
ridiculus corporalis, and I thought he was makin' fun o' me. He said
these bugs liked to eat fat Corporals.'

"I reck'n that's so," replied Shorty; "but they likes other people jest
as well\x97even a skinny feller like me. They lunches off'n privits, 'n'
Corp'rils, 'n' Kurnals, 'n' Gin'rals, all the same. They ain't satisfied
with three square meals a day, nuther; they jest eats right along all
the time 'tween regular meals. They allus gits hungry in the night, too,
and chaws a feller up while he sleeps. They don't give ye no show at
all. I rayther think the graybacks likes the ossifers best if they could
have their ch'ice, 'cause they's fatter 'n the privits; they gits better
grub."

Si fairly turned pale as he contemplated the picture so graphically
portrayed by Shorty. The latter's explanation was far more effectual in
letting the light in upon Si's mind than the scientific disquisition of
the "Perfesser." He had now a pretty clear idea of what a "grayback"
was. Whatever he lacked to make his knowledge complete was soon supplied
in the regular way. But Si was deeply grieved and shocked at what Shorty
had told him. It was some minutes before he said anything more.

"Shorty," he said, with a sadness in his tone that would almost have
moved a mule to tears, "who'd a-thought rd ever git as low down 's this,
to have them all-fired graybacks, 's ye call 'em, crawlin' over me.
How'd mother feel if she knew about 'em. She wouldn't sleep a wink fer a
month!"

"Ye'll have to come to it. Si. All the soljers does, from the Major-
Gin'rals down to the tail-end of the mule-whackers. Ye mind them
'Sconsin chaps we was lookin' at a little bit ago?"

"Yes," said Si.

"Well, graybacks was what ailed 'em. The fellers with their shirts on
their knees was killin' 'em off. That's what they calls 'skirmishin'.
There's other kinds o' skirmishing besides fitin' rebels! Ye'd better
git rid of that one on yer arm, if he hasn't got inside already; then
there'll be one less of 'em."

Si found him after a short search, and proposed to get a chip, carry him
to the fire and throw him in.

"Naw!" said Shorty in disgust, "that's no way. Lemme show yer how!"

'naw! Lemme Show Ye How!' 107

Shorty placed one thumb-nail on each side of the insect. There was a
quick pressure, a snap like the crack of a percussion cap, and all was
over.

Si shuddered, and wondered if he could ever engage in such a work of
slaughter.

"D'ye s'pose," he said to Shorty, "that there's any more of 'em on me?"
And he began to hitch his shoulders about, and to feel a desire to put
his fingers to active use.

"Shouldn't wonder," replied Shorty. "Mebbe I've got 'em, to. Let's go
out'n do a little skirmishin' ourselves."

"We'd better go off a good ways," said Si, "so's the boys won't see us."

"You're too nice and pertickler for a soljer. Si. They'll all be doin'
it, even the Cap'n himself, by termorrer or nex' day."

They went out back of the camp, where Si insisted on getting behind the
largest tree he could find. Then they sat down and engaged in that
exciting chase of the Pediculus up and down the seams of their garments,
so familiar to all who wore either the blue or the gray. Thousands of
nice young men who are now preachers and doctors and lawyers and
statesmen, felt just as bad about it at first as Si did.

"Shorty," said Si, as they slowly walked back to eat their supper, which
had been neglected in the excitement of the hour, "before Co. Q left
Posey County to jine the rigiment a feller 't was home on furlow told me
ter let my finger-nails grow long 'n' sharp. He said I'd need 'em. I
didn't know what he meant then, but I b'lieve I do now."



CHAPTER XII. A WET NIGHT THE DEPRAVITY OF AN ARMY TENT REVEALS ITSELF.

NIGHT threw her dark mantle over the camp of the 200th Ind. The details
of guard and picket had been made. Videts, with sleepless eye and
listening ear, kept watch and ward on the outposts, while faithful
sentries trod their beats around the great bivouac. All day the army had
marched, and was to take the road again at an early hour in the morning.
Supper had been eaten, and the tired soldiers were gathered around the
campfires that gleamed far and near through the darkness.

"Si," said Shorty to his chum as they sat on a log beside the dying
embers, "how d'ye like soldierin', as fur as ye've got?"

"It's purty hard business," said Si, reflectively, "an' I s'pose we
haint seen the worst on it yet, either, from what I've hearn tell. Pity
the men that got up this war can't be made to do all the trampin' 'n'
fitin'. An' them fellers up in old Injjeanny that come 'round makin'
such red-hot speeches to git us boys to 'list, wouldn't it be fun to see
'em humpin' 'long with gun 'n' knapsack, 'n' chawin' hardtack, 'n'
stan'in' guard nights, 'n' pourin' water on their blisters, 'n' pickin'
graybacks off their shirts, 'n' p'leecin' camp, 'n' washin' their own
clothes?"

"I think we'd enj'y seein' 'em do all that," said Shorty, laughing at
the picture Si had drawn. "I reckon most of 'em 'd peter out purty
quick, and I'd like to hear what sort o' speeches they'd, make then. I
tell ye, Si, there's a big diff'rence 'tween goin' yerself an' tellin'
some other feller to go."

"Mebbe they'll git to draftin' after a while," observed Si, "'n' if they
do I hope that'll ketch em!"

"Wall, we're in fur it, anyway," said Shorty. "Let's take down the bed
'n' turn in!"

It didn't take long to complete the arrangements for the night. They
spread their "gum" blankets, or ponchos, on the ground, within the tent,
and on these their wool blankets, placed their knapsacks at the head for
pillows, and that was all. It was warmer than usual that evening, and
they stripped down to their nether garments.

"Feels good once in a while," said Si, "to peel a feller's clothes oft,
'n' sleep in a Christian-like way. But, Great Scott! Shorty, ain't this
ground lumpy? It's like lying on a big washboard. I scooted all over the
country huntin' fer straw to-night. There wasn't but one little stack
within a mile of camp. Them derned Ohio chaps gobbled every smidgin of
it. They didn't leave enuff to make a hummin'-bird's nest. The 200th
Ind. 'll git even with 'em some day."

So Si and Shorty crept in between the blankets, drew the top one up to
their chins, and adjusted their bodily protuberances as best they could
to fit the ridges and hollows beneath them.

"Now, Si," said Shorty, "don't ye git to fitin' rebels in yer sleep and
kick the kiver off, as ye did last night."

As they lay there their ears caught the music of the bugles sounding the
"tattoo." Far and near floated through the clear night air the familiar
melody that warned every soldier not on duty to go to bed. Next to the
200th Ind. lay a regiment of wild Michigan veterans, who struck up,
following the strains of the bugles:

Say, oh Dutch'y, will ye fight mit Si-gel? Zwei glass o' la-ger, Yaw!
Yaw! Yaw!!! Will yet fight to help de bul-ly ea-gle?

Schweitzer-ksse und pret-zels, Hur-raw! raw! raw!

During the night there came one of those sudden storms that seemed to be
sent by an inscrutable Providence especially to give variety to the
soldier's life.

Struck by a Cyclone 111

A well-developed cyclone struck the camp, and Si and Shorty were soon
awakened by the racket. The wind was blowing and whirling in fierce
gusts, wrenching out the tent-pins or snapping the ropes as if they were
threads. Everywhere was heard the flapping of canvas, and the yells and
shouts of the men as they dashed about in the darkness and wild
confusion. Many of the tents were already prostrate, and their
demoralized inmates were crawling out from under the ruin. To crown all
the rain began to fall in torrents. The camp was a vast pandemonium. The
blackest darkness prevailed, save when the scene was illuminated by
flashes of lightning. These were followed by peals of thunder that made
the stoutest quake.

Si sprang up at the first alarm. "Git up, here, you fellers!" he
shouted. "We'd better go outside and grab the ropes, or the hull shebang
'll go over."

There was not a moment to spare. Si dashed out into the storm and
darkness, followed by his comrades. Seizing the ropes, some of which
were already loosened, they braced themselves and hung on for dear life,
in the drenching rain, their hair and garments streaming in the wind.

Si's prompt action saved the tent from the general wreck. The fury of
the storm was soon past. Si and his comrades, after driving the pins and
securing the ropes, re-entered the tent, wet and shivering for the
mercury had gone down with a tumble, or rather it would have done so had
they been supplied with thermometers. But the scanty costume in which Si
found himself afforded a weather indicator sufficiently accurate for all
practical purposes.

Supper Under Difficulties 115

The ground was flooded, and their blankets and garments were fast
absorbing the water that flowed around in such an exasperating way.
Sleep under such conditions was out of the question. Si and Shorty put
on their clothes and tried to make the best of their sorry plight.

By this time the rain had nearly ceased. Fortunately they had laid in a
good stock of fuel the night before, and after a little patient effort
they succeeded in getting a fire started. Around this the boys hovered,
alternately warming their calves and shins.

"This is a leetle more'n I bargained fer," said Si. Then, taking a
philosophical view of the case, he added, "but there's one good thing
about it, Shorty, we'll be all fixed for mornin', an' we won't have to
get up when they sound the revel-lee. The buglers kin jest bust
theirselves a-blowin' fer all I keer!"

In this way the soldiers spent the remainder of the night. Before
daybreak the blast of a hundred bugles rang out, but there was little
need for the reveille.

Breakfast was soon over, and in the gray dawn of that murky morning the
long column went trailing on its way. The weather gave promise of a
sloppy day, and the indications were fully verified. A drizzling rain
set in, and continued without cessation. The boys put their heads
through the holes in their ponchos, from the corners of which the water
streamed. With their muskets at a "secure" they sloshed along through
the mud, hour after hour. In spite of their "gums" the water found its
way in at the back of the neck and trickled down their bodies. Their
clothes became saturated, and they were altogether about as miserable as
it is possible for mortals to be.

A Field Shanty 117

It seemed to Si that the maximum of discomfort had been reached. He had
experienced one thing after another during the few weeks since he left
home, and he thought each in turn was worse than the last, and about as
bad as it could be. But Si learned a good deal more before he graduated.
All through the long, dreary day the soldiers plodded on. There was
little comfort to be derived from the "rest," for the ground was soaked
with water.

"Why didn't we think of it, Shorty," said Si, "'n' make it part o' the
bargain' when we 'listed that we were to have umbrellers. These gum
things don't amount to shucks, nohow, to keep the rain off. I sh'd think
Uncle Sam might do that much for us!"

"I reckon our clothes 'll be purty well washed by the time we git out o'
this mess," said Shorty.

"Feels that way," said Si; "but how about the bilin'? A cold bath jest
refreshes them pesky little varmints, 'n' makes 'em livelier 'n ever.
Say, Shorty, ye didn't write home anything 'bout our havin' graybacks,
did ye?"

"No, not yet; but I was thinkin' I'd tell 'em 'bout it one o' these
days."

"Well, Shorty, I ain't going to tell my folks; it 'd jest make my mother
feel awful to know I was that way. And sister Maria, and\x97"

Si was thinking aloud, and was going to say "Annabel," but he checked
himself. That name was not to be mentioned in other ears. But he was
afraid she would go back on him if she knew, all about it.

It was nearly night when the 200th Ind., dripping and discouraged, filed
off into a field of standing corn to pass the night. The men sank to
their shoetops in the soft earth. Si remarked to Shorty that he didn't
see why the officers should turn 'em loose in such a place as that. But
the longer he lived the more he found out about those things. That was
the way they always did.

It's the Morning 119

In five minutes after arms were stacked not a cornstalk remained
standing in the field. During the afterfnoon the troops had gone over a
long stretch of swamp road that was almost impassable for teams. Fears
were entertained that the wagons of the regiment would not be up that
night, and they would not have their tents to shelter them from the
storm. In anticipation of such a calamity the boys, gathered in the
cornstalks, having a vague idea that they would help out in case of
emergency.

Taking the Top Rail 113

Then there was a scramble for the fences. Recognizing the need of good
fuel, an order from the General was filtered through the various
headquarters that the men might take the top rails, only, from the fence
inclosing tha field. This order was literally interpreted and carried
out, each man, successively, taking the "top rail" as he found it. The
very speedy result was that the bottom rails became the "top," and then
there weren't any. Almost in the twinkling of an eye the entire fence
disappeared.

The drizzle continued through the evening, and by the sputtering fires
the soldiers prepared and ate their frugal suppers. Word came that, as
was feared, the wagons were hopelessly bemired three or four miles back,
and the men would have to make such shift as they could.

The prospect was dreary and cheerless enough. It was little wonder that
many of the young Hoosiers felt as if they wanted to quit and go home.
But with that wonderful facility for adapting themselves to
circumstances that marked the volunteer soldiers, they set about the
work of preparing for the night. No one who has not "been there" can
imagine how good a degree of comfort\x97comparatively speaking, of
course\x97it was possible to reach, with such surroundings, by the exercise
of a little patience, ingenuity and industry.

Si and Shorty and the others of the "mess" bestirred themselves, and it
did not take them more than 20 minutes to build, out of rails and
cornstalks, a shelter that was really inviting. They kindled a big fire
in front of it, laid some rails within, covered with stalks, and on
these spread their blankets. Si, who had "bossed" the job, viewed the
work with great satisfaction.

"I tell ye, that's no slouch of a shanty!" said he.



CHAPTER XIII. SI "STRAGGLED" AND THE OTHER BOYS MADE IT MIGHTY LOVELY
FOR HIM.

ONE day while Buell was chasing Bragg, two or three weeks after leaving
Louisville, the army was pushing forward at a gait that made the cavalry
ahead trot half the time to keep out of the way of the infantry. The
extraordinary speed that day was due to the fact that there were no
rebels in sight. Half a dozen ragged troopers with shotguns, a mile
away, would have caused the whole army to halt, form line-of-battle, and
stay thera the rest of the day.

The tanned veterans didn't mind the marching. They stretched their legs
and went swinging along with a happy-go-lucky air, always ready for
anything that might turn up. But it was rough on the new troops, just
from home. It taxed their locomotive powers to the utmost limit.

The boys of the 200th Ind. started out bravely. Their fresh, clean
faces, new uniforms, and shiny accouterments contrasted strongly with
those of the weather-beaten soldiers of '61. You could tell a
"tenderfoot" as far as you could see him.

They trudged along in fair shape for an hour or two. Before starting in
the morning strict orders had been read to the regiment forbidding
straggling, for any reason, under the most terrifying pains and
penalties.

"Them fellers that's been in the service longer 'n we have think they're
smart," said Si Klegg, as he and Shorty plodded on, both already a
little blown. "Well show 'em that we can hoof it jest as fast as they
can, and jest as fur in a day!"

"Seems to me we're git'n over the ground party lively to-day," replied
Shorty, who was in a grumbling mood. "Wonder if the Gin'ral thinks we're
bosses! I'm a little short o' wind, and these pesky gunboats are
scrapin' the bark off'n my feet; but I'll keep up or bust."

Though e spirit of these young patriots was willing, the flesh was weak.
It wasn't long till Si began to limp. Now and then a groan escaped his
lips as a fresh blister "broke." But Si clinched his teeth, humped his
back to ease his shoulders from the weight of his knapsack, screwed up
his courage, and tramped on over the stony pike. He thought the
breathing spells were very short and a long way apart.

Si's knapsack had experienced the universal shrinkage, as told in a
previous chapter of our hero's martial career. He still had, however, a
good many things that he thought he couldn't spare, but which he found
later he could very well get along without.

By noon the 200th began to show signs of going to pieces. The column
stretched out longer and longer, like a piece of India-rubber. The ranks
looked thin and ragged. Lame and foot-sore, with wo-begone faces, their
bodies aching in every bone and tendon, and overcome with a weariness
that no one can realize unless he has "been there," the men dropped out
one by one and threw themselves into the fence-corners to rest. The
officers stormed and drew their swords in vain. Nature\x97that is, the
nature of a new soldier\x97could endure no more. The ambulances were filled
to their utmost, but these would not hold a twentieth part of the
crippled and suffering men.

"How're ye gittin' on, Shorty?" said Si, as he and his comrade still
struggled along.

"Fair to middlin'," replied Shorty. "I'm goin' to try and pull through!"

"I thought I could," said Si, "but I'm 'bout played out! I am, fer a
fact! I guess ef I rest a bit I'll be able to ketch up after a while."

Si didn't know till he found out by experience how hard it was to "ketch
up" when a soldier once got behind on the march. Si was too fat for a
good roadster, but it didn't take a great while to work off his surplus
flesh. Shorty was tall and slim, mostly bone\x97one of the sort that always
stood the marching best, crept up to the Orderly and told him that he
would have to stop and puff a while and give his blisters a rest. He'd
pull up with Co. Q in an hour or so.

"Better not, Si" said the Orderly; "ye know it's agin orders, and the
rear-guard 'll punch ye with their bay'net's if they catch ye
stragglin'."

But Si concluded that if he must die for his country it would be sweeter
to do so by having a bayonet inserted in his vitals, and then it would
be all over with at once, than to walk himself to death.

So he gradually fell back till he reached the tail of the company.
Watching his opportunity, he left the ranks, crept into a clump of
bushes, and lay down, feeling as if he had been run through a grist-
mill. Soon the rear-guard of the 200th came along, with fixed bayonets,
driving before them like a flock of frightened sheep a motley crowd of
limping, groaning men, gathered up by the roadside.

Si lay very still, hoping to escaoe discovery; but the keen eye of the
officer detected the blue heap among the bushes.

"Bring that man out!" said he sternly to one of the guards.

Poor Si scarcely dare to breathe. He hoped the man would think he was
dead, and therefore no longer of any account. But the soldier began to
prod him with his bayonet, ordering him to get up and move on.

'don't Stab Me.' 123

"Look-a-here, pard," said Si, "don't stab me with that thing! I jest
can't git along any furder till I blow a little. You please lemme be,
an' I'll do as much for you. P'rhaps some time you'll get played out and
I'll be on the rear-guard. The Cap'n 'll tell me ter fotch ye 'long, an'
I'll jest let ye rest, so I will!"

This view of the case struck the guard with some force. Moved with
compassion, he turned away, leaving Si to enjoy his rest.

Hydropathic Treatment 125

Si threw aside his traps, took off his shoes and stockings, and bathed
his feet with water from his canteen. He ate a couple of hardtack, and
in the course of half an hour began to feel more like Si Klegg. He
geared himself up, shouldered his gun, and started to "ketch up."

All this time the stream of troops\x97regiments, brigades and divisions\x97had
flowed on. Of course, soldiers who were with their colors had the right
of way, and the stragglers were obliged to stumble along as best they
could, over the logs and through the bushes at the sides of the roads or
skirt along the edges of the fields and woods adjoining. It was this
fact added to their exhausted and crippled condition, that made it
almost impossible for stragglers to overtake their regiments until they
halted for the night. Even then it was often midnight before the last of
the wayfarers, weary and worn, dragged their aching limbs into camp.

Si started forward briskly, but soon found it was no easy matter to gain
the mile or so that the 200th Ind. was now ahead of him. It was about
all he could do to keep up with the fast-moving column and avoid failing
still further to the rear. Presently the bugles sounded a halt for one
of the hourly rests.

"Now," said Si to himself, "I'll have a good chance to git along tor'd
the front. The soljers 'll all lie down in the fence corners an' leave
the road clear. I'll jest git up an' dust!"

The sound of the bugles had scarcely died away when the pike was
deserted, and on either side, as far as the eye could reach, the
prostrate men that covered the ground mingled in a long fringe of blue.

Si got up into the road and started along the lane between these lines
of recumbent soldiers. His gait was a little shaky, for the blisters on
his feet began to give evidence of renewed activity. He trudged pluckily
along, limping some in spite of himself, but on the whole making very
good headway.

Pretty soon he struck a veteran regiment from Illinois, the members of
which were sitting and lying around in all the picturesque and
indescribable postures which the old soldiers found gave them the
greatest comfort during a "rest." Then they commenced\x97that is, it was
great sport for the Sucker boys, though Si did not readily appreciate
the humorous features of the scene.

"What rigiment is this?" asked Si, timidly.

"Same old rijiment!" was the answer from half a dozen at once. A single
glance told the swarthy veterans that the fresh-looking youth who asked
this conundrum belonged to one of the new regiments, and they
immediately opened their batteries upon him:

"Left\x97left-=left!"

"Hayfoot\x97strawfoot! Hayfoot\x97strawfoot!" keeping time with Si's somewhat
irregular steps.

"Hello, there, you! Change step and you'll march easier!"

"Look at that 'ere poor feller; the only man left alive of his regiment!
Great Cesar, how they must have suffered! Say, what rijiment did you
b'long to?"

"Paymaster's comin', boys, here's a chap with a pay-roll round his
neck!" Si had put on that morning the last of the paper collars he had
brought from home.

"You'd better shed that knapsack, or it'll be the death of ye!"

"I say, there, how's all the folks to home?"

"How d'ye like it as far as you've got, any way?"

"Git some commissary and pour into them gunboats!"

"Second relief's come, boys; we can all go home now."

"Grab a root!"

"Hep\x97hep\x97hep!"

"How'd ye leave Mary Ann?"

Si had never been under such a fire before. He stood it as long as he
could, and 'then he stopped.

"Halt!" shouted a chorus of voices. "Shoulder\x97Arms!" "Order\x97Arms!"

By this time Si's wrath was at the boiling point. Casting around him a
look of defiance, he exclaimed:

"You cowardly blaggards; I can jest lick any two of ye, an' I'll dare ye
to come on. If the 200th Ind. was here we'd clean out the hull pack of
ye quicker'n ye can say scat!"

This is where Si made a mistake. He ought to have kept right on and said
nothing. But Si had to find out all these things by experience, as the
rest of the boys did.

Si Defies a Regiment 129

All the members took a hand in the game. They just got right up and
yelled, discharging at Si a volley of expletives and pointed remarks
that drove him to desperation. Instinctively he brought up his gun.

"Load in nine times\x97Load!" shouted a dozen of the Illinois tramps.

If Si's gun had been loaded he would have shot somebody, regardless of
consequences. Thinking of his bayonet, he jerked it quickly from its
scabbard.

"Fix\x97Bay'net!" yelled the ragged veterans.

And he did, though it was more from the promptings of his own hostile
feelings than in obedience to the orders.

"Charge\x97Bay'net!"

Si had completely lost control of himself in his overpowering rage. With
blood in his eye, he came to, a charge, glancing fiercely from one side
of the road to the other, uncertain where to begin the assault.

Instantly there was a loud clicking all along the line. The Illinois
soldiers, almost to a man, fixed their bayonets. Half of them sprang to
their feet, and all aimed their shining points at the poor young Hoosier
patriot, filling the air with shouts of derision.

It was plain, even to Si in his inflamed state of mind, that the odds
against him were too heavy.

"Unfix\x97Bay'net!" came from half the regiment.

Si concluded he had better get out of a bad scrape the best way he
could. So he took off his bayonet and put it back in its place. He
shouted words of defiance to his tormentors, but they could not be heard
in the din.

"Shoulder\x97Arms!" "Right\x97Face!" "Right shoulder shift\x97Arms!"
"Forward\x97March!" These commands came in quick succession from the ranks
amidst roars of laughter.

Si obeyed the orders and started off.

"Left\x97left\x97left!"

"Hayfoot\x97strawfoot!"

Forgetting his blisters. Si took the double-quick while the mob swung
their caps and howled with delight.

Si didn't "ketch up" with the 200 Ind. until after it had gone into
camp. Shorty had a quart of hot coffee waiting for him.

"Shorty," said Si as they sat by the fire,\x97"I'm goin' to drop dead in my
tracks before I'll fall out again."

"Why, what's the matter?"

"Oh, nothin'; only you jest try it," said Si.

Had it not been for the "fun" the soldiers had in the army to brighten
their otherwise dark and cheerless lives, they would all have died. Si
was a true type of those who had to suffer for the good of others until
they learned wisdom in the school of experience.



CHAPTER XIV. SI AND THE MULES ONE DAY'S RICH EXPERIENCE AS COMPANY
TEAMSTER.

"I'VE GOT to have a man to drive team for a few days," said the Orderly
of Co. Q of the 200th Ind. one morning at roll-call. "The teamster's
sick and I'm goin' to send him to the hospital to-day."

The Orderly-Sergeant of Co. Q was a wily fellow. All Orderly-Sergeants
have to be. If they are not naturally, they learn it very quickly, or
lose the little diamond on their sleeves, if not all their stripes. The
man who undertakes to manage 60 or 75 stalwart, high-spirited young
Americans through all their moods and tenses, and every kind of weather,
has to be as wise as a serpent, though not necessarily as harmless as a
dove. Therefore, the Orderly-Sergeant didn't tell the boys what ailed
the teamster. The fact was that the heels of the "off=wheeler" caught
the teamster in the pit of the stomach and doubled him up so badly that
he wouldn't be fit for duty for a week. It was worse than the green-corn
colic.

"'Tisn't every man," continued the Orderly, "that's gifted with fust-
class talent fur drivin' team. I'd like to find the best man to steer
them animals, an' if there's a real sientifick mule-whacker in this
comp'ny let him speak up an' I'll detail him right off. It'll be a soft
thing fur somebody; them mules are daises."

Somehow they didn't all speak at once. The company had only had the team
two or three weeks, but the boys were not dull of hearing, and ominous
sounds had come to them from the rear of the camp at all hours of the
night\x97the maddening "Yeehaw-w-w!" of the long-eared brutes, and the
frantic ejaculations of the teamster, spiced with oaths that would have
sent a shudder through "our army in Flanders."

He Let Both Heels Fly 133

So they did not apply for the vacant saddle with that alacrity which
might have been expected, when so good a chance was offered for a
soldier to ride and get his traps carried on a wagon. Whenever an
infantryman threw away such an opportunity it is safe to assume that
there was some good reason for it.

But the idea of riding for a few days and letting his blisters get well
was too much for Si Klegg. Besides, he thought if there was any one
thing he could do better than another it was driving a team. He had been
doing it on his father's farm all his life. It is true, he didn't know
much about mules, but he imagined they were a good deal like horses.

"I'm your man!" spoke up Si cheerfully.

"All right," said the Orderly. "Company, Right\x97Face! Break ranks\x97March!"

"There ain't any trouble about it!" Si said to Shorty as they walked
back to the tent. "I reckon it's easy enough to manage mules if you go
at 'em right. It'll be just fun for me to drive team. And say. Shorty,
I'll carry all your traps on my wagon. That'll be a heap better'n totin'
'em!"

Si gathered up his outfit and started to enter upon his new sphere of
usefulness.

"Shall I take my gun and bay'net along?" he asked the Orderly.

"Guess you'd better; they might come handy!" replied the Orderly, as he
thought of the teamster's disastrous encounter with the "off-wheeler."

After Shorty had eaten his breakfast he thought he would go back to the
tent and see how Si was getting on. With thoughtful care Si had fed his
mules before appeasing his own appetite, and Shorty found him just
waiting for his coffee to cool a bit.

"Why, them 'ere mules is jist as gentle'n' peaceful-like ez so many
kittens. Look at 'em, Shorty!" and Si pointed with a proud and gratified
air to where the six "daisies" were standing, three on each side of the
wagon-pole, with their noses in the feed-box, quietly munching their
matutinal rations, and whisking their paint-brush tails about in evident
enjoyment.

Indeed, to look at those mules one who was ignorant of the peculiar
characteristics of the species would not have thought that beneath those
meek exteriors there were hearts filled with the raging fires of total
depravity. Shorty thought how it would be, but he didn't say anything.
He was sure that Si would find out about it soon enough.

The brigade to which the 200th Ind. belonged was to march in the rear of
the long procession that day. This was lucky for Si, as it gave him an
hour or two more than he would otherwise have had to get hitched up. But
all the same he thought he would begin early, so as to be on hand with
his team in good time.

"Want any help?" asked Shorty.

"No," said Si; "I can hitch 'em up slick's a whistle. I can't see why so
many makes sich a fuss 'bout handlin' mules."

Shorty lighted his cob pipe and sat down on a stump to watch Si. "Kinder
think there'll be a circus!" he said to himself.

Si got up from his coffee and hardtack, and addressed himself to the
business of the hour. It proved to be just as much as he could attend
to. When Si poured half a bushel of corn into the feed box it was all
very nice, and the animals rubbed their heads against him to give
expression to their grateful emotions. But when it came to putting on
the harness, that was quite a different thing. The mere touch of a strap
was enough to stimulate into baleful activity all the evil passions of
mule-nature.

"Now, Pete and Jim and Susan, we must git ready to pull out!" said Si to
his charge, in a familiar, soothing tone, preliminary to getting down to
business. It was his evident desire to maintain the friendly relations
that he thought he had already established. At the first rattle of the
harness Pete and Susan and the rest, moved by a common impulse, laid
back their ears and began to bray, their heels at the same time showing
symptoms of impatience.

"Whoa, there\x97whoa!" exclaimed Si, in a conciliatory way, as he advanced
with a bridle in his hand toward one of the big wheelers, whose ears
were flapping about like the fans of a windmill.

Si imprudently crept up from the rear. A flank movement would have been
better. As soon as he had got fairly within range the mule winked
viciously, lowered his head, and let fly both heels. Si was a spry boy,
and a quick dodge saved him from the fate of his predecessor. One of the
heels whizzed past his ear with the speed of a cannon ball, caught his
hat, and sent it spinning through the air.

Shorty, who was whittling up a piece of Kentucky twist to recharge his
pipe, laughed till he rolled off the stump all in a heap. A few of the
other boys had stayed out to see the fun, and were lounging around the
outskirts of the corral. "Go for 'em, Si!" they shouted.

Si was plucky, and again advanced with more caution. This time he was
successful, after a spirited engagement, in getting the bridle on. He
thought he would ride him down to the creek for water, and this would
give him a chance to get acquainted with him, as it were. He patted the
animal's neck, called him pet names, and gently stroked his stubby mane.
Alas, Si didn't know then what an utter waste of material it was to give
taffy to an army mule.

With a quick spring Si vaulted upon the back of the mule. He started off
in good shape, waving his hand exultingly to the boys with the air of a
General who has just won a great battle.

All at once the animal stopped as suddenly as if he had run against a
stone wall. He planted his fore feet, throwing his ears back and his
head down. There was a simultaneous rear elevation, with the heels at an
upward angle of about 45 degrees. Si went sprawling among the bushes.
This performance was greeted with great enthusiasm by the fast
increasing crowd of spectators.

Si Went Sprawling 137

"I oughter have told you that saddle-mule's the worst bucker in the Army
o' the Ohio," said the Quartermaster-Sergeant, who was among the
onlookers. "Why, he'd buck off the stripe that runs down his back, if he
took it into his measly head. He bucked off a chattel mortgage, and
that's the way he come into the army. You can't ride him without using
one of Aunt Jemima's sticking plasters."

"Much obliged for your information. But I will ride him all the same,"
said Si, whose temper had risen to the exploding point. "I kin ride him
if he ties himself in a double bow-knot."

Si was too much of a farmer boy to give in to anything that walked on
four legs.

He had hung on to the bridle rein, and after addressing a few impressive
words to the obstreperous mule he again leaped upon his back. The mule
took a docile turn, his motive having apparently been merely to show Si
what he could do when he took a notion.

The space at command will not permit us to follow Si through all the
details of "hitching up" that team. He did finally "git thar, Eli,"
after much strategic effort. The mules brayed and kicked a good deal,
and Si's wrath was fully aroused before he got through. He became
convinced that soft words were of no account in such a contest, and he
enforced discipline by the judicious use of a big club, together with
such appropriate language as he could think of. Si hadn't yet learned to
swear with that wonderful and appalling proficiency that was so soon
acquired by the army teamsters. In the management of mules profanity was
considered an invaluable accessory in times of great emergency.

At last Si climbed into the saddle, as proud as a King. Seizing the
long, single line running to the "leaders"\x97by which contrivance the army
team was always guided\x97he shouted "Git up, thar, Pete! G'lang Susan!"
and the caravan started. But the unregenerated brutes didn't go far. Si
was gaily cracking his whip, trying to hit a big blue-bottle fly that
was perched on the ear of one of the "swing" mules.

As if by a preconcerted plan, the establishment came to a sudden halt
and the mules began to rear and kick and plunge around in utter
disregard of consequences. It didn't take more than a minute for them to
get into a hopeless tangle. They were in all conceivable shapes\x97heads
and tails together, crosswise and "every which way," tied up with the
straps of the harness. The air in all directions was full of heels.
There was a maddening chorus of discordant braying.

In the course of the scrimmage Si found himself on the ground. Gathering
himself up, he gazed in utter amazement at the twisted, writhing mass.
At this moment a messenger came from the Captain to "hurry up that
team," and poor Si didn't know what to do. He wished he could only swear
like the old mule drivers. He thought it would make him feel better.
There was no one to help him out of his dilemma, as the members of the
company were all getting ready for the march.

A veteran teamster happened along that way, and took in the situation at
a glance. He saw that Si had bit off more than he could chew, and
volunteered his assistance.

"Here, young feller," said he, "lemme show ye how to take the stiffenin'
out o' them ere dod-gasted mules!"

Seizing the whip at the small end of the stock he began laying on right
and left with the butt, taking care to keep out of range of the heels.
During these persuasive efforts he was shouting at the top of his voice
words that fairly hissed through the air. Si thought he could smell the
brimstone and see the smoke issuing from the old teamster's mouth and
nostrils. This is a section of what that experienced mule driver said,
as nearly as we can express it:

"_________;;_____________!!!***???!!!! ____???________???!!!!"

Si thanked the veteran for these timely suggestions in the way of
language, and said he would remember them. He had no doubt they would
help him out the next time.

They finally got the team untied, and Si drove over to the company
ground. The regiment had been gone some time, a detail having been left
to load the wagon. After getting out upon the road the mules plodded
along without objection, and Si got on famously. But having lost his
place in the column in consequence of the delay, he was obliged to fall
in rear of the division train, and it was noon before he got well
started.

Along towards evening Si struck a section of old corduroy road through a
piece of swamp. The passage of the artillery and wagons had left the
road in a wretched condition. The logs were lying at all points of the
compass, or drifting vaguely about in the mire, while here and there
were seas of water and pits of abysmal depth.

Stuck in the Mud 141

To make the story short, Si's mules stumbled and floundered and
kicked,\x97while Si laid on with the whip and used some of the words he had
learned from the old teamster before starting.

At length the wagon became hopelessly stalled. The wheels sank to the
hubs, and Si yelled and cracked his whip in vain. Perhaps if he had had
the old teamster there to swear for him he could have pulled through,
but as it was he gave it up, dismounted, hunted a dry spot, and sat down
to think and wait for something to turn up.

Just before dark a large detail from Co. Q, which had been sent back on
an exploring expedition for Si and his team, reached the spot. After
hours of prying and pushing and tugging and yelling they at length got
the wagon over the slough, reaching camp about midnight.

"Orderly," said Si, "I believe I'd like to resign my place as mule-
driver. It's a nice, soft thing, but I'd jest as lief let s'mother
feller have it, so I'll take my gun an' go to hoofin' it agin!"



CHAPTER XV. UNDER FIRE\x97SI HAS A FIGHT, CAPTURES A PRISONER AND GETS
PROMOTED.

"SEEMS to me it's 'bout time ter be gitt' into a fite!" said Si Klegg to
Shorty one night as they sat around the fire after supper, with their
shoes and stockings off, comparing the size and number of their
respective blisters. Neither of them had much of the skin they started
out with left on their feet. "I always s'posed," he continued, "that
bein' a sojer meant fitin' somebody; and here we are roaming over the
country like a lot of tramps. I can't see no good in it, nohow."

"Don't be in a hurry. Si," replied Shorty; "I reckon we'll ketch it soon
'nuff. From what I've hearn the old soldiers tell a battle ain't such a
funny thing as a feller thinks who don't know anything about it, like
you'n me. The boys is always hungry at first for shootin' and bein' shot
at, but I've an idee that it sorter takes away their appetite when they
gits one square meal of it. They don't hanker after it no more. It's
likely we'll git filled full one o' these days. I'm willin' to wait!"

"Wall," said Si, "I sh'd think we might have a little skirmish, anyway.
I'd like to have a chance to try my gun and to hear what kind of a noise
bullets make. Of course, I'd ruther they'd hit some other feller besides
me, but I'm ready to take the chances on that. I don't b'lieve I'd be
afeard."

Si was ambitious, and full of the martial ardor that blazed in the
breast of every young volunteer. He was really glad when the Orderly
came around presently and told them that the 200th Ind. would have the
advance next day, and Co. Q would be on the skirmish-line. He told the
boys to see that their cartridge-boxes were all full and their guns in
good order, as they would be very like to run foul of the rebels.

This was just before the battle of Perryville. The rebels were very
saucy, and there seemed to be a fair prospect that the curiosity of the
members of the 200th Ind. to "see the elephant" would be at least
measurably gratified.

Before Si went to bed he cleaned up his gun and made sure that it would
"go off" whenever he wanted it to. Then he and Shorty crawled under the
blankets, and as they lay "spoon fashion," thinking about what might
happen the next day. Si said he hoped they would both have "lots of
sand."

All night Si dreamed about awful scenes of slaughter. Before morning he
had destroyed a large part of the Confederate army.

It was yet dark when the reveille sounded through the camp. Si and
Shorty kicked off the blankets at first blast of bugle, and were
promptly in their places for roll-call. Then, almost in a moment, a
hundred fires were gleaming, and the soldiers gathered around them to
prepare their hasty breakfast.

Before the sun was up the bugles rang out again upon the morning air. In
quick succession came the "general," the "assembly," and "to the
colors." The 200th marched out upon the pike, but soon filed off into a
cornfield to take its assigned place in the line, for the advance
division was to move in order of battle, brigade front, that day.

In obedience to orders, Co. Q moved briskly out and deployed as
skirmishers, covering the regimental front. As the line advanced through
field and thicket Si Klegg's heart was not the only one that thumped
against the blouse that covered it.

It was not long till a squad of cavalrymen came galloping back, yelling
that the rebels were just ahead. The line was halted for a few minutes;
while the Generals swept the surrounding country with their field
glasses and took in the situation.

The skirmishers, for fear of accidents, took advantage of such cover as
they could find. Si and Shorty found themselves to leeward of a large
stump.

"D'ye reckon a bullet 'd go through this 'ere stump?" said Si.

Before Shorty could answer something else happened that absorbed their
entire attention. For the time they didn't think of anything else.

'Boom-m-m-m!'

"Great Scott! d'ye hear that?" said Si through his chattering teeth.

"Yes, and there's somethin' comin' over this way," replied Shorty.

A shell came screaming and swishing through the air. The young Hoosiers
curled around the roots of that stump and flattened themselves out like
a pair of griddle-cakes. If it was Si that the rebel gunners were after,
they timed the shell to a second, for it burst with a loud bang just
over them. The fragments flew all around, one striking the stump and
others tearing up the dirt on every side.

It Burst With a Loud 'bang.' 145

To say that for the moment those two soldiers were demoralized would be
drawing it very mildly. They showed symptoms of a panic. It seemed as
though they would be hopelessly stampeded. Their tongues were paralyzed,
and they could only look silently into each other's white faces.

Si was the first to recover himself, although it could hardly be
expected that he could get over his scare all at once.

"D-d-did it hit ye, Sh-Shorty?" he said.

"N-no, I guess not; b-b-but ain't it aw-awful. Si? You look so bad I th-
thought you was k-k-killed!"

"Who's afeard?" said Si. "I was only skeered of you. Shorty. Brace up,
now same's I do!"

"Skirmishers\x97Forward!" was heard along the line. "Come on, Shorty!" said
Si, and they plunged bravely ahead.

Emerging suddenly from a thick wood, they came upon the rebel
skirmishers in full view, posted on the opposite side of the field.

Crack! Crack!\x97Zip! Zip!

"Guess there's a bee-tree somewhere around here, from the way the bees
are buzzin'," said Si.

"'Taint no bees," replied Shorty; "it's a mighty sight worse'n that.
Them's bullets, Si Don't ye see the dumed galoots over yonder a-shootin'
at us?"

Si was no coward, and he was determined to show that he wasn't. The
shell a little while before had taken the starch out of him for a few
minutes, but that was nothing to his discredit. Many a seasoned veteran
found himself exceedingly limber under such circumstances.

"Let's give the rascals a dose," said he; "the best we've got in stock!"

Suiting the action to the word, Si crept up to a fence, thrust his gun
between the rails, took good aim and fired.

Si Takes a Crack at A Reb 147

A bullet from one of the other fellows made the splinters fly from a
rail a foot or two from Si's head; but he was getting excited now, and
he didn't mind it any more than if it had been a paper wad from a pea-
shooter.

It makes a great difference with a soldier under fire whether he can
take a hand in the game himself, or whether he must lie idle and let the
enemy "play it alone."

"Did ye hear him squeal?" said Si, as he dropped upon the ground and
began to reload with all his might. "I hit that son-of-a-gun, sure. Give
'em H\x97Hail Columbia, Shorty. We'll show 'em that the 200th Ind. is in
front to-day!"

"Forward, men!" shouted the officers. "Go right for 'em!"

The skirmishers sprang over the fence and swept across the field at a
"double-quick" in the face of a sputtering fire that did little damage.
None of them reached the other side any sooner than Si did. The rebels
seemed to have found out that the 200th boys were coming, for they were
already on the run, and some of them had started early. Pell-mell
through the brush they went, and the blue-blouses after them.

"Halt, there, or I'll blow ye into the middle o' next week!" yelled Si,
as he closed up on a ragged specimen of the Southern Confederacy whose
wind had given out. Si thought it would be a tall feather in his hat if
he could take a prisoner and march him back.

Si Captures a Johnny 149

The "Johnny" gave one glance at his pursuer, hesitated, and was lost. He
saw that Si meant business, and surrendered at discretion.

"Come 'long with me!" said Si, his eyes glistening with pleasure and
pride. Si marched him back and delivered him to the Colonel.

"Well done, my brave fellow!" said the Colonel.

"This is a glorious day for the 200th Ind., and you've taken its first
prisoner. What's your name my boy?"

"Josiah Klegg, sir!" said Si, blushing to the very roots of his hair.

"What company do you belong to?"

"Company Q, sir!" and Si saluted the officer as nicely as he knew how.

"I'll see your Captain to-night, Mr. Klegg, and you shall be rewarded
for your good conduct. You may now return to your company."

It was the proudest moment of Si's life up to date. He stammered out his
thanks to the Colonel, and then, throwing his gun up to a right
shoulder-shift, he started off on a canter to rejoin the skirmishers.

That night Si Klegg was the subject of a short conversation between his
Captain and the Colonel. They agreed that Si had behaved very
handsomely, and deserved to be promoted.

"Are there any vacancies in your non-commissioned officers?" asked the
Colonel.

"No," was the reply, "but there ought to be. One of my Corporals skulked
back to the rear this morning and crawled into a wagon. I think we had
better reduce him to the ranks and appoint Mr. Klegg."

"Do so at once," said the Colonel.

Next morning when the 200th was drawn up in line an order was read by
the Adjutant reducing the skulker and promoting Si to the full rank of
Corporal, with a few words commending the gallantry of the latter. These
orders announcing rewards and punishments were supposed to have a
salutary effect in stimulating the men to deeds of glory, and as a
warning to those who were a little short of "sand."

Corporal si Klegg 151

The boys of Co. Q showered their congratulations upon Si in the usual
way. They made it very lively for him that day. In the evening: Si
hunted up some white cloth, borrowed a needle and thread, went off back
of the tent, rammed his bayonet into the ground, stuck a candle in the
socket, and sewed chevrons on the sleeves of his blouse. Then he wrote a
short letter:

"Deer Annie: I once more take my pen in hand to tell you there's grate
news. I'm an ossifer. We had an awful fite yisterdy. I don't know how
menny rebbles I kild, but I guess thare was enuff to start a good sized
graveyard. I tuk a prizner, too, and the Kurnal says to me bully fer
you, Mister Klegg, or sumthin to that effeck. This mornin they made me a
Corporil, and red it out before the hull rijiment I guess youd been
prowd if you could have seen me. To-night the boys is hollerin hurraw
fer Corporal Klegg all over camp. I ain't as big is the Ginrals and gum
of the other ossifers, but thars no tellin how hi I'll get in three
years.

"Rownd is the ring that haint no end, So is my luv to you my friend.

"Yours, same as before,

"Corporal Si Klegg."



CHAPTER XVI. ONE OF THE "NON-COMMISH" A NIGHT'S ADVENTURES AS "CORPORAL
OF THE GUARD."

"CORPORAL Klegg, you will go on duty to-night with the camp guard!" said
the Orderly of Co. Q one evening, as the 200th Ind. filed off into a
piece of woods to bivouac for the night, two or three days after Si had
been promoted.

The chevrons on his arms had raised Si several degrees in the estimation
not only of himself, but of the other members of the company. His
conduct in the skirmish had shown that he had in him the material for a
good soldier, and even the Orderly began to treat him with that respect
due to his new rank as one of the "non-commish."

Like every other man who put on the army blue and marched away so bold,
"With gay and gallant tread," Si could not tell whether he was going to
amount to anything as a soldier until he had gone through the test of
being under fire. There were many men who walked very erect, talked
bravely, drilled well, and made a fine appearance on dress parade,
before they reached "the front," but who wilted at the "zip" of bullets
like tender corn blades nipped by untimely frost. And a good many of
them continued in that wilted condition. Perhaps they really couldn't
help it. An inscrutable Providence had seen fit to omit putting any
"sand in their gizzards," as the boys expressed it.

It must be confessed that Si was somewhat unduly elated and puffed up
over, his own achievements as a skirmisher and his success in climbing
the ladder of military rank and fame. It is true, it wasn't much of a
fight they had that day, but Si thought it was pretty fair for a
starter, and enough to prove to both himself and his comrades that he
wouldn't be one of the "coffee coolers" when there was business on hand.

Si was sorry that his regiment did not get into the fight at Perryville.
The 200th Ind. belonged to one of the two corps of Buell's army that lay
under the trees two or three miles away all through that October
afternoon, while McCook's gallant men were in a life-and-death struggle
against overwhelming odds. It bothered Si as much to understand it all
as it did 30,000 other soldiers that day.

Si responded with alacrity when he was detailed for guard duty. He had
walked a beat once or twice as a common tramp, and had not found it
particularly pleasant, especially in stormy weather; but now he was a
peg higher, and he thought as Corporal he would have a better time. He
had already observed that the rude winds of army life were tempered, if
not to the shorn lambs, at least to the officers, in a degree
proportionate to their rank. The latter had the first pick of
everything, and the men took what was left. The officers always got the
softest rails to sleep on, the hardtack that was least tunneled through
by the worms, the bacon that had the fewest maggots, and the biggest
trees in a fight.

"Forward\x97March!" shouted the officer in command, when the detachment was
ready. Si stepped off very proudly, thinking how glad his good old
mother and sister Marier and pretty Annabel would be if they could see
him at that moment. He was determined to discharge his official duties
"right up to the handle," and make the boys stand around in lively
style.

When the guard reached the place selected for headquarters the officer
drily lectured them in regard to their duties, impressing upon them the
necessity of being alert and vigilant. There was only a thin picket-line
between them and the enemy. The safety of the army depended upon the
faithfulness of those appointed to watch while others slept. He gave
them the countersign, "Bunker Hill," and ordered them under no
circumstances to allow any person to pass without giving it, not even
the Commanding General himself.

Then the guards were posted, the "beats" laid off and numbered, and as
the fast-gathering shadows deepened among the trees the sentinels paced
to and fro around the tired army.

For an hour or two after the guards were stationed all was quiet along
the line. The noise of the great camp was hushed for the night, and no
sound broke the stillness of the gloomy forest. The moon rose and peeped
timidly through the branches.

"Corporal of the Guard; Post No. 6."

Si's quick ear, as he lay curled up at the foot of a tree, caught these
words, rapidly repeated by one sentinel after another. It was his first
summons. He sprang to his feet, gun in hand, his heart beating at the
thought of adventure, and started on the run for "Post No. 6."

"What's up?" he said to the guard, with a perceptible tremor in his
voice.

"There's one o' the boys tryin' to run the guards!" was the answer.
"He's been out foragin', I reckon. He's got a lot o' plunder he wants to
git into camp with. See him, out there in the bush?"

The forager, for such he proved to be, was nimbly dodging from tree to
tree, watching for a chance to cross the line, but the alertness of the'
guards had thus far kept him outside. He had tried to bribe one or two
of the boys by offering to "whack up" if they would let him pass or give
him the countersign, so that he could get in at some other point in the
cordon. But the guards were incorruptible. They were "fresh" yet, and
had not caught on to the plan of accepting an offered chicken, a section
of succulent pig, or a few sweet potatoes, and then walking off to the
remote limit of the beat, with eyes to the front, while the forager shot
across the line in safety. They learned all about this after a while.

The raider tried to parley with Si, but Si wouldn't have it. Raising his
gun to a "ready" he ordered the man to come in or he would put a hole
through him.

The best thing to do under the circumstances was to obey. The forager,
who belonged to Si's company, crept up to Corporal Klegg and in a
conciliatory tone opened negotiations.

"You jest let me pass, and you may have your pick of this stuff," said
he, holding up a fowl in one hand and a ham in the other. "It'll be all
right, and nobody 'll ever know nothin' 'bout it!"

Si hesitated; it was human nature. The offer was a tempting one, but he
remembered his responsibility to his country, and his stomach appealed
in vain. Duty came before stewed chicken or roasted sparerib.

"Can't do it!" said Si. "You've got hold of the wrong man this time. I
ain't goin' to have nobody monkeyin' 'round while I'm Corporal of this
'ere guard. Come along with me, and step out lively, too!"

Si marched the culprit back to headquarters and delivered him up to the
officer, who commended Si for his fidelity.

Next day the ground back of the Colonel's tent was strewn with feathers,
chicken bones, ham rinds, and potato skins, while the unlucky forager
who had provided the field officers' mess with such a royal meal was
humped around for two hours on "knapsack drill," and condemned to spend
24 hours in the guard-house.

An hour later Si had another experience. The Captain of Co. Q felt a
kindly interest, and not a little pride in him, since the skirmish, and
he thought he would take a turn that night and see whether his newly-
made Corporal was "up to snuff."

"Post No. 3," was Si's second call. He responded promptly, and as he
approached the guard the latter said:

"Corporal, here's the Cap'n, and he wants to get in! He hain't got the
countersign; shall I pass him?"

"Good evening. Corporal!" said the Captain, as Si came up, at the same
time extending his hand.

Si was thrown completely off his guard. Dropping the butt of his gun
carelessly to the ground he replied cheerily, "Good evening, Cap'n,"
touching his hat by way of salute. Then he took the proffered hand,
pleased at the Captain's mark of kindly recognition. He didn't
understand the scheme then. "How are you getting on, Mr. Klegg?" "First
rate!" said Si, with the air of one conscious that he had done his duty
well. "I capchered a forager a little bit ago and took him to
headquarters!"

One of the 'non-com Mish.' 159

"Well done, Corporal I have no doubt you will honor the good name of the
200th Ind. in general and Company Q in particular, I got caught outside
to night, and I want to get back into camp. Of course, you know me and
it's all right!"

"Certainly, sir!" said Si, as he stood leaning on his gun and allowed
the officer to pass the magic line. "Good night, Cap'n!"

"Good night, Corporal! By the way," said the Captain, retracing his
steps, "I notice that you do not carry your gun just right. Let me show
you how to handle it!"

Si didn't know what a flagrant offense it was for a soldier on guard to
let his gun go out of his hands; nor had he the faintest suspicion that
the Captain was playing it on him. So he promptly handed his picee to
the Captain, who immediately brought it down to a "charge," with the
bayonet at Si's breast.

"Suppose, now, I was a rebel in disguise," said the Captain, "what kind
of a fix would you be in?"

Light began to dawn upon Si, and he started back in terror at the
thought of the mistake he had made.

"Of course, I wouldn't let anybody else have it," he stammered; "but I
knew you, Cap'n!"

"That makes no difference to a man on duty. Corporal. You hang on to
your gun the rest of the night, and if anybody\x97I don't care if it's Gen.
Buell himself\x97insists on your giving it to him, let him have two or
three inches of the point of your bayonet. Don't let anybody pass
without the countersign, either! Come to my quarters when you are
relieved tomorrow."

All this illustrates the way the officers had of testing new soldiers
and teaching them a thing or two, when, as was frequently the case, they
were not yet up to the mark. A trick of extra duty for the hapless
novitiate was generally the penance for his simplicity.

The cold chills ran up and down Si's back as he took his gun and slowly
returned to the guard fire. He felt that he had utterly spoiled his good
record.

"Lieutenant," he said to the officer, "I wish you'd please detail a man
to kick me for about an hour."

The Lieutenant wanted to know what the matter was, and Si told him all
about it, ending with:

"So now I s'pose the Cap'n 'll yank the stripes off'n my blouse!"

The officer quieted his fears by assuring him that there was no cause
for alarm. The Captain knew that he was trying to do his duty, and what
he had done was for Si's own good.

Si sat down by the fire and was thinking it over when there was another
call, "Corporal of the guard!" He was soon at the point indicated and
found two officers on horseback, whom he recognized as the Colonel and
Adjutant of the 200th Ind. Si's friend Shorty was the guard who had
halted them.

"Now, Corporal Klegg," said Si to himself, laying his finger alongside
his nose, "you jist watch out this time. Here's big game! Shouldn't
wonder if them ossifers had bin out skylarkin', and they're tryin' to
git in. Don't ye let 'em fool ye as the Cap'n did!"

Si was right in his surmise. The Colonel and Adjutant had been enjoying
a good supper at a house half a mile away, and had not the slightest
idea what the countersign was.

Si was determined not to "get left" this time. As he approached, the
Colonel saw that it was soldier he had commended for his gallantry at
the time of the skirmish.

"Ah, Corporal Klegg, I'm glad to see you so prompt in your duty. I was
sure we had made no mistake when we promoted you. Of course, you can see
who I am. I'm your Colonel, and this is the Adjutant. We are,
unfortunately, outside without the countersign; but you can just let us
through."

The Colonel's taffy had no effect on Si. He just brought himself into a
hostile attitude, with his bayonet in fair range of the Colonel, as he
replied:

"Colonel, my orders is to pass no livin' man unless he says 'Bunker
Hill.' I'd be glad to do ye a good turn, but there's no use talkin'. I'm
goin' to obey orders, and ye can't pass here."

'not 'less Ye Say 'bunker Hill.'' 155

The Colonel chuckled softly as he dismounted and came up to Si.

"It's all right," he said, "of course I know what the countersign is. I
was only trying you."

"Hold on there," said Si, "don't come too close. If you've got the
countersign, advance and give it. If ye ain't got it, I'll jest call the
Officer of the Guard!"

Leaning over the point of Si's bayonet the Colonel gently whispered
"Bunker Hill".

"Correct!" said Si, and bringing his gun to a shoulder, he respectfully
saluted the Colonel. The latter started to remount, but turned back as
he said:

"Just let me show you how to hold your gun. You don't\x97"

"Not if the court knows herself," said Si, again menacing the Colonel
with his bayonet. "That's bin played on me once to-night, and if anybody
does it again my name ain't Si Klegg!"

"That's right, Corporal," said the Colonel as he sprang into the saddle;
"but don't tell anybody what the countersign is again! Good night!"

"Good night. Colonel," said Si, touching his hat. As the officers rode
away Si began to think he had put his foot in it again. He was confirmed
in this opinion by seeing Shorty sit down on a log in a paroxysm of
laughter.

"You give yerself away bad this time!" said Shorty, as soon as he could
speak. "What did ye tell him the countersign for?"

"Whew-w-w-w!" observed Si, with a prolonged whistle. "Shorty," said he,
"I wish you'd take a club and see if you can't pound a little sense into
me; I don't believe I've got any!" Without another word he shouldered
his gun and returned to the guard headquarters. "Now I'm a goner, sure!"
he said to himself.

On his way he found a guard sitting by a tree, sound asleep. Carefully
taking away his gun Si awoke him, and frightened him half to death by
telling him that he would report him and he would be shot for sleeping
on post. Si finally said he wouldn't tell on him this time, but he must
never do so again, or he would be a dead man.

"Corporal of the guard!" was heard again, sometime after midnight. "If
they try any more measly tricks on me to-night somebody 'll git hurt!"
thought Si as he walked briskly along the line in response to the call.

This time it was a "contraband"\x97an old negro, who stood shivering with
terror as the guard held him at the point of the bayonet. Recalling the
unlucky adventures of the night. Si imagined that it was one of the
officers, who had blackened himself like a minstrel, and had come there
purposely to "catch him."

"Ye can't get through unless ye've got the counter sign," said he,
decisively; "and I shan't give it to ye, nuther! And ye needn't try to
show me how to hold my gun! I can handle it well enough to shoot and
punch the Bayonet!"

"Don't know what dat all means, boss," said the frightened negro; "but
fer de good Lawd's sake don't shove dat t'ing frew me. I've only bin
ober to de nex' place to a 'possum roast and I'se jist gwine home. I
didn't know dese yer ge-yards was heah!"

Si didn't propose to take any chances, and so he marched the old
contraband back and delivered him to the officer, who kept him till
morning and then suffered him to go on his way.

Once more that night Si was called, in addition to his tramps with the
"reliefs" and the "grand rounds." It was, perhaps, an hour before
daylight, and Shorty was the guard who called him. He told Si there was
something walking around in the woods, and he believed it was a rebel
trying to creep up on them. He had challenged two or three times, but
got no answer. The moon had gone down, and in the dark woods objects at
any distance could not be distinguished.

"There, d'ye hear that?" said Shorty, as there came a sound of crackling
sticks and rustling leaves.

"Halt!" exclaimed Si. "Who comes there?"

There was no response, and Si challenged again with like result.

"Shorty," said Si, "let's fire both together," and crack went their
muskets.

For a moment there was a great floundering, and then all was still. As
soon as it was light, and Shorty was relieved, he and Si went out to see
the result of their fire. To their astonishment they found the prowler
cold and stiff in death\x97they had shot a big gray mule.

They Had Shot a Mule 163

On the whole, it was a busy and interesting night for Si. He did not
lose his chevrons on account of his mistakes. But he learned something,
and the lesson was impressed upon his mind by a few kindly words of
caution and advice from the Captain of Co. Q.



CHAPTER XVII. FORAGING ON THE WAY SI HAS SOME VARIED EXPERIENCES WITH
SOUTHERN PRODUCTS.

THE long chase after Bragg from Louisville to the mountains of
southeastern Kentucky was rough on the new troops. It weeded them out
very fast, and in every town through which Buell's army passed the
buildings were turned into hospitals and filled with sick and crippled
soldiers, who had found out early that they were not physically able to
endure the hardships of an active campaign. At the end of two or three
weeks some of the new regiments were as much reduced in numbers as most
of those that went out in '61 were during their first six months.

The 200th Ind. jogged along bravely, but its ranks had suffered the
common skage. Not less than 400 of its men had fallen by the wayside,
and were taking quinine and blue-mass and rubbing arnica on their legs
all along the tortuous route.

Corporal Si Klegg and his friend Shorty proved to be "stayers." Full of
life and ambition, they were always prompt for duty and ready for a
fight or a frolic. No one was more quick than Si to offer a suffering
comrade the last drop of fresh water in his canteen or give him a lift
by carrying his gun a piece.

One day the regiment started out for an easy, comfortable day's march.
The coast was clear of rebels, and there being no excuse for crowding on
the steam, the boys were allowed to take their own gait, while the
horses of the officers and cavalry had a chance to recover their wind.

It was a warm day late in October. The nights at this time were keen and
frosty, but the sun at mid-day still showed much of his Summer vigor.
Perspiration flowed freely down the faces of those wandering
Hoosiers\x97faces that were fast assuming the color of half-tanned leather
under the influence of sunshine and storm.

Once an hour there was the customary halt, when the boys would stretch
their legs by the roadside, hitching their knapsacks up under their
heads. When the allotted time had expired the bugler blew "Fall in," the
notes of which during the next two years became so familiar to the ears
of the 200th. Later in '64, the Indiana boys mingled their voices with
the rest of Sherman's hundred thousand veterans as they sang:

"I know you are tired, but still you must go Down to Atlanta to see the
big show."

The soldiers were in good spirits. As they marched they fired jests at
one another, and laughter rippled along the line.

The only thing that troubled them was the emaciated condition of their
haversacks, with a corresponding state of affairs in their several
stomachs. The Commissary Department was thoroughly demoralized. The
supply train had failed to connect, and rations were almost exhausted.
There was no prospect that the aching void would be filled, at least, in
the regular way, until they reached a certain place, which would not be
until the following day.

Strict orders against foraging were issued almost daily under the Buell
dispensation. These were often read impressively to the new troops, who,
in their simplicity, "took it all in" as military gospel.

The 200th Ind. Was Not Without Talent in Foraging 169

The effect was somewhat depressing upon the ardor with which otherwise
they would have pursued the panting pig and the fluttering fowl, and
reveled in the orchards and potato-fields. A few irrepressible fellows
managed to get a choice meal now and then\x97just enough to show that the
200th Ind. was not without latent talent in this direction, which only
needed a little encouragement to become fruitful of results.

But these orders against foraging didn't hold the soldiers of the crop
of 1861. It was like trying to carry water in a sieve. When rations were
short, or if they wanted to vary the rather monotonous bill of fare,
they always found a way to make up any existing deficiency.

On the day in question a few hints were thrown out which resulted in a
tacit understanding that, in view of the actual need of the soldiers, if
they got a good chance to pick up something the eyes of the officers
would be closed. In fact, the officers were as hungry as the men, and
hoped to come in for a "divide."

Soon after starting in the morning a persimmon tree, well laden with
fruit, was seen in a field not far from the road. About fifty men
started for it on a run, and in five minutes it was as bare as the
barren fig tree.

The persimmon has some very marked peculiarities. It is a toothsome
fruit when well ripened by frost, but if eaten before it has reached the
point of full maturity, the effect upon one's interior is unique and
startling. The pungent juices take hold of the mouth and pucker it up in
such manner as to make even speech for a time impossible. The tongue
seems as if it were tied in a knot. If the juice be swallowed, similar
results follow all along its course. But the novice does not often get
far enough for that.

The boys soon found that the 'simmons, although they looked very
tempting, were too green to be eaten with any degree of enjoyment. So
they filled their pockets with them to pucker up the regiment.

Shorty had joined in the scramble, telling Si he would bring him a good
supply.

"Ain't them nice?" he said to Si, holding out three or four of the
greenest ones he could find. "Eat 'em; they're jest gorjus! You can't
help likin' 'em."

Si had never seen any persimmons before. They were certainly tempting to
the eye, and he thought they were sent as manna was supplied to the
children of Israel in the wilderness.

Eagerly seizing them, Si tossed one into his mouth and began to chew it
with great vigor. The persimmon got in its work at once. It took hold
with a mighty grip, wrinkling him up like the skins on scalded milk.

After sputtering vigorously a few minutes, while Shorty laughed at him.
Si managed to get his tongue untwisted.

"Yes," said he, "them things is nice\x97in a horn! 'Twouldn't take many of
'em to make a meal!"

A little farther on Si's quick eye noticed a row of beehives standing on
a bench in the yard of one of the natives. Si had a weakness for honey.

"Shorty," said he, "see them hives over there? How'd ye like to have
some honey for supper?"

Shorty "allowed" that it would be a good thing. Si stopped and waited a
few minutes until his own regiment got past, thinking his plan would be
less liable to interruption. Then he leaped over the fence, went up to
the hives, and boldly tipped one of them over, hoping he could get out a
comb or two, fill up his coffee-kettle, and effect his retreat before
the bees really found out what he was up to.

But the bees instantly rallied their forces and made a vigorous assault
upon the invader. Si saw that it would be too hot for him, and without
standing upon the order of his going he went at once, in a decidedly
panicky state of mind. The bees made the most of their opportunity,
using their "business ends" on him with great activity and zeal. They
seemed to fully' share the common feeling in the South toward the
"Yanks."

Si Beat a Retreat 171

A pretty woman, standing on the porch, had watched Si's raid from the
doorway. As he fell back in utter rout she screamed "Sarves ye right!"
and then sat down on the doorstep and laughed till she cried. She
enjoyed it as much as the bees did.

The latter took hold of Si in various places, and by the time he had
caught up with the regiment one eye was closed, and there was a big lump
on his nose, besides several more stings which the bees had judiciously
distributed about his person. It was very evident that he had been
overmatched and had come out second best in the encounter.

Corporal Klegg presented a picturesque appearance as he reached Co. Q.
The boys fairly yelled with delight.

"Whar's yer honey?" said Shorty. "Pears like ye waked up the wrong
passenger that time!"

Si laughed with the rest, rubbed salt on his stings, and plodded on,
consoling himself with the thought that his was not the only case in
which the merit of earnest effort had gone unrewarded.

Soon after noon the 200th came to a large patch of sweet potatoes. Si
and Shorty, as well as a good many of the rest, thought it would be a
good place to lay in a supply for supper, as they might not have another
So good a chance. From all parts of the column the men, by dozens dashed
into the field. In a moment there was a man at every hill, digging away
with his bayonet, and chucking the tempting tubers into his haversack.


173 (74K)

THERE WAS A MAN AT EVERY HILL

Two hours before going into camp the regiment passed a small spring,
around which a crowd of soldiers were struggling to fill their canteens.
There had been a long stretch without fresh water, and Si thought he
would supply himself.

"Gimme your canteen, too, Shorty, and I'll fill it!" he said.

"Here, Si, you're a bully boy, take mine!" "Mine, too!" "And mine!" said
one after another of his comrades. Si good naturedly complied and they
loaded him down with about 20 canteens.

Si Being Worked for a 'good Thing.' 175

"All right," said Si, "I'll be along with 'em full d'reckly!"

He had to wait for his turn at the spring, and by the time he had filled
all the canteens he was half an hour behind. Slinging them around his
neck he started on, with just about as big a load as he could carry.

Si forged ahead, gradually gaining a little, through the tardy movement
of the column that generally preceded going into camp. The canteen
straps chafed his shoulders, his back ached, and perspiration streamed
from every pore. The smoke of the campfires ahead told that the end of
the day's march was near. He kept on and finally came up with Co. Q just
as the 200th was stacking arms on the bank of a clear stream.

Si threw down his burdens of canteens, himself thoroughly blown and
well-nigh exhausted.

"Purty good load, wasn't it, Si?" said Shorty. "But what made ye lug all
that water in here? When ye saw they was goin' into camp ahead ye might
ha' knowed there was plenty o' water. Why in blazes didn't ye turn the
water out o' them 'ere canteens?"

"I'll be hanged if I thought o' that!" said Si, while the boys joined in
a hearty laugh.

At the command "Break ranks" there was a general scamper to engage in
the work of getting supper and preparing to spend the night with as much
comfort as possible. The members of each mess scattered in all
directions for water, rails, straw, etc., while some went out to scour
the adjacent region for edibles.

These exercises the soldiers always entered into with the heartiest
gusto, and the scene will be well remembered by all those who marched.

Si threw off his traps and dropped on the ground to rest a few minutes.
He got up presently to scratch around with the rest. As he took hold of
his haversack he was surprised at its lightness. When he laid it down it
was bulging out with sweet potatoes, and a glance showed him that these
were all gone.

"Dern my buttons!" exclaimed Si, as he forgot his weariness, and his
eyes flashed fire. "If I am a Corporal, I kin jest mash the feller that
stole my 'taters, I don't keer if he's ten foot high. Won't somebody
show 'im to me? There won't be 'nuff of 'im left to hold a fun'ral
over?"

Si pranced around in a high state of inflammation, and it is probable
that if he had found the purloiner of his provender there would have
been a harder fight than any that occurred between Buell and Bragg.

The boys winked slyly at one another, and all said it was too bad. It
was a startling case of turpitude, and Si determined to have revenge by
getting even with some other fellow, without pausing to consider the
questions of moral philosophy involved.

"Come 'long with me. Shorty!" he said to his friend, and they strode
away. Just outside the camp they came upon two members of some other new
regiment coming into camp with a fine pig slung over a pole and two or
three chickens in their hands. Shorty suggested to Si that this was a
good chance for him to even up.

"Halt, there!" shouted Si to the foragers. "We're sent out to pick up
such fellows as you!"

The effect was like a discharge from a masked battery. The men dropped
their plunder and fled in wild confusion.

"Take hold 'o that pole, Shorty!" said Si, and laying it upon their
shoulders they made a triumphant entry into camp.

There seemed to be no danger of immediate starvation in the ranks of the
200th. Each man appeared to have supplied himself during the day. On
every hand fires gleamed brightly in the gathering twilight, and around
them crowded the hungry soldiers, intent upon the simple culinary
processes incident to the evening meal.



CHAPTER XVIII. A SUNDAY OFF SI AND SHORTY GET A MUCH-NEEDED WASH-UP.

"YOU can take it easy to-day, boys, for we ain't goin' to move!" said
the Orderly of Co. Q one morning at roll-call. "The orders is for to put
the camp in nice shape, and for the men to wash up. We're goin' to have
an extra ration of soap this mornin', and you fellows want to stir
around lively and fix yerselves as if it was Sunday and ye was goin' to
meetin'. The fust thing after breakfast all hands 'll turn out and
p'leece ther camp."

"What in the world does he mean by p'leecin' the camp?" Corporal Klegg
asked Shorty, as they stood by the fire making coffee and warming up the
fragments of chicken that had been left over from supper the night
before. "I didn't c'pose," said Si, "that we 'listed to be p'leecemen!"

Shorty replied that he didn't know, but he reckoned they'd find out soon
enough. The 200th Ind. had been on the jump every day since leaving
Louisville, and this was the first time it had been called on to
"police" a camp.

As soon as breakfast was over the Orderly directed each man to provide
himself with a small bundle of sticks, made by putting together a dozen
bits of brush or "switches" three or four feet long, such as are used to
rural pedagogs to enforce discipline. These, he said, were the
implements used in policing camp, which meant brushing the leaves and
loose debris outside the grounds.

"Does Corprils have to do that sort o' thing?" asked Si. He thought army
regulations and camp usage ought to show some consideration for his
rank. "What's the use of bein' a Corporil," he said to himself, "if it
don't give a feller a chance to play off once in a while?"

"Corporals ain't no better'n anybody else," replied the Orderly, "'n'
you can jist git some brush and go to work, 'long with the rest!"

Si was disposed to grumble a little, but he obeyed orders and was soon
scratching up the leaves and dust with great zeal. He did not find it a
particularly pleasant occupation, but the camp looked so much better
when the job was done, that he thought it was not a bad thing, after
all.

"Now, Shorty," said Si, "let's go down to the creek and do our washin'.
My clothes has got to be biled, and I shouldn't wonder if yourn had,
too."

"Yes, that's a fact!" said Shorty.

They got a big camp-kettle that had been used, and would be again, for
making bean-soup, and started for the stream back of the camp. They had
no change of clothing with them. Some days before, in order to lighten
their knapsacks, they had taken out their extra shirts and drawers, tied
them in a bundle, and put them on the company wagon, and this was
somewhere back in the rear, owing to the confusion of the campaign.

"Seems to me," observed Si, "it ain't hardly a fair shake for Uncle Sam
to make us do our washin'. They ought to confiscate the niggers 'n' set
them at it; or I don't see why the Guvyment can't furnish a washin'
masheen for each comp'ny! 'Twouldn't be no more'n the square thing!"

Si Was Disposed to Grumble 181

"The wimmen does the washin', ye know, Si, up where we live," said
Shorty, "'n' I don't quite like the notion o' doin' that kind o' workt,
but I can't jest see how we're goin' to git out of it. It's got to be
done, that's sure!"

On the bank of the stream they quickly threw off their clothes for a
bath. Si cast rueful glances at his nether garments as he laid them on
the ground.

"Hadn't we better pile some rocks on 'em, Shorty?" said he. I'm affeared
if we don't they'll crawl off into the bush.

"Guess we had," replied Shorty. "I b'lieve mine's started already!"

Having made sure of them, they plunged into the water. Far up and down
the stream were hundreds of men, swimming and splashing about.

The soldiers availed themselves of every opportunity to enjoy this
luxury.

Having thoroughly performed their ablutions. Si and Shorty turned their
energies toward the clothes, which were in such sore need of soap and
hot water. Putting their garments into the kettle and filling it with
water, they built a fire under it. After half an hour of vigorous
boiling they concluded they were "done." Plenty of soap, rubbing and
rinsing finished the work, and the clothes sure presented a remarkable
appearance, particularly the blue trousers.

"How're we going to git 'em dry?" asked Si, as he wrung out the last of
his "wash."

"Hang 'em on the fence in the sun!" replied Shorty.

"But what'll we wear while they're dryin'?"

"Nothin', I reckon!"

So they spread out their garments, and then dashed again into the water.
After splashing awhile they came out and drew on their half-dried
trousers. Shorty lighted his pipe as they sat down to wait for the
sunshine to do its perfect work. All along the stream were soldiers in
similar stages of dishabille. It seemed like the Garden of Eden.

Showing the Old Man a Trick 183

"Say, Shorty," said Si, "'taint very wicked to smoke, is it?"

"Guess not!" was the reply.

"That's the way it 'pears to me, 'n' I've been kinder thinkin' lately
that I'd learn how. The soljers all seem to enjoy their smokin' so much.
You know. Shorty, that I was always a reel good boy\x97never smoked, nor
chawed terbacker, nor cussed, nor done nothin' that was out o' the
straight an' narrer way. When I jined the regiment my good old mother
says to me: 'Now, Si,' says she, 'I do hope ye'll 'member what I've
always taught ye. I've beam 'em tell that they does dretful things in
the army, and I want ye to see if ye can't be as good a boy as ye've
been at home.' Of course, I told her I would, 'n' I mean, ter stick to
it; but I don't b'lieve there's any harm in smokin'. Is it hard to
learn?"

"Wall, I dunno; I reck'n ye can't most always tell till ye try. Take a
whiff, 'nd see how she goes!" And Shorty handed him his pipe, which he
had just refilled with whittlings of black "navy plug."

"Derned if I don't try it!" said Si, as he took the pipe and began to
puff with great energy. He made a few wry faces at first, but Shorty
told him to stick to it, and he bravely pulled away while the clouds of
smoke curled above him.

It was not long till the color left his face, his head was in a whirl,
and his stomach began to manifest eruptive symptoms.

"Shorty," he gasped, "I'm awful sick. If smokin' makes a feller feel
like this I don't want any more of it in mine."

"Where's all yer sand ye brag so much about?" said Shorty, laughing.
"You're mighty poor timber for a soljer if ye can't stand a little pipe
o' terbacker like that. You'll get over it purty soon, and it won't
bother ye any next time ye try it."

Si found that he had on hand about as much as he could manage with his
dizzy head and the rebellion that was so actively going on at a point a
little lower in his physical system. The feeling wore gradually off,
however, and by the time he was able to walk their clothes were well
dried. They proceeded to "dress up," and then returned to camp.

During the afternoon the camp was visited by natives, black and white,
from the region round about, with corn "pones," alleged pies, boiled
eggs, and truck of various kinds, which they sought to dispose of for a
valuable consideration. They struck a bad crowd, however, in a financial
sense. The members of the 200th Ind. were not at this time in a
condition of opulence. Most of them had spent what money they brought
from home, and they had not been out long enough yet to receive a visit
from the Paymaster. The lank men and scrawny women cried their wares
vociferously, but with indifferent results. The boys wanted the stuff,
but they were "busted," and trade was dull.

Si looked wistfully at the "pies," and suggested to Shorty a joint
investment. Their purses were nearly empty, but the temptation was too
strong to be resisted.

"Them looks nice," said Si. They were the first pies he had seen since
leaving home, and his judgment was a little "off." As a matter of fact,
it was only by the greatest stretch of courtesy that they could be
called pies at all. But the word touched Si in a tender spot, and he
only thought of such as his mother used to make.

Si and Shorty "pooled in" and bought a pie. Impatiently whipping out his
pocket knife Si tried to cut it in two. It was hard work, for the
"crust"\x97so called\x97was as tough as the hide of a mule. By their united
efforts they at length succeeded in sawing it asunder. It was a fearful
and wonderful specimen of culinary effort. It was made of two slabs of
sodden, leathery dough, with a very feeble layer of dried apples
sandwiched between them.

Si tried his teeth on the pie, but it was like trying to chew an old
boot-leg.

"I say, old lady," said he, turning to the female of whom he had bought
it, "is these pies pegged or sewed?"

"Look a hyar, young feller," said the woman, with considerable vinegar
in her tone, "p'raps you-uns-all thinks it's right smart to insult we-
uns; it shows how yer wuz broughten up. I don't 'low yer ever seed any
nicer dog-g-goned pies 'n them is. Ye needn't try ter argify 'long 'th
me, fur I kin jest knock the spots off'n any woman there is 'round here
in cookin'."

Si saw that it would be profitless to discuss the matter, and concluded
to make the best of a bad bargain. But he wouldn't eat the pie.

On the whole, the hucksters fared rather badly. The boys confiscated
most of the stuff that was brought in, promising to pay next time they
came that way. There was a good deal of grumbling, but the trouble
always ended in the soldiers getting the plunder.

The climax was reached when a putty-faced citizen drove into camp a bony
mule tied with straps and ropes and strings to a crazy cart, on which
was a barrel of cider, which he "allowed" to sell out to the boys at 10
cents a drink, or a quarter a canteen full. He had a spigot rigged up in
one end and an old tin cup, with which he dealt out the seductive
beverage to such as would pay.

A thirsty crowd gathered around him, but sales were slow, on account of
the scarcity of money. Si and Shorty mingled with the boys, and then
drew aside and engaged in a whispered consultation.

"That'll be jest bully!" said Shorty. "If you can raise an auger
somewhere we'll git the bulge on that old chap."

Waiting for Their Clothes to Dry 187

Si returned after a brief absence, with an auger which he had borrowed
from the driver of an ammunition wagon.

"Now, Shorty," said Si, "you git the boys to stand around and keep up a
racket, and I'll crawl under the cart and bore a hole into that 'ere
barrel. Then pass in yer canteens and army kettles 'n' we'll show the
old man a trick!"

Shorty quietly broached the scheme to a few of his comrades, who fell in
with it at once. Gathering around the cart, they cheered and chattered
so as to drown any noise Si might make while carrying out his plan, and
which would "give it away."

It was not more than a minute till a gurgling sound was heard, and Si
began to pass out to the boys the buckets and canteens which they so
freely furnished him, filled with the fast-flowing contents of the
barrel. It didn't take long to empty it entirely, nor did the citizen
discover the state of affairs until the cider no longer ran from the
spigot.

He had not sold more than a gallon or two, and he was amazed when the
liquid ceased to respond. Then he resolved himself into an investigating
committee, and after a protracted search he discovered the trick that
had been played on him.

"Wall, I'll be gosh-durned!" he exclaimed. "I've hearn tell 'bout Yankee
tricks, but dog my cats if this 'ere don't beat 'em all! I'd like to cut
the gizzard outen the rascal that bored the hole in that bar'l!"

"I declare, old pard; that was mean!" said Si, who stood looking on,
with his hands in his trousers pockets, the very picture of innocence.
"I'm jist goin' to flax 'round 'n' help ye find that feller. If I was
you I'd pound the stuffin' out of him\x97when ye cotch him!"



CHAPTER XIX. A CLOSE CALL CORPORAL KLEGG HAS AN EXCITING ADVENTURE
GUARDING A FORAGE TRAIN.

"COMPANY Q's bin detailed to go out 'n' help guard a forage train to-
morrow," said the Orderly one evening at roll-call. "You fellers wants
to all be up 'n' dressed bright 'n' early, with yer cartridge-boxes full
'n' a day's rations in yer haversacks. Be sure yer guns is in good
order, fer likely's not we'll have a squirmish afore we git back."

The 200th Ind. had been lying in camp for two or three days, and the
ambitious heroes who composed that regiment were getting tired of
loafing about. Nothing chafed the raging patriotism of the new troops
like a condition, however brief, of masterly inactivity. They refused to
be comforted unless they were on the warpath all the time. Their ideal
of a soldier's life was to take a rebel battery every morning before
breakfast, storm a line of works to give them an appetite for dinner,
and spend the afternoon charging with cold steel the serried columns of
the foe and wading around through seas of gore.

So Corporal Klegg and Shorty and the rest of the boys betook themselves
with alacrity to the work of preparation for the duties of the morrow.
Members of the other companies watched the proceedings with jealous eye.
They almost turned green with envy because they were not detailed for
the expedition instead of Co. Q.

"Say, Si," remarked Shorty, thoughtfully, "hadn't we better write a
letter home? Who knows but we'll be as dead as mackerels to-morrer
night!"

"Fiddlesticks!" said Si. "What's the use o' havin' a funeral afore
there's any corpse! We've bin through one fight 'n' didn't git hurt, 'n'
I've made up my mind there's no use gittin' into a stew over a thing
that may hap'n 'n' may not. Time 'nuff to fret 'bout it when it comes. I
recolleck one thing I learned in Sunday-school\x97let's see, it was
'S'ficient unto the day is the evil thereof,' or suthin' like that.
Strikes me that's a good passidge o' Scripter fer a soldier to keep
pasted in his hat. I ain't goin' ter hang back fer fear a billit 'll hit
me, nuther. If we're going to be killed we can't help it, so let's not
fret our gizzards out!" And Si crammed a handful of hardtack into his
haversack.

Si's cheery view of the case was not without its effect upon Shorty.
Indeed, it cannot be denied that there was a great deal of common sense
in his homely, good-natured philosophy. Sooner or later every soldier
who did not "peter out" came gradually to adopt Si's idea as the
governing principle of his military career.

"Shouldn't wonder if you was 'bout right, after all," said Shorty, as he
sliced up some bacon to have it ready for an early breakfast. "You're
better'n medicine, Si, to a feller w'at gits the blues sometimes!"

The preparations were soon made, and Co. Q went to bed early. In the
morning the Orderly came around and stirred the boys up an hour before
reveille, as they were ordered to be ready to start at daylight. The
primary object of the expedition was forage for the animals, the supply
of which had run short. Besides this, each man had a secondary purpose,
and that was to gather in something on his own hook that would satisfy
his longing for a change from the regulation diet. This was always the
unwritten part of the order to "go out foraging." Daylight was just
streaking over the camp when Co. Q, equipped in light marching order,
leaving knapsacks behind, moved out to where the half dozen wagons
detailed from the regimental transportation were ready for the start.
Each regiment in the brigade furnished a company and the same number of
wagons. The impatient mules were braying and flapping their ears, as if
they understood that they were to be the chief beneficiaries of the
raid.

"Pile in, boys!" said the Orderly, and they clambered into the wagons.
The guards were permitted to ride until there were symptoms of danger.

Then the muleteers, bestriding the big "wheelers," cracked their long
whips like pistol-snots, addressed to the mules the usual words of
exhortation, and the long procession drew out upon the stony pike and
took a brisk trot. Considerable foraging had already been done in the
vicinity, and it was expected the train would have to go out several
miles in order to fully accomplish its object. The boys were in fine
spirits and enjoyed their morning ride, albeit the jolting of the wagons
gave them a thorough shaking up.

"I guess they forgot to put any springs in when they built these
wagons!" said Shorty, as he shifted his position so that he might catch
the bumps in a new place for a while.

"Jest thinkin' that way myself," replied Si; "but all the same, it beats
travelin' on the hoof all holler!"

Three or four miles out from camp the train was halted while the
officers in command made inquiries of a cadaverous native who was
sunning himself on the fence and whose principal occupation seemed to be
chewing tobacco and distributing the resultant liquid around in a
promiscuous way.

"Good morning, stranger," said the officer, "have you any corn on your
place?"

"Haint got a dog-goned ear left!" was the surly answer. "Some o' you-
unses men wuz out here yisterdy 'n' tuk every bit I hed."

This may or may not have been true. Inquiries of this nature always
developed the fact that it was a man's neighbors who had plenty of corn;
he never had any himself.

"There's ole man Scroggs," he continued; "he lives a matter of two miles
from hyar. I 'low ye'll git sum if ye go thar. He growed a power o' cawn
this yeah; he sold a heap, but I reckon he's got a right smart left."

During this time a couple of men had been making a hasty examination of
the outbuildings on the place. They reported that they could find
nothing in the way of forage. If the man had any corn he had carefully
concealed it. The train started on to pay a visit to old man Scroggs.

"Say, old pard," asked Si as his wagon drove past, "is there any rebs
'round here?"

"There wuz a few Confedrit critter-men ridin' 'bout hyar this
mawnin';\x97mebby ye'll run agin 'em 'afore night."

"How many o' your boys is among em?"

"We'uns is all Union."

"Jest as long as we're 'round, I s'pose!" said Si.

A mile further on those who were in the lead, rising to the crest of a
hill, saw\x97or thought they saw a few vagrant cavalrymen far ahead. The
train was halted and dispositions were made to meet any emergency likely
to arise. The men were ordered to "tumble out" of the wagons. The main
body was formed in advance. A line of skirmishers was deployed in front
and flankers were thrown out on either side. Thus protected, the mule
drivers again cracked their whips and the procession moved cautiously
forward.

"Now keep yer eyes skinned," said Si to Shorty as they trailed along
through the woods and fields and over fences, on one of the flanks. "If
any of them raskils comes dodgin' 'round here let's try 'n' have the
first crack at 'em 'n' git the bulge on the rest o' the boys!"

Keenly alert, with muskets loaded and capped, they crept carefully
along, poking their noses into every thicket and peering around every
building. It was clear that there would not be anything in the nature of
a surprise if the whole line was as well taken care of as the particular
point guarded by Corporal Klegg and his faithful friend Shorty.

"It's some like huntin' squirrels up in the woods of Posey County," said
Si, as they forced their way through a patch of brambles.

"'Pears to be rayther more excitin' than huntin' squirrels," said
Shorty. "Ye know squirrels doesn't shute back at a feller as them pesky
rebbles does, an' the fun 's all on one side. I reckon ef squirrels c'd
shute there wouldn't be so much huntin' of 'em!"

It was really a disappointment to Si that he found no opportunity to
squint along the barrel of his musket in range of a foe. If any of his
misguided fellow-citizens were in the neighborhood they considered
discretion the better part of valor and kept out of harm's way.

In due time the Scroggs plantation was reached. A hasty examination
showed that there was an abundance of corn on the place to load the
wagons, and arrangements for a sudden transfer of the property were
quickly made. A third of the force established a cordon of picket-posts
around the marauding party, covering all the avenues of approach, with
re serves at convenient points. The remainder of the troops stacked arms
and entered briskly upon the work of confiscation.

An Assault on the Well-filled Corn Crib 191

Part of the harvest had already been gathered, and the first assault

was made on a well-filled cornhouse\x97one of a group of dilapidated out-
buildings a little way from the dwelling. "Old man" Scroggs protested
with profane vehemence, reinforced by the "old woman" and the entire
family of children. We say "entire family," because there could not well
have been a more numerous progeny in one household anywhere outside of
Utah.

The head of the family cursed and swore, and his wife and the big girls
looked as if they wanted to do the same thing, as they stood wringing
their hands, their eyes flashing fire while the small-fry stood around
and sobbed with a vague idea that some dire calamity had befallen them.

The old Kentuckian declared that he was a "Union man," and that he would
demand of the Government full revenge for this outrage. It was noticed
that there were no young men around as there should be according to the
economy of nature, to preserve the balance of sex in so large a family.
The officer in command asked him where all his sons were.

"Wall, I kaint tell yer 'zactly whar they is," was the reply. "They
ain't to hum jest now. I 'low they've got a right to g'way ef they want
ter."

The officer had been informed that there were several representatives of
the Scroggs family in the rebel army. The old man's avowal of loyalty
was taken for what it was worth. That it was not rated at a high figure
was well attested by the appearance of the plantation a few hours later.

Meanwhile the soldiers kept right along in the duty assigned them. The
corn-house was surrounded by wagons, the roof was gently lifted off, and
in scarcely more time than it takes to tell the story six or eight of
the wagons were heaped with the contents. The mules wagged their tails
and brayed in anticipation of the picnic they would have when they got
back to camp.

Then the force moved some distance and attacked a large field of
standing corn. The stalks had been "topped," but the ears were yet
ungathered. The men started in between the rows and swept through that
field like a cyclone, plucking the ears right and left. Bags, baskets
and boxes were pressed into the service, and as there were not enough of
these to go' round many bore the corn to the wagons by armfuls. It did
not take more than two or three hours to strip every ear from the field.
A visitation of overgrown Kansas grasshoppers could not have done a more
thorough job.

"Fo' de Lawd, boss," said an old darky who had been roosting on the
fence watching the spoilers, "I nebber seed de crap gaddered so quick
since I'se bawn. You'uns all is powerful smart, da't shuah!"

But where were Corporal Klegg and his comrade. Shorty, while all this
was going on?

They had been stationed as sentinels near a house, half a mile beyond,
on the pike. They were cautioned to keep a sharp lookout, and for a time
they obeyed their instructions to the letter. Their vigilant eyes swept
the surrounding country, and no rebel could have crept up on them
without getting a pair of bullets from their ready muskets. They saw no
signs of an enemy, and after a while it began to grow monotonous.

"Shorty," said Si, "I don't b'lieve there's any seceshers in these
parts, an' there ain't any use'n us both keepin' this thing up. You jest
watch out awhile 'n' I'll skin around 'n' see what I kin find."

Shorty agreed to this, taking it as an order from his superior officer.
Si threw his gun up to a "right shoulder shift" and started off, after
again urging upon his companion the importance of attending strictly to
business.

Si had not gone far till he saw, penned in a corner of the barnyard, a
cow with a full udder, from which a frisky young calf was busily engaged
in pumping nourishment. A violent feeling of envy toward that calf began
immediately to rage in the 'breast of Si. He had not had a draft of
fresh milk since he had left home, and he felt that a little refreshment
of that kind would be particularly gratifying to his interior organism.
It would strengthen him and give him new courage to stand up to the rack
if they should happen to get into a fight.

"I say. Shorty," he called, "cum 'ere a minnit, quick!"

Si's conscience smote him for calling Shorty from his duty and leaving
the post unguarded, but the temptation was too strong for him to resist,
and he yielded to the impulse to take the chances. Shorty came on the
run, with eyes wide open, thinking his comrade had discovered some
rebels hanging around.

"Look there!" said Si, pointing to the maternal scene that has been
alluded to. "Let's have some o' that. We'll git over the fence 'n' you
jest hold the calf while I milk our canteens full. 'Twont take more'n a
jiffy!"

"We ort n't to leave the post, ort we?" suggested Shorty.

"Oh, there ain't no danger," Si replied; "an' besides, you can keep
lookin' out while you're hangin' on to the calf. I was alters a good
milker 'n' I'll fill up these canteens in a couple o' minnits." So they
climbed over and leaned their muskets against the fence. Shorty seized
the calf and held it with a firm grip, in spite of its struggling and
bleating. The cow seemed disposed at first to resent the interference,
but Si's persuasive "So, bossy" proved effectual in calming her fears,
and she stood placidly chewing her cud while Si, spurred on by a guilty
conscience, milked with all his might.

Shorty Held the Calf 195

The canteens were soon filled, and, with out stopping to drink. Si and
Shorty hurried back to their post of duty. All was quiet, and no harm
had resulted from their brief absence.

"I told ye 'twould be all right," said Si. "Now, we'll jest empty one o'
these canteens\x97here, take a swig\x97'n' we'll carry the other to camp.
It'll be jest bully to have milk in our coffee agin!"

Then they betook themselves to duty with redoubled vigilance, to atone
for their derelictions. After watching for an hour without seeing
anything, Si said he would take another little turn around the place.

Boldly advancing to the house, which was some distance in front of their
post, he was met by a girl of about 18. She was rather pretty, but to
Si's ardent imagination she was like a vision of surpassing loveliness.
She greeted him pleasantly\x97for Si was a comely youth\x97and, if the truth
must be told, he actually forgot for the moment all about his duty. When
she said she would get him a good dinner, and invited him into the house
to sit while she prepared it, he just went right along.

But his conscience began to thump so loudly that after a few minutes he
told her he guessed he'd have to go, but would be delighted to return in
an hour and partake of her hospitality.

"May I bring Shorty\x97he's my pard\x97'long with me?" he timidly asked.

"Certainly!" she replied, with a sweet smile; and Si went away, his
nerves tingling with pleasant emotions to the very tips of his fingers.

"Shorty," he said, as he came up to "I've struck it this time. Over to
that house there's the purtiest gal I ever see."

"Wha-a-a-a-t!" interjected Shorty, with a look of astonishment; for he
knew something about Si and Annabel\x97the girl he left behind him\x97and he
was both surprised and pained at Si's treasonable enthusiasm.

Si easily divined his thoughts, for something of the same nature had
already caused his own heart to palpitate in a reproving way.

"Of\x97c-c-course\x97I d-d-don't\x97mean th-th-that. Shorty," he stammered "but
she's a nice girl, anyhow, 'n' she's gittin' up a dinner fer me 'n' you.
Bet ye it'll be a nice lay-out, too!"

Shorty did not feel quite at ease in his mind about leaving the post
again, but Si assured him it would be all right. The peculiar
circumstances of the case had sadly warped Si's judgment.

So they went to the house and were cordially greeted by their fair young
hostess, who was flying around, putting the finishing touches to the
meal she had prepared for them.

"Jiminy, don't that smell good?" said Si to Shorty in an undertone, as
his sensitive nostrils caught the savory odors that arose from the
nicely-spread board.

The young soldiers stood their guns on the floor in a corner of the
room, preliminary to an assault on the edibles.

"Ugh!" exclaimed the young woman, with a coquettish shiver, "be them
awful things loaded?"

"N\x97no!" said Si; "they won't hurt ye if ye don't touch 'em!"

Si was learning to fib a little, and he wanted to quiet the girl's
fears.

The boys were soon seated at the table, bountifully supplied with ham,
chicken, eggs, bread and butter, honey, and all the accessories of a
well-ordered repast. They fell to with an eagerness that was, perhaps,
justified by the long time that had elapsed since they had had a "square
meal." Si thought that never in his life had anything tasted so good.

While they were thus engaged, without a thought of impending danger, the
girl suddenly opened the door, leading to the dining room. A wild-eyed
man\x97who proved to be her brother\x97in the uniform of a rebel soldier,
dashed in, and, presenting a cocked revolver, demanded their
unconditional and immediate surrender.

They were in a tight place. But Si proved equal to the sudden and
appalling emergency. It flashed through his mind in an instant how the
girl had "played it" on him. He made up his mind that he would rather be
shot than be captured under such circumstances.

Si Sprang Upon Him 199

Si sprang up, and the rebel, true to his word, fired. Si dodged, and the
ball only chipped a piece from his left ear. There was not time to get
and use his gun. With the quickness of a cat Si sprang upon him, and
with a blow of his fist laid him sprawling upon the floor. Disarming
him, he placed the revolver at his head and triumphantly exclaimed:

"Now, gol durn ye, you're my prisoner. I'd like to blow the top o' yer
head off fer spilin' my dinner, but I won't do it this time. But you
jist git up 'n' come 'long with me!"

With his complete mastery of the situation, Si's confidence returned,
and Shorty, who had been dazed and helpless at first, recovered himself
and came to his assistance.

But at this instant their ears caught the sound of horses' hoofs
galloping down the pike. Si's quick perception told him that is was a
dash of rebel cavalrymen, and that a few moments later escape would be
impossible.

"Grab yer gun an' git!" he said to Shorty, at the same time casting one
ferocious glance at the terrified girl, who stood, white and speechless,
contemplating the scene.

Si and Shorty dashed out of the house and started for the reserve, at
the highest speed of which their legs were capable. On clattered the
horses, and a few shots from the carbines of the swift-riding horsemen
whistled through the air.

Six feet at a jump, with thumping hearts and bulging eyes, the fugitives
almost flew over the ground, throwing quick glances at their pursuers,
and then ahead, in the hope of catching a glimpse of succor.

'shorty if We--only Git--out O' This--' 203

"Shorty, if we only git out o' this\x97" but Si found he hadn't any wind to
spare to finish the sentence. We must leave to the reader's imagination
the good resolutions as to his future conduct that were forming in Si's
mind at this critical juncture. He saw the awful consequences of
yielding to the influence of that alluring young woman and her seductive
dinner. What he had read about Adam and the trouble Eve got him into, in
pretty much the same way, flashed before him. It was a good time to
resolve that he wouldn't do so any more.

Shorty, long and lank, was swifter on his feet than Si. Hardtack and
bacon had not yet reduced the latter's surplus flesh to a degree that
enabled him to run well. Shorty kept ahead, but would not desert his
comrade, slowing up for an instant now and then to give Si, who was
straining to the utmost every nerve, and puffing like a locomotive on an
upgrade, a chance to keep within supporting distance.

The soldiers of the reserve taking the alarm, came out at a double-quick
and were fortunately able to cover the retreat of Si and Shorty. The
half dozen cavalrymen, upon the appearance of so large a force, turned
their horses and galloped away.

"Hello, Si," said the Orderly of Co. Q, "yer ear's bleedin'. What hurt
ye?"

"Fell down and scratched it on a brier!" said Si, as soon as he was able
to speak.

That night Si and Shorty sat on a log by the campfire talking over the
events of the day.

"Don't ye never blow on this thing," said Si. "It'll be a cold day for
us if they'd find it out."

"There ain't no danger o' my tellin'," replied Shorty. "But, say, ain't
that a nice girl out there?"

"She's a mean rebel, that's what she is! But that was a smart trick o'
her'n, wasn't it?"

"Come mighty near bein' too smart fer us!" replied Shorty. "I don't want
no more such close shaves in mine. You 'member the story of the spider
and the fly, don't ye? Well, she was the spider 'n' we was two poor
little fool flies!"

"Shorty," said Si, "I'd a mighty sight ruther be an angel an' have the
daisies a-bloomin' over my grave, than to have been tuk a prisoner in
that house. But that dinner was good, anyhow\x97what we got of it!"



CHAPTER XX. "THE SWEET SABBATH" HOW THE BLESSED DAY OF REST WAS SPENT IN
THE ARMY.

"TOMORROW'S Sunday, ye know," said the Orderly of Company Q one Saturday
night at roll-call.

This was in the nature of news to the boys. But for the announcement
very few of them would have known it. The Orderly was not distinguished
for his piety, and it is not likely that the approach of Sunday would
have occurred to him if the Sergeant-Major had not come around with
orders from the Colonel for a proper observance of the day. The Colonel
himself would not have thought of it either, if the Chaplain had not
reminded him of it. Everybody wondered how even the Chaplain could keep
track of the days well enough to know when Sunday came\x97but that was
chiefly what he wore shoulder-straps and drew his salary for. It was the
general impression that he either carried an almanac in his pocket, or
else a stick in which he cut a notch every day with his jack-knife, and
in that way managed to know when a new week began.

"There'll be guard-mountin' at 9 o'clock," continued the Orderly,
"regimental inspection at 10, preachin' at 11, an' dress-parade at 5 in
the evenin'. All of ye wants to tumble out right promptly at revellee
an' git yer breakfast, an' then clean up yer guns an' put all yer traps
in apple-pie order, 'cause the Colonel's goin' to look at 'em. He's got
sharp eyes, an' I reck'n he'll be mighty pertickler. If there's anything
that ain't jest right he'll see it quicker'n litenin'. Ye know we hain't
had any inspections yet, an' the Cap'n wants us to be the boss company.
So ye've got to scratch around lively in the mornin'."

"Say," said Corporal Klegg, after the company had broken ranks, "seems
to me there wa'n't no use in the Orderly tellin' us to 'scratch around,'
fer we're doin' that purty much all the time, now that the graybacks is
gittin' in their work on us."

Shorty smiled faintly at what he seemed to consider a rather feeble
joke, even for Si.

The 200th Ind. had now been in the field for many weeks, but it had been
continually cantering about the country, and the Generals had kept it
particularly active on Sundays. Probably this regiment did not manifest
any more than the average degree of enthusiasm and fervor in religious
matters, but there were many in its ranks who, at home, had always sat
under Gospel ministrations, and to tramp on Sundays, the same as other
days, was, at first, a rude shock to their moral sensibilities. These
were yet keen, the edges had not been worn off and blunted and battered
by the hard knocks of army life. True, they could scarcely tell when
Sunday came, but they knew that they kept right along every day.

"Shorty," said Si, after they had curled up under the blanket for the
night, "'pears to me it'll seem sort o' nice to keep Sunday agin. At the
rate we've bin goin' on we'll all be heathens by the time we git home\x97if
we ever do. Our Chaplain haint had no chance to preachify yet. The boys
of Comp'ny X, w'at knows him, says he's a staver, 'n' I b'lieve it'll
make us all feel better to have him talk to us once. 'Twont do us no
harm, nohow, I'd like to be home to-morrer 'n' go to church with mother,
'n' sister Marier, 'n'\x97er\x97I mean the rest of the folks. Then I'd jest
eat all the afternoon. I ain't goin' ter git homesick, Shorty; but a
feller can't help feelin' a little streaked once 'n' a while. Mebbe it's
a good idee fer 'em to keep us on the jump, fer then we don't git no
chance to think 'bout it. I don't suppose I'm the only boy 'n the
regiment that 'd be glad to git a jest fer to-morrer. I sh'd want ter be
back bright 'n' arly to fall in Monday mornin', fer I'm goin' to stick
to the 200th through thick 'n' thin, if I don't git knocked out. Say,
Shorty, how d'ye feel, any way?"

But Shorty was already fast asleep. Si spooned up to him and was soon,
in his dreams, away up in Posey County.

The sound of the bugle and drum, at daylight, fell upon unwilling ears,
for the soldiers felt the same indisposition to get up early Sunday
morning that is everywhere One of the characteristics of modern
civilization. Their beds were hard, but to their weary limbs no couch of
down ever gave more welcome rest than did the rough ground on which they
lay. But the wild yell of the Orderly, "Turn out for roll-call!" with
the thought of the penalties for non-obedience\x97which some of them had
abundant reason to remember\x97quickly brought out the laggards.

Si and Shorty were, as usual, among the first to take their places in
line. They were pleasantly greeted by the Captain, who had come out on
the run at the last moment, and wriggled himself into his coat as he
strode along the company street. The Captain did not very often appear
at morning rollcall. But one officer of the company was required to be
present, and the Captain generally loaded this duty upon the Lieutenants
"turn about." If he did show up, he would go back to bed and snooze for
an hour while the cook was getting breakfast. If one of the men did that
he would soon be promenading with a rail on his shoulder or standing on
a barrel with a stick or a bayonet tied in his mouth.

"I think that's a fust rate notion to mount the guards," said Si to
Shorty as they sat on a rail by the fire making coffee and frying bacon.
"It'll be so much better 'n walkin' back 'n' forrard on the beats.
Wonder 'f they'll give us bosses or mules to ride."

"I'd like to know what put that idee into yer head," said Shorty.

"Whydn't the Ord'ly say last night there 'd be guard-mountin' at 9
o'clock this mornin'? I s'posed that fer a man to be mounted meant
straddlin' a boss or s'mother kind of an animal."

"Ain't ye never goin' to larn nuthin'," said Shorty, with a laugh.
"Guard-mountin' don't mean fer the men to git on hosses. It's only the
name they gives it in the Army Reggelations. Dunno why they calls it
that, 'nless it's 'cause the guards has to 'mount' anybody that tries to
pass 'thout the countersign. But don't ye fool yerself with thinkin' yer
goin' to get to ride. We'll keep pluggin' along afoot, on guard or
anywhere else, same's we have all the time."

Thus rudely was shattered another of Si Klegg's bright illusions.

The whole regiment turned out to witness the ceremony of guard-mounting.
It was the first time the exigencies of the campaign had permitted the
200th Ind. to do this in regular style. The Adjutant was the most
important personage, and stood so straight that he narrowly escaped
falling over backward. In order to guard against making a mess of it, he
had spent half the night rehearsing the various commands in his tent.
Thus prepared, he managed to get through it in very fair shape.

So Straight he Leaned Backward 211

The next thing on the program for the day was the inspection. The boys
had been industriously engaged in cleaning up their muskets and
accouterments, and putting their scanty wardrobes in presentable
condition. In arranging his knapsack for the Colonel's eye, each man
carefully laid a clean shirt, if he had one, on the top. The garments
that were not clean he either stowed away in the tent or put at the
bottom of the knapsack. In this he was actuated by the same principle
that prompts the thrifty farmer to put the biggest apples and
strawberries at the top of his measure.

The clothing of the regiment was already in an advanced stage of
demoralization. It was of the "shoddy" sort that a good hard wind would
almost blow to pieces.

Corporal Klegg was anxious that not only his person, but all his
belongings, should make as good an appearance as possible. He put on the
best and cleanest garments he had, and then betook himself to fixing his
knapsack so it would pass muster.

"Them duds is a bad lot," he said to Shorty, casting rueful glances at
the little heap of soiled and ragged clothes. "Purty hard to make a
decent show with them things."

"Wait a minute," said Shorty, "an' I'll show ye a little trick."

Taking his poncho under His arm. Shorty went to the rear of the camp,
where the mules were feeding, and presently returned with a bunch of
hay.

"What ye goin' to do with that?" asked Si.

"You jest do 's I tell ye, and don't ask no questions. Cram some o' this
hay into yer knapsack 'n' fill 'er up 'n' then put a shirt or suthin',
the best ye kin find, on top, 'n' the Colonel 'll think she's full o'
clothes right from the laundry. I'm goin' to fix mine that way."

"Shorty, you're a trump!" said Si, approvingly. "That 'll be a bully
scheme."

It required but a few minutes to carry out the plan. The hay was stuffed
into the knapsack, and all vagrant spears were carefully tucked in.

Then a garment, folded so as to conceal its worst features, was nicely
spread over the hay, the flaps were closed and buckled, and the young
Hoosiers were ready for inspection.

"S'posen the Colonel sh'd take a notion to go pokin' down into them
knapsacks," said Si; "don't ye think it'd be purty cold weather for us?"

"P'r'aps it mout," answered Shorty; "but we've got ter take the chances.
He's got seven or eight hundred knapsacks to 'nspect, 'n' I don't
b'lieve he'll stick his nose down into very many on 'em!"

At the appointed time the battalion was formed and the inspection was
gone through with in good style. The Colonel and the field and staff
officers, escorted by the Captain of each successive company, moved
gradually between the ranks, their swords dangling around and getting
mixed up with their legs. The soldiers stood facing inward like so many
wooden men, with their open knapsacks lying upon the ground at their
feet. The Colonel looked sharply right and left, stopped now and then to
commend a soldier whose "straps" were in particularly good condition, or
to "go for" another whose slouchy appearance betokened untidy habits. If
a button was missing, or a shoe untied, his eye was keen to detect it,
and a word of reproof was administered to the delinquent.

As the Colonel started down the line of Company Q Si watched him out of
the corners of his eyes with no little anxiety. His heart thumped as he
saw him occasionally stoop and fumble over the contents of a knapsack,
evidently to test the truth of Longfellow's declaration that "things are
not what they seem." What if the Colonel should go down into the bowels
of Si's knapsack! Si fairly shuddered at the thought.

Si, being the shortest of the Corporals, was at the foot of the company,
while Shorty, on account of his hight, was well up toward the head. Si
almost fainted when he saw the Colonel stop in front of his "pard" and
make an examination of his fatlooking knapsack. Military official
dignity gave way when the removal of the single garment exposed the
stuffing of hay. The officers burst into a laugh at the unexpected
revelation, while the boys on either side almost exploded in their
enjoyment of Shorty's discomfiture.

Si Almost Fainted when the Colonel Stopped 215

"Captain," said the Colonel, with as much sternness as he could command,
"as soon as your company is dismissed detail a guard to take charge of
this man. Have him take the hay out of his knapsack and fill it with
stones\x97and see that it is filled full. Have this man put it on and march
him up and down the company street till church-call, and then take him
to hear the Chaplain. He needs to be preached to. Perhaps, between the
knapsack-drill and the Chaplain, we can straight him out."

Corporal Klegg heard all this, and he wished the ground might open and
swallow him. "These stripes is gone this time, sure!" he said to
himself, as he looked at the chevrons on his arm. "But there's no use
givin' yourself away, Si. Brace up, 'n' mebbe the Colonel 'll skip ye."

Si had been badly shaken up by the Colonel's episode with Shorty, but by
a great effort he gathered himself together and was at his best,
externally, when the Colonel reached him, though his thoughts were in a
raging condition. His face was clean and rosy, and his general make-up
was as good as could be expected under the circumstances.

The Colonel had always remembered Si as the soldier he had promoted to
be a Corporal for his gallantry in the little skirmish a few days
before. As he came up he greeted the Corporal with a smile and a nod of
recognition. He was evidently pleased at his tidy appearance. He cast a
glance at the voluptuous knapsack, and Si's heart seemed to sink away
down into his shoes.

But the fates smiled on Si that day. The Colonel turned to the Captain
and told him that Corporal Klegg was the model soldier of Company Q. Si
was the happiest man in the universe at that precise moment. It was not
on account of the compliment the Colonel had paid him, but because his
knapsack had escaped a critical inspection of its contents.

The inspection over, Company Q marched back to its quarters and was
dismissed. Poor Shorty was soon tramping to and fro, under guard,
humping his back to ease the load that had been put upon it. Si was very
sorry for him, and at the same time felt a glow of pleasure at the
thought that it was not his own knapsack instead of Shorty's that the
Colonel had examined. He could not help feeling, too, that it was a
great joke on Shorty to be caught in his own trap.

Shorty Was There--with a Guard 217

Shorty took his medicine like a man, marching up and down the row of
tents bravely and patiently, unheeding the gibes and jeers of his hard-
hearted comrades.

The bugle sounded the call for religious services. Shorty was not in a
frame of mind that fitted him for devout worship. In fact, few in the
regiment had greater need of the regenerating influence. He had never
been inside of a church but two or three times in his life, and he
really felt that to be compelled to go and listen to the Chaplain's
sermon was the hardest part of the double punishment the Colonel had
inflicted upon him.

The companies were all marched to a wooded knoll just outside the camp.
Shorty went by himself, save the companionship of the guard, with fixed
bayonet. He had been permitted to leave his knapsack behind. He was
taken to a point near the Chaplain, that he might get the full benefit
of the preacher's words.

Under the spreading trees, whose foliage was brilliant with the hues of
Autumn, in the mellow sunshine of that October day the men seated
themselves upon the ground to hear the Gospel preached. The Chaplain, in
his best uniform, stood and prayed fervently for Divine guidance and
protection and blessing, while the soldiers listened, with heads
reverently bowed. Then he gave out the familiar Methodist hymn,

"Am I a soldier of the cross,"

and all joined in the old tune "Balerma," their voices swelling in
mighty chorus. As they sang,

"Are there no foes for me to face?"

there came to the minds of many a practical application of the words, in
view of the long and fruitless chase after the rebels in which they had
been engaged for nearly a month.

The Chaplain had formerly been an old-fashioned Methodist circuit-rider
in Indiana. He was full of fiery zeal, and portrayed the terrors of
eternal punishment so vividly that His hearers could almost feel the
heat of the flame and smell the fumes of brimstone that are popularly
believed to roll out unceasingly from the mouth of the bottomless pit.
It ought to have had a salutary effect upon Shorty, but it is greatly to
be feared that he steeled his stubborn heart against all that the
Chaplain said.

It was always difficult not to feel that there was something
contradictory and anomalous about religious services in the army. Grim-
visaged, hideous war, and all its attendant circumstances, seemed so
utterly at variance with the principles of the Bible and the teachings
of Him who was meek and lowly, that few soldiers had philosophy enough
to reconcile them.

The soldiers spent the afternoon in reading what few stray books and
fugitive, well-worn newspapers there were in camp, mending their
clothes, sleeping, and some of them, we are pained to add, in playing
eucher, old sledge, and other sinful games. Dress parade closed the day
that had brought welcome rest to the way-worn soldiers of the 200th
Ind..

"Shorty," said Si, after they had gone to bed that night, "I sh'd be
mighty sorry if I'd ha' got up that knapsack trick this mornin', 'cause
you got left on it so bad."

"There's a good many things," replied Shorty, "that's all right when ye
don't git ketched. It worked tip top with you, Si, 'n' I'm glad of it.
But I put ye up to it, 'n' I shouldn't never got over it if the Colonel
had caught ye, on account of them stripes on yer arm. He'd ha' snatched
'em baldheaded, sure's yer born. You're my pard, 'n' I'm jest as proud
of 'em as you be yerself. I'm only a privit,' 'n' they can't rejuce me
any lower! Besides, I 'low it sarved me right 'n' I don't keer fer the
knapsack drill, so I didn't git you into a scrape."



CHAPTER XXI. SI AND SHORTY WERE RAPIDLY LEARNING THE GREAT MILITARY
TRUTH

THAT IN THE ARMY THE MOST LIKELY THING TO HAPPEN IS SOMETHING ENTIRELY
UNLIKELY.

COL. TERRENCE P. McTARNAGHAN, as his name would indicate, had first
opened his eyes where the blue heavens bend over the evergreen sod of
Ireland. Naturally, therefore, he thought himself a born soldier, and
this conviction had been confirmed by a year's service as Second
Lieutenant of Volunteers in the Mexican War, and subsequent connection
with the Indiana Militia. Being an Irishman, when he went in for
anything, and especially soldiering, he went in with all his might. He
had associated with Regular Army officers whenever there was an
opportunity, and he looked up to them with the reverence and emulation
that an amateur gives to a professional. Naturally he shared their idea
that an inspection and parade was the summit of military art.
Consequently, the main thing to make the 200th Ind. the regiment it
should be were frequent and rigid inspections.

Fine weather, two days of idleness, and the prospect that the regiment
would remain there some time watching the crossing of the Cumberland
were enough and more than enough to set the Colonel going. The Adjutant
published the following order:

Headquarters 200th Indiana, In the Field, on the Cumberland,

Nov. 25, 1862.

I. The Regiment will be paraded for inspection tomorrow afternoon at 4
o'clock.

II. Captains will be expected to parade the full strength of their
companies.

III. A half hour before the parade. Captains will form their companies
in the company streets and inspect every man.

IV. The men will be required to have their clothes neatly brushed,
blouses buttoned up, clean underclothes, shoes blacked, letters and
numbers polished, and arms and accouterments in best condition. They
will wear white gloves.

V. The man who has his clothes, arms and accouterments in the best order
will be selected for the Colonel's Orderly.

By command of

Attest: COL. TERRENCE P. McTARNAGHAN, Colonel.

B. B. LAUGHLIN, Adjutant.

When Capt. McGillicuddy marched Co. Q back to its street, he called
attention to the order with a few terse admonitions as to what it meant
to every one.

"Get at this as soon as you break ranks, boys," urged the Captain. "You
can do a whole lot between now and tattoo. The others will, and you must
not let them get ahead of you. No straw in knapsacks this time."

Company spirit was high, and it would be little short of a calamity to
have Co. Q beaten in anything.

There was a rush to the Sutler for white gloves, blacking, needles,
thread, paper collars, sweet oil and rotten stone for the guns.

That genial bird of prey added 50 per cent to his prices, because it was
the first business he had done for some weeks; 50 per cent more for
keeping open in the evening, another 50 per cent for giving credit till
pay day, and still another for good will.

The Government had just offered some very tempting gold-interest bonds,
of which he wanted a swad.

"'Tain't right to let them green boys have their hull $13 a month to
waste in foolishness," he said. "Some good man should gather it up and
make a right use of it."

Like Indiana farmer boys of his class. Si Klegg was cleanly but not
neat. Thanks to his mother and sisters, his Sunday clothes were always
"respectable," and he put on a few extra touches when he expected to
meet Annabel. He took his first bath for the year in the Wabash a week
or two after the suckers began to run, and his last just before the
water got so cold as to make the fish bite freely.

Such a thing as a "dandy" was particularly distasteful to him.

"Shorty," said Si, as he watched some of the boys laboring with
sandpaper, rotten stone and oil to make the gunbarrels shine like
silver, "what's the cense o' bein' so partickler about the outside of a
gun? The business part's inside. Making them screw heads look like beads
don't make it no surer of gitting Mr. Butternut."

"Trouble about you folks on the Wabash," answered Shorty, as he twisted
a screw head against some emery paper, "is that you don't pay enough
attention to style. Style goes a long ways in this vain and wicked
world," (and his eyes became as if meditating on worlds he had known
which were not so vain and wicked), "and when I see them Kokomo
persimmon knockers of Co. B hustling to put on frills, I'm going to beat
'em if I don't lay up a cent."

"Same here," said Si, falling to work on his gunbarrel. "Just as' nice
people moved into Posey County as squatted in Kokomo. Gang o' hoss
thieves first settled Howard County."

"Recollect that big two fister from Kokomo who said he'd knock your head
off if you ever throwed that up to him again?" grinned Shorty. "You
invited him to try it on, an' he said your stripes stopped him. You
pulled off your blouse, and you said you had no stripes on your shirt
sleeves. But I wouldn't say it again until those Co. B fellers try again
to buck us out of our place in the ration line. It's too good a slam to
waste."

Tattoo sounded before they had finished their guns and accouterments.
These were laid aside to be completed in the full light of day.

The next morning work was resumed with industry stimulated by reports of
the unusual things being done by the other companies.

"This Tennessee mud sticks closer'n a $500 mortgage to a 40-acre tract,"
sighed Si, as he stopped beating and brushing his blouse and pantaloons.

"Or, "'Aunt Jemima's plaster, "The more you try to pull it off the more
it sticks the faster."

hummed Shorty, with what breath he had left from his violent exercise.

So well did they work that by dinner time they felt ready for
inspection, careful reconnoissances of the other companies showing them
to have no advantages.

Next to the Sutler's for the prescribed white gloves.

Si' had never worn anything on his hands but warm, woolen mittens knit
for him by his mother, but the order said white gloves, and gloves they
must have. The accommodating sutler made another stoppage in their
month's pay of $1 for a pair of cheap, white cotton gloves. By this time
the sutler had accumulated enough from the 200th Ind. to secure quite a
handful of gold interest-bearing bonds.

"Well, what do you think of them. Si?" said Shorty, as he worked his
generous hands into a pair of the largest sized gloves and held them up
to view.

"If they were only painted yaller and had a label on them," said Si,
"they could be issued for Cincinnati canvas covered hams."

Shorty's retort was checked by hearing the bugle sound the officers'
call. The Colonel announced to them that owing to the threatening look
of the skies the parade and inspection would take place in an hour.

There was feverish haste to finish undone things, but when Capt.
McGillicuddy looked over his men in the company street, he declared
himself proud to stack up Co. Q against any other in the regiment. Gun
barrels and bayonets shone like silver, rammers rang clear, and came out
without a stain to the Captain's white gloves.

The band on the parade ground struck up the rollicking

"O, ain't I glad to git out of the wilderness, Out of the wilderness-Out
of the wilderness,"

and Capt. McGillicuddy marched proudly out at the head of 75 broad-
shouldered, well-thewed young Indianians, fit and fine as any south of
the Ohio.

The guides, holding their muskets butts up, indicated where the line was
to form, the trim little Adjutant, glorious as the day in a new uniform
and full breasted as a pouter-pigeon, was strutting over toward the
band, and the towering red-headed Colonel, martial from his waving plume
to his jangling spurs, stood before his tent in massive dignity, waiting
for the color company to come up and receive the precious regimental
standard.

This scene of orderly pomp and pageantry was rudely disturbed by an Aid
dashing in on a sweating horse, and calling out to the statuesque
commander:

"Colonel, a train is stalled in the creek about three miles from here,
and is threatened with capture by Morgan's cavalry. The General presents
his compliments, and directs that you take your regiment on the double-
quick to the assistance of the train. You v'e not a moment lose."

"Tare and 'ounds!" swore the Colonel in the classic he used when
excited, "am I niver to have a dacint inspection? Orderly, bring me me
harse. Stop that band's ijiotic blatting. Get into line there, quick as
love will let you, you unblessed Indiana spalpeans. Without doubling;
right face! Forward, M-a-r-c-h!"

Col. McTarnaghan, still wearing his parade grandeur, was soon at the
head of the column, on that long-striding horse which always set such a
hot pace for the regiment; especially over such a rough, gullied road as
they were now traveling.

Still, the progress was not fast enough to suit the impatient Colonel,
who had an eye to the report he would have to make to the Brigadier
General, who was a Regular.

"Capt. McGillicuddy," commanded he, turning in his saddle, "send forward
a Corporal and five men for an advance guard."

"Corporal Klegg, take five men and go to the front," commanded the
Captain.

"Now you b'yes, get ahead as fast as you can. Get a move on them durty
spalpanes of tamesters. We must get back to camp before this storm
strikes us. Shove out, now, as if the divil or Jahn Morgan was after
yez."

It was awful double-quicking over that rocky, rutty road, but taking
Shorty and four others. Si went on the keen jump to arrive hot and
breathless on the banks of the creek. There he found a large bearded man
wearing an officer's slouched hat sitting on a log, smoking a black
pipe, and gazing calmly on the ruck of wagons piled up behind one
stalled in the creek, which all the mules they could hitch to it had
failed to pull out.

It was the Wagon Master, and his calmness was that of exhaustion. He had
yelled and sworn himself dry, and was collecting another fund of abuse
to spout at men and animals.

"Here, why don't you git a move on them wagons?" said Si hotly, for he
was angered at the man's apparent indifference.

"'Tend to your own business and I'll tend to mine," said the Wagon
Master, sullenly, without removing his pipe or looking at Si.

"Look here, I'm a Corporal, commanding the advance guard," said Si. "I
order you!"

This seemed to open the fountains of the man's soul.

"You order me?" he yelled, "you splay-footed, knock-kneed, chuckled-
headed paper-collared, whitegloved sprat from a milk-sick prairie.
Corporal! I outrank all the Corporals from here to Christmas of next
year."

"The gentleman seems to have something on his mind," grinned Shorty.
"Mebbe his dinner didn't set well."

"Shorty?" inquired Si, "how does a Wagon Master rank? Seems to me nobody
lower'n a Brigadier-General should dare talk to me that way."

"Dunno," answered Shorty, doubtfully. "Seems as if I'd heard some of
them Wagon Masters rank as Kurnels. He swears like one."

"Corporal!" shouted the Wagon Master with infinite scorn. "Measly $2-a-
month water toter for the camp-guard, order me!" and he went off into a
rolling stream of choice "army language."

"He must certainly be a Kurnel," said Shorty.

"Here," continued the Wagon Master, "if you don't want them two shoat-
brands jerked offen you, jump in and get them wagons acrost. That's what
you were sent to do. Hump yourself, if you know what's good for you.
I've done all I can. Now it's your turn."

Dazed and awed by the man's authoritativeness the boys ran down to the
water to see what was the trouble.

They found the usual difficulty in Southern crossings. The stupid
tinkerers with the road had sought to prevent it running down into the
stream by laying a log at the edge of the water. This was an enormous
one two feet in diameter, with a chuckhole before it, formed by the
efforts of the teams to mount the log. The heavily laden ammunition
wagon had its hub below the top of the log, whence no amount of mule-
power could extricate it.

Si, with Indiana commonsense, saw that the only help was to push the
wagon back and lay a pile of poles to make a gradual ascent. He and the
rest laid their carefully polished muskets on dry leaves at the side,
pulled off their white gloves, and sending two men to hunt thru the
wagons for axes to cut the poles. Si and Shorty roused up the stupid
teamsters to unhitch the mules and get them behind the wagon to pull it
back. Alas for their carefully brushed pantaloons and well-blackened
shoes, which did not last a minute in the splashing mud.

The Wagon Master had in the meanwhile laid in a fresh supply of epithets
and had a fresh batch to swear at. He stood up on the bank and yelled
profane injunctions at the soldiers like a Mississippi River Mate at a
boat landing. They would not work fast enough for him, nor do the right
thing.

The storm at last burst. November storms in Tennessee are like the
charge of a pack of wolves upon a herd of buffalo. There are wild,
furious rushes, alternating with calmer intervals. The rain came down
for a few minutes as if it would beat the face off the earth, and the
stream swelled into a muddy torrent. Si's paper collar and cuffs at once
became pulpy paste, and his boiled shirt a clammy rag. In spite of this
his temper rose to the boiling point as he struggled thru the sweeping
rush of muddy water to get the other wagons out of the road and the
ammunition wagon pulled back a little ways to allow the poles to be
piled in front of it.

The dashing downpour did not check the Wagon Master's flow of profanity.
He only yelled the louder to make himself heard above the roar. The rain
stopped for a few minutes as suddenly as it had begun and Col.
McTarnaghan came up with all his parade finery drenched and dripping
like the feathers of a prize rooster in a rainy barnyard. His Irish
temper was at the steaming point, and he was in search of something to
vent it on.

"You blab-mouthed son of a thief," he shouted at the Wagon Master, "what
are you ordering my men around for? They are sent here to order you, not
you to order them. Shut that ugly potato trap of yours and get down to
work, or I'll wear my saber out on you. Get down there and put your own
shoulders to the wheels, you misbegotten villain. Get down there into
the water, I tell you. Corporal, see that he does his juty!"

The Wagon Master slunk down the hill, where Shorty grabbed him by the
collar and yanked him over to help push one of the wagons back. The
other boys had meanwhile found axes, cut down and trimmed up some pine
poles and were piling them into the chuckhole under Si's practical
guidance. A double team was put on the ammunition wagon, and the rest of
Co. Q came up wet, mad and panting. A rope was found and stretched ahead
of the mules, on which the company lined itself, the Colonel took his
place on the bank and gave the word, and with a mighty effort the wagon
was dragged up the hill. Some other heavily loaded ammunition wagons
followed. The whole regiment was now up, and the bigger part of it lined
on the rope so that these wagons came up more easily, even tho the rain
resumed its wicked pounding upon the clay soil.

Wading around thru the whirling water. Si had discovered, to his
discomfiture, that there was a narrow, crooked reef that had to be kept
to. There were deep overturning holes on either side. Into one of these
Si had gone, to come again floundering and spurting muddy water from his
mouth.

Shorty noted the place and took the first opportunity to crowd the Wagon
Master into it.

A wagon loaded with crackers and pork missed the reef and went over
hopelessly on its side, to the rage of Col. McTamaghan.

"Lave it there; lave it there, ye blithering numbskulls," he yelled,
"Unhitch those mules and get 'em out. The pork and wagon we can get when
the water goes down. If another wagon goes over Oi'll rejuce it every
mother's son of yez, and tie yez up by the thumbs besides."

Si and Shorty waded around to unhitch the struggling mules, and then,
taking poles in hand to steady themselves, took their stations in the
stream where they could head the mules right.

Thru the beating storm and the growing darkness, the wagons were, one by
one, laboriously worked over until, as midnight approached, only three
or four remained on the other side. Chilled to the bone, and almost
dropping with fatigue from hours of standing in the deep water running
like a mill race. Si called Al Klapp, Sib Ball and Jesse Langley to take
their poles and act as guides.

Al Klapp had it in for the sutlers. He was a worm that was ready to
turn. He had seen some previous service, and had never gone to the
Paymaster's table but to see the most of his $13 a month swept away by
the sutler's remorseless hand. He and Jesse got the remaining army
wagons over all right. The last wagon was a four-horse team belonging to
a sutler.

The fire of long-watched-for vengeance gleamed in Al's eye as he made
out its character in the dim light. It reached the center of the stream,
when over it went in the rushing current of muddy water.

Al and Jesse busied themselves unhooking the struggling mules.

The Colonel raged. "Lave it there! Lave it there!" he yelled after
exhausting his plentiful stock of Irish expletives. "But we must lave a
guard with it. Capt. Sidney Hyde, your company has been doing less than
any other. Detail a Sergeant and 10 men to stand guard here until
tomorrow, and put them two thick-headed oudmahouns in the creek on guard
with them. Make them stand double tricks.

"All right. It was worth it," said Al Klapp, as the Sergeant put him on
post, with the water running in rivulets from his clothes. "It'll take a
whole lot of skinning for the sutlers to get even for the dose I've
given one of them."

"B'yes, yoi've done just splendid," said the Colonel, coming over to
where Si and Shorty were sitting wringing the water and mud from their
pantaloons and blouses. "You're hayroes, both of yez. Take a wee drap
from my canteen. It'll kape yez from catching cold."

"No, thankee, Kurnel," said Si, blushing with delight, and forgetting
his fatigue and discomfort, in this condescension and praise from his
commanding officer. "I'm a Good Templar."

"Sinsible b'y," said the Colonel approvingly, and handing his canteen to
Shorty.

"I'm mightily afraid of catching cold," said Shorty, reaching eagerly
for the canteen, and modestly turning his back on the Colonel that he
might not see how deep his draft.

"Should think you were," mused the Colonel, hefting the lightened
vessel. "Bugler, sound the assembly and let's get back to camp."

The next day the number of rusty muskets, dilapidated accouterments and
quantity of soiled clothes in the camp of the 200th Ind. was only
equaled by the number of unutterably weary and disgusted boys.



CHAPTER XXII. A NIGHT OF SONG HOME-SICKNESS AND ITS OUTPOURING IN MUSIC.

IT WAS Sunday again, and the 200th Ind. still lingered near Nashville.
For some inscrutible reason known only to the commanding officers the
brigade had been for nearly a week in camp on the banks of the swift
running Cumberland. They had been bright, sunshiny days, the last two of
them. Much rain in the hill country had swollen the swift waters of the
Cumberland and they fiercely clamored their devious way to the broad
Ohio. The gentle roar as the rippling wavelets dashed against the rock
bound shores sounded almost surf-life, but to Si, who had never heard
the salt waves play hide-and-go-seek on the pebbly beach, the
Cumberland's angry flood sang only songs of home on the Wabash. He had
seen the Wabash raging in flood time and had helped to yank many a head
of stock from its engulfing fury. He had seen the Ohio, too, when she
ran bank full with her arched center carrying the Spring floods and
hundreds of acres of good soil down to the continent-dividing
Mississippi, and on out to sea. His strong arms and stout muscles had
piloted many a boat-load of boys and girls through the Wabash eddies and
rapids during the Spring rise, and as he stood now, looking over the
vast width of this dreary waste of waters, a great wave of home-sickness
swept over him.

After all, Si was only a kid of a boy, like thousands of his comrades.'
True, he was past his majority a few months, but his environment from
youth to his enlistment had so sheltered him that he was a boy at heart.

"The like precurse of fierce events and prologue to the omen coming on"
had as yet made small impression upon him. Grim visaged war had not
frightened him much up to that time. He was to get his regenerating
baptism of blood at Murfreesboro a few weeks later. Just now Si Klegg
was simply a boy grown big, a little over fat, fond of mother's cooking,
mother's nice clean feather beds, mother's mothering, if the truth must
be told. He had never in his life before been three nights from under
the roof of the comfortable old house in which he was born. He had now
been wearing the blue uniform of the Union a little more than three
months, and had not felt mother's work-hardened hands smoothing his
rebellious hair or seen her face or heard a prayer like she could make
in all that three months.

"Shucks!" he said fretfully to himself as he looked back at the droning,
half asleep brigade camp, and then off to the north, across the boiling
yellow flood of waters that tumbled past the rocks far below him.

"A feller sure does git tired of doin' nothin'."

Lusty, young, and bred to an active life, Si, while he did not really
crave hustle and bustle, was yet wedded to "keeping things moving." He
had already forgotten the fierce suffering of his early marching\x97it
seemed three years to him instead of three months back; he had forgotten
the graybacks, the wet nights, the foraging expeditions, the extra guard
duty and all that. There had been two days of soft Autumn sunshine in a
camp that was almost ideal. Everything was cleaned up, mended up, and
the men had washed and barbered themselves into almost dude-like
neatness. Their heaviest duties had been lazy camp guard duty, which
Shorty, growing indolent, had declared to be "dumned foolishness," and
the only excitement offered came from returning foraging parties. There
was no lurking enemy to fear, for the country had been cleared of
guerrillas, and in very truth the ease and quietness of the days of
inactivity was almost demoralizing the men.

There had been no Sunday services. The 200th Ind. was sprawled out on
the ground in its several hundred attitudes of ease, and those with whom
they were brigaded were just as carelessly disposed.

As Si sauntered aimlessly back to look for Shorty, the early twilight
began to close in as the sun slid down behind the distant hills.
Campfires began to glow as belated foragers prepared their suppers, and
the gentle hum of voices came pleasantly to the ear, punctuated by
laughter, often boisterous, but quite as often just the babbling, cheery
laugh of carefree boys.

Si felt\x97well, Si was just plain homesick for mother and the girls, and
one particular girl, whose front name was Annabel, and he almost felt as
though he didn't care who knew it.

The air was redolent with the odor of frying meat. Mingled with this
were vagrant whiffs of cooking potatoes, onions, chickens, and the
fragrance of coffee steaming to blackest strength, all telling tales of
skillful and successful foraging, and it all reminded Si of home and the
odors in his mother's kitchen.

Si couldn't find Shorty, so he hunched down, silent and alone, beside
his tent, a prey to the blue devils. It would soon be Christmas at home.
He could see the great apple bins in the cellar; the pumpkins in the hay
in the barn; the turkeys roosting above the woodshed; the yards of
encased sausages in the attic; he could even smell the mince meat
seasoning in the great stone jar; the honey in the bee cellar; the huge
fruit cake in the milk pan in the pantry; since he could remember he
seen and smelled all these, with 57 varieties of preserves, "jells,"
marmalades, and fruit-butters thrown in for good measure at Christmas
time. He had even contemplated with equanimity all these 21 Christmases,
the dose of "blue pills" that inevitably followed over-feeding at Mother
Klegg's, and now on his 22d Christmas he might be providing a target for
a rebel bullet.

Suddenly Si noticed that the dark had come; the fragrance of tobacco
from hundreds of pipes was filling the air, and from away off in the
distance the almost Indian Summer zephyrs were bringing soft rythmic
sounds like\x97surely\x97yes, he caught it now, it was that mighty soother of
tired hearts\x97

"Jesus, lover of my soul, Let me to Thy bosom fly. While the billows
near me roll. While the tempest still is high."

Si shut his eyes lest the tear drops welling suddenly up fall on his
uniform, not stopping to think that in the gloom they could not be seen.

Miles away the singers seemed to be when Si caught the first sounds, but
as the long, swinging notes reached out in the darkness, squad after
squad, company after company, regiment after regiment took up the grand
old hymn until Si himself lifted up his not untuneful voice and with the
thousands of others was pleading\x97

"Hide me, oh, my Savior hide, 'Till the storm of life is past; Safe into
the haven guide. Oh, receive my soul at last."

and the song rose and swelled out and up toward heaven, and stole away
off to the horizon till the whole vast universe seemed filled with the
sacred melody. As the last words and their music faded out in space.
Shorty lunged down beside Si.

"Say, Pard," he began banteringly, "you've missed yer callin'. Op'ry
oughter have been yer trade."

"Oh, chop off yer chin music for a minute. Shorty," broke in Si. "In the
dark here it seemed most as though I was at home in the little old
church with Maria and Annabel and Pap and Mother, and us all singing
together, and you've busted it\x97ah! listen!"

From not far away a bugler had tuned up and through the fragrant night
came piercingly sweet\x97

"I will sing you a song of that beautiful land\x97"

Then near at hand a strong, clear, musical tenor voice took up the
second line,

"The far away home of the soul,"

and almost instantly a deep, resonant bass voice boomed in\x97

"Where no storms ever beat on that glittering strand While the years of
eternity roll,"

and soon a hundred voices were making melody of the spheres as they sang
Philip Phillips's beautiful song.

"That was Wilse Hornbeck singin' tenor," said Si, as the song ended.

"And it was Hen Withers doin' the bass stunt," returned Shorty.

"You just oughter hear him do the ornamental on a mule whacker. Why, Si,
he's an artist at cussing. Hen Withers is. Sodom and Gomorrah would git
jealous of him if he planted himself near 'em, he's that wicked."

"Well, he can sing all right," grunted Si.

Just then Hen Withers, in the squad some 50 feet away broke into song
again\x97

"Oh, say, can you see by the dawn's early light"

It welled up from his throat like the pipe from a church organ, and as
mellow as the strains from a French horn. When the refrain rolled out
fully 3,000 men were singing, yelling and shouting in frenzied fervor\x97

"And the Star Spangled banner. In triumph shall wave, O'er the land of
the free, And the home of the brave."

While Hen Withers rested on his well-earned laurels, a strong, clear
voice, whose owner was probably thinking of home and the shady gloom of
the walk through the grove to singing school with his sweetheart,
trilled an apostrophe to the queen of light.

"Roll on, silvery moon, Guide the traveler on his way,"

but he had it pretty much to himself, for not many knew the words, and
he trailed off into

"I loved a little beauty, Bell Brandon,"

then his music died out in the night.

It was now the "tenore robusto" who chimed in bells, on a new battle
song that held a mile square of camp spellbound:

"Oh, wrap the flag around me, boys,

To die were far more sweet With freedom's starry emblem, boys.

To be my winding sheet. In life I loved to see it wave

And follow where it led, And now my eyes grow dim, my hands

Would clasp its last bright shred. Oh, I had thought to meet you, boys,

On many a well-worn field When to our starry emblem, boys,

The trait'rous foe should yield. But now, alas, I am denied

My dearest earthly prayer, You'll follow and you'll meet the foe,

But I shall not be there."

Wilse Hornback knew by the hush of the camp as the sound of his
wonderful voice died on the far horizon that he had his laurels, too,
and so he sang on while the mile square of camp went music-mad again as
it sang with him\x97

"We are springing to the call of our brothers gone before, Shouting the
battle cry of freedom. And we'll fill the vacant ranks with a million
freemen more. Shouting the battle cry of freedom."

Chorus:

"The Union forever! Hurrah, boys. Hurrah; Down with the traitor and up
with the Star, While we rally 'round the Flag, boys, We'll rally once
again, Shouting the battle cry of freedom.

We will welcome to our numbers the loyal, true and brave. Shouting the
battle cry of freedom, And although they may be poor, not a man shall be
a slave. Shouting the battle cry of freedom.

So we're springing to the call from the East and from the West, Shouting
the battle cry of freedom, And we'll hurl the rebel crew from the land
we love the best, Shouting the battle cry of freedom."

In the almighty hush that followed the billows of sound, some sweet-
voiced fellow started Annie Laurie, and then sang\x97

"In the prison cell I sit"

with grand chorus accompaniment. Then Wilse Hornback started and Hen
Withers joined in singing the Battle Hymn\x97

"Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord,"

and oh, God of Battles! how that army of voices took up the refrain\x97

"Glory, glory, hallelujah,"

and tossed and flung it back and forth from hill to hill and shore to
shore till it seemed as though Lee and his cohorts must have heard and
quailed before the fearful prophecy and arraignment.

Then the "tenore robusto" and the "basso profundo" opened a regular
concert program, more or less sprinkled with magnificent chorus:
singing, as it was easy or difficult for the men to recall the words.
You must rummage in the closets of memory for most of them! The Old
Oaken Bucket; Nellie Gray; Anna Lisle; No, Ne'er Can Thy Home be Mine;
Tramp, Tramp, Tramp; We are Coming, Father Abraham; Just as I Am; By
Cold Siloam's Shady Rill\x97how those home-loving Sunday school young boys
did sing that! It seemed incongruous, but every now and then they
dropped into these old hymn tunes, which many a mother had sung her baby
to sleep with in those elder and better days.

The war songs are all frazzled and torn fragments of memory now, covered
with dust and oblivion, but they were great songs in and for their day.
No other country ever had so many.

Laughter and badinage had long since ceased. Flat on their backs, gazing
up at the stars through the pine and hemlock boughs, the boys lay
quietly smoking while the "tenore robusto" assisted by the "basso
profundo" and hundreds of others sang "Willie, We Have Missed You,"
"Just Before the Battle, Mother," "Brave Boys Are They," and the "Vacant
Chair."

In a little break in the singing. Hen Withers sang a wonderful song, now
almost forgotten. It was new to the boys then, but the bugler had heard
it, and as Hen's magnificent voice rolled forth its fervid words the
bugle caught up the high note theme, and never did the stars sing
together more entrancingly than did the "wicked mule whacker" and that
bugle\x97

"Lift up your eyes, desponding freemen. Fling to the winds your needless
fears. He who unfurled our beauteous banner Says it shall wave a
thousand years."

On the glorious chorus a thousand voices took up the refrain in droning
fashion that made one think of "The Sound of the Great Amen."

"A thousand years, my own Columbia! Tis the glad day so long foretold!
'Tis the glad mom whose early twilight Washington saw in times of old."

By the time Hen had sung all of the seven verses the whole brigade knew
the refrain and roared it forth as a defiance to the Southern
Confederacy, which took on physical vigor in the days that came after,
when the 200th Ind. went into battle to come off victorious on many a
fiercely contested field.

Then the tenor sang that doleful, woe begone, hope effacing, heart-
string-cracking "Lorena." Some writer has said that it sung the heart
right out of the Southern Confederacy.

"The sun's low down the sky, Lorena, The snow is on the grass again."

As Wilse Hornbeck let his splendid voice out on the mournful cadences,
Si felt his very heart strings snap, and even Shorty drew his breath
hard, while some of the men simply rolled over, and burying their faces
in their arms, sobbed audibly.

Wilse had not counted on losing his own nerve, but found his voice
breaking on the melancholy last lines, and bounding to his feet with a
petulant,

"Oh, hang it!"

"Say, darkies, hab you seen de Massa"

came dancing up from the jubilating chords of that wonderful human music
box, and soon the camp was reeling giddily with the jolly, rollicking,

"Or Massa ran, ha! ha!! The darkies stay, ho! ho!!"

Then, far in the distance a bugle sounded "lights out," and the songfest
was at an end; as bugler after bugler took it up, one by one the
campfires bAlinked out, and squad after squad sank into quiet.

"I feel a heap better somehow," remarked Si, as he crawled under his
blanket.

"Dogged if I hain't had a sort of uplift, too," muttered Shorty, as he
wrapped his blanket round his head. In the distance a tenor voice was
singing as he kicked out his fire and got ready for bed\x97

"Glory, glory, hallelujah."



SI KLEGG THRU THE STONE RIVER CAMPAIGN AND IN WINTER QUARTERS AT
MURFREESBORO.



By John McElroy



Book Two


Published By The National Tribune Co., Washington, D. C. Second Edition
Copyright 1910



THE SIX VOLUMES SI KLEGG, Book I, Transformation From a Raw Recruit SI
KLEGG, Book II, Through the Stone River Campaign SI KLEGG, Book III,
Meets Mr. Rosenbaum, the Spy SI KLEGG, Book IV, On The Great Tullahoma
Campaign SI KLEGG, Book V, Deacon's Adventures At Chattanooga SI KLEGG,
Book VI, Enter On The Atlanta Campaign



Si Sat Down Hard 20 frontispiecee (114K)



titlepage (70K)


CONTENTS


PREFACE

SI KLEGG


CHAPTER I. THROUGH MUD AND MIRE

CHAPTER II. SECOND DAY'S MARCH

CHAPTER III. STILL ON THE MARCH

CHAPTER IV. THE SUNSHINE OF LIFE

CHAPTER V. LINING UP FOR BATTLE

CHAPTER VI. BATTLE OF STONE RIVER

CHAPTER VII. AFTER THE FIRST DAY

CHAPTER VIII. A GLOOMY NEW YEAR'S DAY

CHAPTER IX. VICTORY AT LAST

CHAPTER X. THE VICTORIOUS ARMY

CHAPTER XI. WINTER QUARTERS

CHAPTER XII. ADDING TO THEIR COMFORT

CHAPTER XIII. "HOOSIER'S REST"

CHAPTER XIV. DEACON KLEGG'S SURPRISE

CHAPTER XV. DEACON KLEGG'S ARRIVAL IS MISTAKEN

CHAPTER XVI. IN A NEW WORLD

CHAPTER XVII. THE DEACON'S INITIATION

CHAPTER XVIII.   THE DEACON IS SHOCKED

CHAPTER XIX. THE DEACON IS TROUBLED

CHAPTER XX. THE DEACON BUTTS IN

CHAPTER XXI. THE PERPLEXED DEACON

CHAPTER XXII. TRYING TO EDUCATE ABRAHAM LINCOLN



ILLUSTRATIONS


The Aid Spatters Mud on si 18

Si Sat Down Hard 20

Stop Beatin' Them Mules' 22

Frozen in the Mud 29

What Do You See, Shorty?' 33

Si Reports to the Colonel 38

Preparing Supper 40

After the Mules Stampeded 44

The Adjutant Smiled on si and Shorty 49

The Prisoners 50

A Close Shave 62

Groundhog Fled 64

Earning Thirteen Dollars a Month 57

A Frightened Teamster 70

A Lucky Fall 81

Finding a Good Thing 85

Si's Challenge 90

A Disagreeable Awakening for Shorty and Si. 94

Si Klegg Fell Without a Groan 113

Shorty Thinks si Does Not Look Like a Ghost. 118

Shorty Retaliates. 126

The House Beautiful. 133

Solid Comfort. 135

"Am I a Soldier of the Cross?" 139

Shorty Confiscates the Caboose Door. 143

Si Defended the Plunder. 148

Si Floors the Wagonmaster. 154

A Stoutly-built, Farmer-looking Man Entered the Train 164

The Free Fight. 169

Mr. Klegg Ready for Action. 172

Deacon Klegg and the Knight of The Golden Circle.

The General Interrupts the Game 184

Meeting Between si and his Father. 189

His Honor and the 'attorney' Bucked And Gagged.

Shorty Admonishes the Orderly 198

The Deacon is Shocked. 210

Trying to Conquer the Deacon's Scruples. 212

'How Much'd You Give for This?' 216

Deacon Klegg Looks over the Larder. 220

Hit My Jug a Welt With his Sword 231

'Pulled out a Fat Roll of Greenbacks. 235

I'm Gwine Ter Kill Ye, Right Here 246

Do You Hear? Git on Your Mule at Onct.'

"I'll Invite Your Attention to the Emancipation Proclamation 264 "

The Deacon Gives Abe a Lesson in Wood Chopping 269



PREFACE

"Si Klegg, of the 200th Ind., and Shorty, his Partner," were born years
ago in the brain of John McElroy, Editor of THE NATIONAL TRIBUNE.

These sketches are the original ones published in THE NATIONAL TRIBUNE,
revised and enlarged some what by the author. How true they are to
nature every veteran can abundantly testify from his own service.
Really, only the name of the regiment was invented. There is no doubt
that there were several men of the name of Josiah Klegg in the Union
Army, and who did valiant service for the Government. They had
experiences akin to, if not identical with, those narrated here, and
substantially every man who faithfully and bravely carried a musket in
defense of the best Government on earth had some times, if not often,
experiences of which those of Si Klegg are a strong reminder.

THE PUBLISHERS. THIS BOOK IS RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED TO THE RANK AND FILE
OF THE GRANDEST ARMY EVER MUSTERED FOR WAR.



SI KLEOG



CHAPTER I. THROUGH MUD AND MIRE DUTY'S PATH LEADS THE 200TH IND.
SOUTHWARD FROM NASHVILLE.

"SHORTY" said Si Klegg, the morning after Christmas, 1862, as the 200th
Ind. sullenly plunged along through the mud and rain, over the roads
leading southward from Nashville, "they say that this is to be a sure-
enough battle and end the war."

"Your granny's night-cap they do," answered Shorty crossly, as he turned
his cap around back ward to stop the icy current from chasing down his
backbone. "How many thousand times 's that bin stuffed into your ears?
This is the forty-thousandth mile we've marched to find that battle that
was goin' to end the war. And I'll bet we'll march 40,000 more. This war
ain't goin' to end till we've scuffed the top off all the roads in
Kentucky and Tennessee, and wore out God's patience and all the sole-
leather in the North. I believe it's the shoe-makers that's runnin' this
war in the interest o' their business."

The cold, soaking rain had reduced the most of the 200th Ind. to a mood
when they would have 16disputed the Ten Commandments and quarreled with
their mothers.

"There's no use bein' crosser'n a saw-buck, if you are wet, Shorty,"
said Si, walking to the side of the road and scraping off his generous-
sized brogans several pounds of stiff, red mud. "They say this new
General with a Dutch name is a fighter from Wayback, an' he always licks
the rebels right out of their boots. I'm sure, I hope it's so. I like
huntin' ez well ez anybody, an' I'll walk ez fur ez the next man to find
something to shoot. But I think walkin' over two States, backward and
forward, is altogether too much huntin' for so little shootin'. Don't
you?"

"Don't worry," snapped Shorty. "You'll git all the shootin' you want
before your three years are up. It'll keep."

"But why keep it so long?" persisted Si. "If it can be done up in three
months, an' we kin git back home, why dribble it out over three years?
That ain't the way we do work back home on the Wabash."

"Confound back home on the Wabash," roared Shorty. "I don't hear nothin'
else, day and night, but 'back home on the Wabash.' I've bin on the
Wabash, an' I don't want to never see the measly, muddy, agery ditch
agin'. Why, they have the ager so bad out there that it shakes the
buttons off a man's clothes, the teeth out of his head, the horns off
the cows. An' as for milk-sickness."

"Shorty!" thundered Si, "stop right there. If you wasn't my pardner I'd
fight you this minute. I kin join in jawin' about the officers an' the
17Government. A great deal of your slack that I can't agree with I kin
put up with, but you mustn't say nothin' against my home in the Wabash
Valley. That I won't stand from no man. For fear that I may lose my
temper I'm goin' away from you till you're in better humor."

With that Si strode on ahead, feeling as cross and uncomfortable
internally as he was ill-at-ease externally. He hated above all things
to quarrel with Shorty, but the Wabash Valley, that gardenspot of earth,
that place where lived his parents, and sister, and Annabel but the
subject was too sore to think about.

Presently an Aid came galloping along the middle of the road, calling
upon the men to make way for him. His horse's hoofs threw the mud in
every direction, and Si caught a heavy spatter directly in his face.

"Confound them snips of Aids," said he angrily, as he wiped the mud off.
"Put on more airs than if they was old Gen. Scott himself. Always
pretend to be in such a powerful hurry. Everybody must hustle out of
their way. I think that fool jest did that on purpose."

The rain kept pouring down with tormenting persistence. Wherever Si
looked were drenched, de pressed-looking men; melancholy, steaming
horses; sodden, gloomy fields; yellow, rushing streams, and boundless
mud that thousands of passing feet were churning into the consistency of
building-mortar.

Si had seen many rainy days since he had been in the army, but this was
the first real Winter rain 18he had been out in.

Jabe Belcher, the most disagreeable man in Co. Q, was just ahead of him.
He stepped into a mudpuddle, slipped, threw the mud and water over Si,
and his gun, which he flung in the effort to save himself, struck Si on
the shoulder.

The Aid Spatters Mud on si 18

"Clumsy lunkhead!" roared Si, as ill-tempered now as anybody. "Couldn't
you see that puddle and keep out of it? You'd walk right into the
Cumberland River if it was in front of you. Never saw such a bat-eyed
looney in my life."

"If the Captain wasn't lookin'," retorted Belcher, "I'd shut up both of
them dead-mackerel eyes o' your'n, you backwoods yearlin'. I'll settle
with you after we git into camp. Your stripes won't save you."

"Never mind about my stripes, old Stringhalt. I kin take them off long
enough to wallop you."

Si was in such a frame of mind that his usual open-eyedness was gone.
The company was wading across a creek, and Si plunged in without a
thought. He stepped on a smooth stone, his feet went from under him and
he sat 'down hard and waist-deep in much the coldest water that he ever
remembered.

"O, Greenland's icy mountains," was all that he could think to say.

The other boys yelled:

"Come on to camp, Si. That's no place to sit down."

"Feet hurt, Si, and goin' to rest a little?"

"This your day for taking a bath, Si?"

"Thinks this is a political meetin', and he's to take the chair."

"Place Rest!"

"When I sit down, I prefer a log or a rail; but some men's different."

"See a big bass there, Si, an' try to ketch him by settin' down on him?"

"Git up, Si; git up, an' give your seat to some lady."

Si Sat Down Hard 20

Si was too angry to notice their jibes. He felt around in the icy water
for his gun, and clambered out on the bank. He first poured the water
out of his gun-barrel and wiped the mud off. His next thought was the
three days' rations he had drawn 20 that morning. He opened his
haversack, and poured out the water it had caught. With it went his
sugar, coffee and salt. His hardtack was a pasty mess; his meat covered
with sand and dirt. He turned the haversack inside out, and swashed it
out in the stream.

Back came Capt. McGillicuddy, with water streaming from the down-turned
rim of his hat, and his humor bad. He was ignorant of Si's mishap.

"Corporal Klegg, what are you doing back here? Why aren't you in your
place? I've been looking all around for you. The company wagon's stalled
back somewhere. That spavin-brained teamster's at his old tricks. I want
you to take five men off the rear of the company, go back and find that
wagon, and bring it up. Be smart about it."

"Captain," remonstrated Si, "I'm wetter'n a drowned rat!"

"Well, who in thunder ain't?" exploded the Captain. "Do I look as dry as
a basket of chips? Am I walking around in a Panama and linen clothes?
Did you expect to keep from getting your feet wet when you came into the
army? I want none of your belly-aching or sore-toeing. You take five men
and bring up that wagon in a hurry. Do you hear me?"

And the Captain splashed off through the red mud to make somebody else
still more miserable.

Si picked up his wet gun from the rain-soaked sod, put it under his
streaming overcoat, ordered the five drenched, dripping, dejected boys
near him to follow, and plunged back into the creek, which had by this
time risen above his knees. He was past the stage of anger now. He
simply wished that he was dead and out of the whole business. A nice,
dry grave on a sunny hillock in Posey County, with a good roof over it
to keep out the rain, would be a welcome retreat.

In gloomy silence he and his squad plodded back through the eternal mud
and the steady downpour, through the miry fields, through the swirling
yellow floods in the brooks and branches, in search of the laggard
company wagon.22

Two or three miles back they came upon it, stuck fast in a deep mud-
hole. The enraged teamster was pounding the mules over the head with the
butt of his blacksnake whip, not in the expectation of getting any
further effort out of them he knew better than that but as a relief to
his overcharged heart.

"Stop beatin' them mules over the head," shouted Si, as they came up.
Not that he cared a fig about the mules, but that he wanted to "jump"
somebody.

Stop Beatin' Them Mules' 22

"Go to brimstone blazes, you freckle-faced Posey County refugee,"
responded Groundhog, the teamster, in the same fraternal spirit. "I'm
drivin' this here team." He gave the nigh-swing mule a "welt" that would
have knocked down anything else than a swing mule.

"If you don't stop beatin' them mules, by thunder, I'll make you."

"Make's a good word," responded Groundhog, giving the off-swing mule a
wicked "biff." "I never see anything come out of Posey County that could
make me do what I didn't want to."

Si struck at him awkwardly. He was so hampered by his weight of soggy
clothes that there was little force or direction to his blow. The soaked
teamster returned the blow with equal clumsiness.

The other boys came up and pulled them apart.

"We ain't no time for sich blamed nonsense," they growled. "We've got to
git this here wagon up to the company, an' we'll have the devil's own
time doin' it. Quit skylarkin' an' git to work."

They looked around for something with which to make pries. Every rail
and stick within a quarter of a mile of the road was gone. They had been
used up the previous Summer, when both armies had passed over the road.

There was nothing to do but plod off through mud and rain to the top of
a hill in the distance, where there was a fence still standing. A half
an hour later each of the six came back with a heavy rail on his
shoulder. They pried the wagon out and got it started, only to sink
again in another quagmire a few hundred yards further on.

Si and the boys went back to get their rails, but found that they had
been carried off by another squad that had a wagon in trouble. There was
nothing to do but to make another toilsome journey to the fence for more
rails.

After helping the wagon out they concluded it24 would be wiser to carry
their rails with them a little way to see if they would be needed again.

They were many times that afternoon. As dark ness came on Si, who had
the crowning virtue of hopefulness when he fully recognized the
unutterable badness of things, tried to cheer the other boys up with
assertions that they would soon get into camp, where they would find
bright, warm fires with which to dry their clothes, and plenty of hot
coffee to thaw them out inside.

The quick-coming darkness added enormously to the misery of their work.
For hours they struggled along the bottomless road, in the midst of a
ruck of played-out mules and unutterably tired, disgusted men, laboring
as they were to get wagons ahead.

Finally they came up to their brigade, which had turned off the road and
gone into line-of-battle in an old cotton-field, where the mud was
deeper, if possible, than in the road.

"Where's the 200th Ind.?" called out Si.

"Here, Si," Shorty's voice answered.

"Where's the fires, Shorty," asked Si, with sinking heart.

"Ain't allowed none," answered his partner gloomily. "There's a rebel
battery on that hill there, and they shoot every time a match is
lighted. What've you got there, a rail? By George, that's lucky! We'll
have something to keep us out of the mud."

They laid down the rail and sat upon it.

"Shorty," said Si, as he tried to arrange his aching bones to some
comfort on the rail, "I got mad at you for cussin' the Wabash this
morning. I ain't a fluid talker such as you are, an' I can't find words
to say25 what I think. But I jest wisht you would begin right here and
cuss everybody from Abe Lincoln down to Corporal Si Klegg, and
everything from the Wabash in Injianny down to the Cumberland in
Tennessee. I'd like to listen to you."



CHAPTER II. SECOND DAY'S MARCH THE LONG COLUMN CRAWLS THROUGH RAIN AND
COLD TO MURFREESBORO.

SI KLEGG was generous with his rail, as he was with all things among his
comrades. He selected the softest part, in the center, for him self and
Shorty, and then invited the other boys to share its hospitalities. They
crowded up close to him and Shorty on either side, and there seemed to
come a little warmth and dryness from the close contact of their bodies.

Si was so mortally tired that it seemed a great relief just to sit still
and rest, though the rain continued to pour down.

Shorty fished some hardtack and fried pork out of his haversack, and
also gave him a handful of ground coffee. Si munched the crackers and
meat, with an occasional nip at the coffee. His spirits began to rise
just a trifle. He was too healthy in body and mind to be totally
downcast for long.

"'Tis n't much of a supper," he said to himself, "but it beats nothin'
at all miles and miles. Besides, I was mighty lucky in gettin' the
biggest rail. Some that the other boys has are no good at all. They'll
let 'em right down in the mud. And most o' the boys has no rails at all.
I'm awfully sorry for 'em."

Then he began to wonder if they were not 27overcautious about the
nearness of the enemy. He had been in the army just long enough to have
contempt for the stories that were always current with a certain class
about the proximity and strength of the enemy. Shorty was not of that
kind; but, then, Shorty was as liable to be imposed upon as anybody.

"How do you know there's a rebel battery on the hill out there?" he
finally asked Shorty.

"They belted into the Oshkosh Terrors, out there to our right, killed a
mule, scared two teamsters to death, and knocked over three or four
kittles of coffee. It was awful unlucky about the coffee," an swered
Shorty.

"How long ago was that?"

"O, several hours ago. Just after we turned into the field, and long
before you come up."

"Mebbe they've gone off now. Mebbe, if they're there yet, their
ammynition's so soaked that they can't shoot. What do you say to
startin' a little fire? It'd be an immense comfort. Unless we can dry
out a little we'll be soaked into such mush before morning that we can't
keep our shape, and they'll have to ladle us up with dippers."

"It's strictly against orders."

"You mean it was against orders several hours ago. I can't see nothin'
on that hill over there. I've been watchin' for half an hour. There's
nothin' movin'. Mebbe the orders has been changed, an' you haint heard
about it," persisted Si. "Mebbe the Orderly that was bringing 'em 's
stuck in the mud. Mebbe the rain's soaked 'em so's they can't be read.
If anybody's got any dry matches I'm goin' to chance28 it."

Word was passed along the rail, and at length one of the boys was found
to have some matches in a tin box which was proof against the rain.

Si got out his knife and whittled down a corner of the rail until he
came to the dry part, and got off some shavings. Splinters were
contributed by the others, and after several failures a small flame was
started.

"Here, what in the world are you men doing there?" came in the
stentorian tones of the Colonel, who it startled Si to discover was
sitting a short distance behind him. "Put that light out this instant."

Even before the command could be obeyed, four great flashes burned out
like lightning in the murky darkness on the hill-top. Four cannon
roared, and four shells screeched toward Si and his companions, who
instinctively toppled over backward into the mud. One of the shells
struck in the mud a few yards in front, burst with a deafening report,
and sent over them a deluge of very wet Tennessee real estate.

"The battery's out there yit, Si," said Shorty, as they gathered
themselves up and carefully stamped out every spark of fire.

"It's 'tendin' strictly to business," remarked Wes Williams.

"Its ammynition don't seem to be a mite wet," added Jim Hutchinson.

"There, you see, now," said the Colonel sternly. "I'll tie up by the
thumbs the next man that dares scratch a match."

"You jest kin if I do," muttered Si, scraping off some of the
superabundant mud, and resuming his29 seat on the rail. "This dog's
cured of suckin' eggs." He set the butt of his gun down in front of him,
clasped his hands around the barrel, leaned his head on them, and went
to sleep.

He was so tired that he could have slept anywhere and in any position.
He was dimly conscious during the night that the rain ceased and that it
turned bitter cold. He was not going to wake up for trifles like that,
though. When Si went to sleep he devoted himself entirely to that and
nothing else. It 30 was one thing that he never allowed any interference
with.

But with the first gray streaks of dawn in the east some uneasy,
meddlesome spirit in the 200th Ind. happened to be awake, and he
awakened the Adjutant, who cuffed and shook the headquarters drummer
until he awakened and beat the reveille. This aroused the weary Orderly-
Sergeants, who started upon the task of getting up the bone-wracked,
aching-muscled men. In 10 minutes there was enough discontent and bitter
grumbling in the 200th Ind. to have furnished forth a new political
party.

The awakening process finally reached those of Co. Q who had roosted on
Si's rail all night.

Si vigorously insisted on being let alone; that he hadn't been asleep
five minutes, and that, anyhow, it was not his turn to go on guard. But
the Orderly-Sergeant of Co. Q was a persistent fellow, and would not be
denied.

When Si finally tried to rise he found that, in addition to the protests
of his stiff legs, he was pinned firmly down. Feeling around to
ascertain the cause, he discovered that the tail of his overcoat and his
shoes had become deeply imbedded in the mud, and frozen solidly there.
Shorty was in the same fix.

Frozen in the Mud 29

"Got to shuck yourself out o' your overcoat, and leave them gunboats
anchored where they are," remarked Shorty, doing as he said, and falling
in for roll-call in his stocking feet.

After roll-call Si got a hatchet from one of the boys and chopped his
and Shorty's shoes out. The overcoats were left for subsequent effort,
for the first thing was to get some wood and water and cook breakfast.31

The morning was bitter cold and the sky overcast, but Si felt that this
was a thousand times better than the cheerless rain, which seemed to
soak his very life out of him.

He pounded most of the frozen mud off his shoes, picked up the camp-
kettle, and started off for wood and water, broke the ice on the creek,
took a good wash, and presently came back with a load of dry pine and a
kettle full of water.

"My joints feel like I think an old wagon does after it's gone about a
year without greasing," he remarked to Shorty, who had a good fire
going; "but I think that after I get about a quart o' hot coffee, inside
of me, with a few pounds o' pork and crackers, I'll be nearly as good as
new again. My, how good that grub does smell! An' did you ever see such
a nice fire?"

He chopped his and Shorty's overcoats out while Shorty was cooking
breakfast, and when at last he sat down on one end of his rail and ate
enough toasted hard bread and crisp fried side-meat to feed a small
family for a week, washing it down with something near a quart of black
coffee sweetened with coarse brown sugar, life began again to have some
charms for him.

"You're sure that dumbed battery's gone that shot at us last night, are
you, Shorty?" he said, as he drained his cup, fastened it again to the
strap of his haversack, and studied the top of the hill with a critical
eye.

"They say it is," said Shorty, between bites. "While you was down at the
crick a man come over from the camp o' the Oshkosh Terrors, and said two
o' their32 companies 'd been onto the hill, and the rebels had gone."

"I wish them Oshkosh fellers'd mind their own business," said Si,
irritably, as he picked up his gun and began rubbing the mud and rust
off. "They're entirely too fresh for a new regiment. That battery was
none of theirs. It was ours, right in our front, an' if they'd let it
alone till after breakfast we'd gone up and taken it. It was just the
right size for the 200th Ind., and we wanted a chance at it. But now
they've had to stick in and run it off."

"Don't worry," said Shorty, fishing out another cracker; "it hasn't gone
too far. 'Taint lost. You'll have a chance at it some other time. Mebbe
to-day yet."

The army began to move out very promptly, and soon the 200th Ind. was
called to take its place in the long column that crawled over the hills
and across the valleys toward Murfreesboro, like some gigantic blue
serpent moving toward his prey.

Miles ahead of the 200th Ind.'s place in the column the rebels were
offering annoying disputation of farther progress. Lines as brown as the
dried leaves on the oak trees would form on the hilltops, batteries
would gallop into position, and there would be sharp bangs by the cannon
and a sputter of musketry-fire.

Then the long, blue serpent would wriggle out of the road into the
fields, as if coiling to strike. Union batteries would rush on to
hilltops and fire across valleys at the rebel cannon, and a sputter of
musketry would answer that from the leaf-brown ranks on the hilltops,
which would dissolve and march back33 to the next hilltop, where the
thing would be gone over again. The 200th Ind. would occasionally see
one of these performances as it marched over and down one of the hills.

As the afternoon was wearing away the 200th34 Ind. kept nearing the
front, where this was going on. Finally, when the dull day was shading
into dusk, and the brigade ahead of it was forming in the field at the
foot of a hill to open a bickering fire against the dun line at the top,
the 200th Ind. was taken off the road and marched away over to the left,
where it was put into line in front of a dense grove of cedars.

"Capt. McGillicuddy," commanded the Colonel to the Captain of Co. Q,
"advance your company as skirmishers to the edge of the cedars, and send
a Corporal and five men into the thicket to see if there is anything
there."

"Corporal Klegg," said the Captain, "take five men off the left of the
company and go in and see what's in there."

Si was instantly fired with the importance of the duty assigned him. He
sent two of his men to the left, two to the right, while he and Shorty,
a little distance apart, struck for the heart of the thicket. They made
their way with difficulty through the dense chaparral for some minute's,
and then stopped, as they heard voices and the crashing of branches in
front.

Si's heart thumped against his ribs. He looked over to his left, and saw
Shorty standing there peering earnestly into the brush, with his gun
cocked and ready to fire. He ran over to him and whispered:

"What do you see, Shorty?"

What Do You See, Shorty?' 33

"Nothin' yit, but I expect to every minute," replied Shorty, without
turning his intent eyes. Si's gun was already cocked, and he bent his
head 35forward eagerly, to get a better view. But he could see nothing,
except that the tops of the bushes were shaking.

"Shall we skip back an' report?" asked Si.

"I ain't goin' till I see something," said Shorty, stoutly.

"Nor me," echoed Si, rather ashamed that he had suggested it.

"Steady, there; steady, on the right! Come for ward with that left
company," called out a stern voice in front.

"Must be a full regiment in there," whispered Si, craning his neck still
farther. The tramping and crashing increased.

"Steady, men, I tell you! Steady! Press on the center," commanded the
unseen Colonel. "Forward! Forward!"

In spite of his perturbation, Si noticed that the sounds did not seem to
be coming any nearer.

"We must get a squint at 'em," he said, desperately, to Shorty. "Let's
git down an' crawl forward. There must be an openin' somewhere."

They got down on their hands and knees, so as to avoid as many as
possible of the thickly-interlaced branches. Soon they came to a rift
which led to an opening of some rods in circumference. Raising their
heads cautiously above a moss-covered log, they saw in the opening a
stalwart Sergeant with five or six men. The Sergeant was standing there
with his eyes fixed on the tops of the trees, apparently thinking of the
next series of commands he was to give, while the men were busy breaking
limbs off the cedars.

Si and Shorty immediately grasped the situation.36

"Forward, Co. Q!" yelled Si at the top of his lungs. "Surrender, you
consarned rebels, or we'll blow your heads off," he added, as he and
Shorty jumped forward into the opening and leveled their guns on the
squad.

"What'n thunder was you fellers makin' all that racket fur," Si asked
the Sergeant as he was marching him back to the skirmish-line.

"Ouah Cunnel," explained the Sergeant, "wuz afeared you'ns 'd try to
flank us through the thicket, and sent me down to make a rumpus and hold
you back while he fit you in front. But whar's your company?"

"We'll come to it soon," said Si.



CHAPTER III. STILL ON THE MARCH SI AND SHORTY STOP ON THE WAY LONG
ENOUGH TO BAG SIX REBS.

SI CALLED out to the other boys by name to come up and join him.

The rebel Sergeant mentally tallied off each name as it was called. A
flush of shame and anger mounted to his face as Si concluded.

"Gol darn hit," he said, "you'uns hain't got ez many ez we'uns; they
hain't nigh ez good men ez we'uns, an' they'uns ain't heah. We'uns air
Tennesseans, an' you'uns hain't."

"We've got enough, an' they're good enough," said Si sententiously.
"Injianny turns out better men than Tennessee ever dreamed o' doing."

"I don't believe hit a mite," said the Sergeant, stooping down and
picking up a piece of cedar, which made a formidable club. "We'uns is
not a-gwine back with yo'uns nary a step. By rights, we'uns orter take
yo'uns back with we'uns. But I'm willin' to call hit off, and let yo'uns
go ef yo'uns 'll let we'uns go. Is hit a bargain?"

"Not by 40 rows o' apple trees it ain't," said Si, stepping back a
little to get a better range, and fixing his bayonet. "I've set my heart
on takin' you back to Co. Q, an' back to Co. Q you'll go, if Si Klegg
knows himself."38

"And you'll go in a hurry, too," said Shorty. "It's gettin' late, and
I'm always afraid to be out after dark. Mosey, now!"

The other rebels were picking up clubs similar to the Sergeant's and
casting their eyes on him for the signal to attack.

"See here," said Si desperately, cocking his gun. "Don't waste no more
time in words. This hain't a debatin' society. You're goin' back to Co.
Q or going somewhere else thunderin' quick. Sergeant, if you make a move
agin me I'll surely blow your head off en you, an' jab my bayonet
through the next man. My partner, Shorty, is a worse man than I am, an'
I can't tell how many of you he'll kill. He's awful quick-tempered, too,
towards evening, an' liable to begin shooting any minute without
warnin'. It'll save several lives if you start right off on the jump,
straight toward the rear, an' keep it up, with out looking to the right
or left, until you reach Co. Q. You'll find the trail we made comin' in.
Take it this minute."

The rebel Sergeant's eyes looked directly into the dark muzzle of Si's
gun. They glanced along the barrel, and met one eye looking directly
through the sights, while the other was closed, in the act of taking
deliberate aim. He decided with great promptness that there were many
reasons why he should prefer to be a live rebel in a Yankee prison,
rather than a badly-disfigured dead one in a lonely cedar thicket. He
dropped his club, turned around, and made his way along the path over
which Si had come. The rest followed, with Si and Shorty a few paces in
the rear.

Palpitating with pride, Si marched his prisoners up to the company, who
gave him three cheers. The Captain ordered him to report with his
prisoners to the Colonel.

Si Reports to the Colonel 38

The Colonel praised him with words that made his blood tingle.40

The skirmishing off to the right had now ceased. The rebels had fallen
back to the next hilltop, and the 200th Ind. was ordered to go into camp
where it stood.

Preparing Supper 40

It was a fine place for a camp. The mud of the day before was frozen
into stony hardness. The wagons had no difficulty in coming up. There
was wood and water in abundance, and it seemed that the command "Break
ranks March!" had hardly been uttered when great, bright, comfort-giving
fires of fragrant cedar rails flashed up all along the line.

Si and Shorty found several cedar stumps and logs, which they rolled
together, and made a splendid fire. They cooked themselves an ample
supper of fried pork, toasted hardtack, and strong, fragrant coffee,
which they devoured with an appetite and a keen enjoyment only possible
to healthy young men who have had a day of active manuvering and
marching in the crisp, chill air of December.

Then they gathered a lot of cedar branches, and made a thick mattress of
them near the fire, upon which to spread their blankets for the night.

This was a new suggestion by Shorty, and an amazing success.

"I declare, Shorty," said Si, as he lay down on the bed to try it, "I
often wonder where you get all your ideas. For a man who wasn't raised
on the Wabash you know an awful sight. Mebbe, if you'd actually been
born in Posey County you'd a-knowed enough to be a Jigadier-Brindle.
Then I'd a lost you for a pard. This's a great invention. Why, it's
softer and comfortabler than one of mother's feather beds. When I get
out of the army, I'm going to sleep on nothin' but cedar boughs."

"There, you're at it again the Wabash forever," returned Shorty, good-
humoredly. "They raise the finest corn and cattle in the world on the
Wabash, I'll admit, and some fairly good soldiers. But where'll you get
any cedars there to make beds with? You'll have to go back to sleepin'
on wheat straw and corn husks, with chicken-feather pillers. But after42
the way you stood up to that rebel Sergeant to-day I'll never say
another word about ager and milk-sick en the Wabash, and I'll lick any
other feller that does. There wasn't a speck of ager in your gizzard
when you ordered him forward, or you'd blow his Southern Confederacy
head off."

"There was more ager there than you thought, Shorty," Si admitted
softly. "I was awfully scared, for there was six to us two, and if that
feller 'd had the right kind of sand he'd a-jumped me at once, before I
could get my gun up. The moment he began to palaver I knowed I had him.
But I'd 'a' died in my tracks before I'd let him go, and I knowed you
would, too. You're the best pard a feller ever had."

And he reached over and took Shorty's rough hand and squeezed it
affectionately.

"I can bet on you every time, even when I don't think it's quite safe to
bet on myself. And, Shorty," he continued, with his eyes kindling, "it
was worth all that we've gone through since we've been in the army, even
all that time in the rain, to have the Colonel speak as he did to us
before the rest of the boys. I'd be willing to enlist three years more
if father and mother and sisters, and and Annabel could have heard him.
I tell you, war has some glorious things in it, after all."

He sat there on his bed before the fire, with his feet curled up under
him in the comfortable way that it takes months of field service to
acquire, and gazed steadily into the bank of glowing coals. They
suffused his face and body with their generous warmth, and helped lift
his soul toward the skies.43

He was much happier than he had ever been before in his life. The trials
of the day before were hardly more than a far-away dream. The fears and
anxieties of the coming battle were forgotten. The ruddy embers became a
radiant vista, which Pride and Hope and Joy filled with all that he
wanted to see. He saw there the dear old home on the Wabash, his father
seated by the evening lamp reading the paper, while his mother knit on
the other side of the table. His sisters were busy with some feminine
trifles, and Annabel had come in to learn the news. They would hear what
he had done, and of the Colonel's words of praise before the regiment,
and his father's heart would glow with pride and his mother's eyes
suffuse with tears. And Annabel but it passed words, passed thought,
almost, what she would say and think.

Just then tattoo rang out clear and musical on the chill night air. The
rattling military "good night" had never before had any special charms
for Si. But now he thought it an unusually sweet composition.

"I declare," he said to Shorty, "that sheepskin band of our'n is
improving. They're getting to play real well. But I ought to write a few
lines home before taps. Got any paper. Shorty?"

"Much paper you'll find in this regiment after that rain," said Shorty
contemptuously, as he knocked the ashes out of his pipe, and started to
fall in for roll-call. "Every mite of paper anybody has was soaked to
spitwads. But mebbe the Orderly might have a sheet."

After roll-call Si went to the Orderly-Sergeant.44

Nothing in reason could then be refused Si, and the Orderly tore a
couple of leaves out of the back of his treasured diary, which had
escaped the rain, and handed them to him. Si fished his stub of a pencil
out of his blouse-pocket, laid the paper on the back of a tin plate, and
began:

"Somewhere in Tennessee, December the 27th, 1862.

"Dere Annabel: We're movin' on Murphysboro, where we expect a big fite.
There's bin fitin' goin' on ever since we left Nashville, but the 200th
Ind. hain't had no hand in it so far, except this after noon me and
Shorty"

He stopped, stuck his pencil in his mouth, and began to study just what
words he should use to describe the occurrence. He wanted to tell her
all that was bubbling in his heart, and yet he was afraid she would
think him an intolerable boaster, if he told it in just the words that
came to him. He was more afraid of that little country girl's
disapproval than of all the rebels in Murfreesboro.

There were yells, the rattling of chains, and the sound of galloping
hoofs coming toward him.

"Hi, there; stop them condemned mules!" shouted the voice of a teamster.

Si jumped to his feet, for the mules were charging directly for his
fire, and were almost upon him. He dropped paper, pan and pencil, and
jumped to one side, just in time to avoid a rush which scattered his
fire, his carefully-prepared bed, and all his be longings under 24
flying, hard-pounding hoofs.

After the Mules Stampeded 44

"Blast mules, anyhow," said the driver, coming up with his whip in his
hand. "I didn't hev nothin' for them to eat but a cottonwood pole that I
cut down in the bottom. But they must have smelt fodder over there
somewhere, and they broke for it like the devil beatin' tanbark. Hope
you weren't hurt, pard."

Si and Shorty fixed up their fire again, rearranged46 their scattered
cedar boughs, and did the best they could with their torn blankets.

Si found that a mule's hoof had landed squarely on his tin plate, mashed
all future usefulness out of it, and stamped his letter to Annabel into
unrecognizability.

He threw the rent fragments into the fire, sighed deeply, and crawled
under the blankets with Shorty, just as three sounding taps on the bass-
drum commanded silence and lights out in the camp.

48



CHAPTER IV. THE SUNSHINE OF LIFE SI FEELS ONCE MORE THAT LIFE IS REALLY
WORTH LIVING.

THERE come times in every man's life when he feels himself part of the
sunshine that illumines and warms the earth:

The lover, after he has won his best girl's consent.

The candidate, after he has been elected by a big majority.

The valedictorian, after his address has been received with bursts of
ringing applause.

The clerk, after he has been admitted into partnership.

The next morning the camp of the 200th Ind. seemed to Si Klegg one of
the most delightful places on earth.

The sun shone brightly and cheerily through the crisp December air. The
fires of cedar rails sent up a pungent, grateful fragrance. Hardtack,
pork and coffee tasted better than he had ever known them.

Everybody noticed him and spoke pleasantly to him. The other boys of Co.
Q called out cheerily to him from their fires. Those from other
companies would stroll over to take a look at him and Shorty, and his
comrades would point them out proudly as fair specimens of Co. Q, and
what it was capable of doing when called upon in an emergency.

The Adjutant Smiled on si and Shorty 48

The Captain spoke very cordially to him and Shorty, the busy Adjutant
stopped and greeted them smilingly, and even the grave Colonel singled
them out for a pleasant "Good morning" and an inquiry as to whether they
had everything they wanted. It did not seem to Si that there was
anything more on earth just then for which he could ask.

The 200th Ind. having been at the head of the 49column when it halted,
was to take the rear for that day's march, and so remained in camp for a
while to let the rest pass on.

After getting things ready for the march Si and Shorty took a stroll
through the camp to see what was to be seen. They came across their
prisoners seated around a fire, under guard.

How different they looked from what they did the evening before, when
the two partners encountered them in the depths of the cedar brake. Then
they seemed like fierce giants, capable of terrible things, such as
would make the heart quail. Now, powerless of harm, and awed by the
presence of multitudes of armed men in blue filling the country in every
direction that they looked, they appeared very commonplace, ignorant,
rough men, long-haired, staring-eyed, and poorly-clad in coarse,
butternut-dyed homespun, frayed and tattered.

"Father gits better men than them to work on the farm for $8 a month,"
Si remarked to Shorty, after a lengthened survey of them.

"Eight dollars a month is Congressman's wages to what they git for
fightin' for the Southern Confederacy," answered Shorty. "I don't s'pose
any one of 'em ever had eight real dollars in his pocket in his life.
They say they're fightin' to keep us from takin' their niggers away from
'em, and yit if niggers wuz sellin' for $1 a-piece not one of 'em could
buy a six-months'-old baby. Let's go up and talk to 'em."

"I don't know 'bout that," said Si, doubtfully. "Seems to me I wouldn't
be particularly anxious to see men who'd taken me prisoner and talked
very cross about blowin' my blamed head off."50

"O, that's all right," answered Shorty confidently. "Words spoken in the
heat of debate, and so on. They won't lay them up agin us. If they do,
and want any satisfaction, we can give it to 'em. I kin lick any man in
that crowd with my fists, and so kin you. We'll jest invite 'em to a
little argyment with nature's weepons, without no interference by the
guard. Come on."

The Prisoners 50

The prisoners returned their greetings rather pleasantly. They were so
dazed by the host of strange faces that Si and Shorty seemed, in a
measure, like old acquaintances.

"Had plenty to eat, boys," asked Shorty, familiarly, seating himself on
a log beside them and passing his pipe and tobacco to the Sergeant.

"Plenty, thankee," said the Sergeant, taking the pipe and filling it.
"More'n we'uns 've had sence we left home, an' mouty good vittles, too.
You Yanks sartinly live well, ef yo'uns don't do nothin' else."

"Yes," said Shorty, with a glance at his mud-stained garments, "we're
bound to live high and dress well, even if we don't lay up a cent."

"You sartinly do have good cloze, too," said the Sergeant, surveying the
stout blue uniforms with admiration. "Yo'uns' common soldiers 've better
cloze than our officers. We'uns got hold o' some o' yo'uns' overcoats,
and they wear like leather."

"There's leather in 'em," said Shorty unblushingly. "I tell you, old Abe
Lincoln's a very smart man. He saw that this war was costin' a heap of
money, especially for clothes. He got a bright idee that by soaking the
clothes when they were new and green in the tan-vats, jest after the
leather wuz taken out, they'd take up the strength o' the leather out o'
the juice, and wear always. The idee worked bully, and now old Abe goes
every morning to where they're makin' clothes and sees that every stitch
is put to soak."

"Nobody but a Yankee'd thought o' that," said the rebel reflectively.52

"You bet," assented Shorty. "Jeff Davis'd never think of it if he lived
to be as old as Methuselah. But that's only the beginnin' of Abe
Lincoln's smartness."

"He's a durned sight smarter man than we'uns thought he wuz when we
begun the war," admitted the Sergeant. "But we'uns 'll wollop him yit,
in spite of his smartness."

"We kin tell more about that a few months later," returned Shorty. "It's
never safe to count the game until the last hand's played. We hain't
fairly begun to lead trumps yit. But what are you fellers fighting for,
anyhow?"

"We'uns foutin' for our liberty, and t' keep yo'uns from takin' our
niggers away."

The reply that came to Shorty's lips was that they seemed to be losing a
great deal of liberty rather than gaining it, but he checked this by the
fear that it would be construed as an ungentlemanly boast of their
capture. He said, instead:

"I never knowed as any of us wanted your niggers\x97me particularly. I
wouldn't take a wagon load of 'em, even if the freight was prepaid. But,
let me ask you, Sergeant, how many niggers do you own?"

"I don't own nary one."

"Does your father own any?"

"No, he don't."

"Does your mother, or brothers, uncles, aunts, or cousins own any?"
persisted Shorty.

"No, thar ain't nary one owned in the hull family."

"Seems to me," said Shorty, "you're doin' a great deal of fightin' to
keep us from takin' away from53 you something that we don't want and you
hain't got. That's the way it looks to a man from north o' the Ohio
River. Mebbe there's something in the Tennessee air that makes him see
differently. I'll admit that I've changed my mind about a good many
things since we crossed the river."

"I've alluz said," spoke another of the prisoners, "that this wuz a rich
man's wah and a pore man's fout."

"Well," said Shorty, philosophically, "for folks that like that sort o'
fightin,' that's the sort o' fightin' they like. I'm different. I don't.
When I fight it's for something that I've got an interest in."

While the discussion was going on Si had been studying the appearance of
the prisoners. In spite of their being enemies his heart was touched by
their comfortless condition. Not one of them had an overcoat or blanket.
The Sergeant and a couple of others had over their shoulders pieces of
the State House carpet, which had been cut up into lengths and sewed
together for blankets. Another had what had once been a gaudy calico
counterpane, with the pat tern "Rose of Sharon" wrought out in flaming
colors. It was now a sadly-bedraggled substitute for a blanket. The
others had webs of jeans sewed to gether.

The buttons were gone from their garments in many essential places, and
replaced by strings, nails, skewers and thorns. Worst of all, almost
every one of them was nearly shoeless. A sudden impulse seized Si.

"Shorty," said he, "these men are going up where the weather is very
cold. I wish I was able to54 give each of them a warm suit of clothes
and a blanket. I ain't though. But I tell you what I will do; I'll go
down to the Quartermaster and see if he'll issue me a pair of shoes for
each of 'em, and charge it to my clothin' account."

"Bully idee," ejaculated Shorty. "I'll go you halves. Mebbe if they git
their understandin' into Yankee leather it'll help git some Yankee idees
into their understandin'. See?"

And Shorty was so delighted with his little joke that he laughed over it
all the way to the Quarter master's wagon, and then rehearsed it for
that officer's entertainment.

Fortunately, the Quartermaster had a box of shoes that he could get at
without much trouble, and he was in sufficiently good humor to grant
Si's request.

They added a warm pair of socks to each pair of shoes, and so wrought up
the A. Q. M.'s sympathies that he threw in some damaged overcoats, and
other articles, which he said he could report "lost in action."

They came back loaded with stuff, which they dumped down on the ground
before the prisoners, with the brief remark:

"Them's, all yours. Put 'em on."

The prisoners were overwhelmed by this generosity on the part of their
foes and captors.

"I alluz thought," said the Sergeant, "that you Yankees wuz not half so
bad ez I believed that yo'uns wuz. Yo'uns is white men, if yo'uns do
want to take away our niggers."

"Gosh," said the man who had uttered the opinion that it was a rich
man's war and a poor man's fight,55 "I'd give all my interest in every
nigger in Tennessee for that ere one pa'r o' shoes. They're beauties, I
tell you. I never had so good a pa'r afore in all my life."

57



CHAPTER V. LINING UP FOR BATTLE THE 200TH IND. GUARDS THE WAGON TRAIN,
AND DEFEATS AN ATTACK.

"RAIN agin to-day," said Shorty, disgustedly, as, on the morning of Dec.
30, 1862, he crawled out of the shelter which he and Si had constructed
by laying a pole in the crotches of two young cedars, and stretching
their ponchos and pup-tents over it. "Doggoned if I don't believe
Tennessee was left out in the flood, and they've been tryin' to make up
for it ever since. I'd rather have the flood at once, and be done with
it, for then I'd join the navy instead of paddlin' 'round in this dirty
glue that they call mud." "Never saw such a grumbler, Shorty," said Si
cheerily, as he punched the soaked embers together to start a blaze to
boil their coffee by. "Last Summer the dust and dry weather didn't suit
you. Do you want to do your soldierin' in heaven?"

"Hurry up with your grub, boys," said the Orderly-Sergeant, who came
spattering through the muck of leaves and mud into which the camping-
ground had been trampled. "The regiment's to move in 15 minutes. The
200th Ind. guards wagon-trains to-day. Yesterday Wheeler's cavalry got
in among our wagons and raised thunder\x97burnt about a mile of 'em."

Shorty grumbled: "That means a tough day's work pryin' wagons out of the
mud, and restin' ourselves between times runnin' after a lot o'
skippin', cavortin' cavalry that's about as easy to ketch as a half-
bushel o' fleas. Anything I hate it's rebel cavalry58 all tear-around
and yell, and when you git ready to shoot they're on the other side o'
the hill."

"Well," said Si, removing a slab of sizzling fat pork from the end of
his rammer, laying it on his hardtack, and taking a generous bite, "we
mustn't allow them to take no wagons away from the 200th Ind., slosh
around as they may. We want all that grub ourselves."

"Well, hump yourselves," said the Orderly-Sergeant, as he spattered on;
"fall in promptly when assembly blows. Got plenty o' cartridges?"

Two or three hours later every man in the 200th Ind., wet to the skin,
and with enough mud on him to be assessable as real estate, was in a
temper to have sassed his gentle old grandmother and whipped his best
friend. He believed that if there was any thing under heavens meaner
than Tennessee weather it was an army mule; the teamsters had even less
sense and more contrariness than the mules; the army wagon was a
disheartening device of the devil, and Tennessee roads had been
especially contrived by Jeff Davis to break the hearts of Union
soldiers.

The rain came down with a steady pelt that drove right through to the
body. The wagon wheels sank into every mud-hole and made it deeper.
Prying out the leading ones seemed only to make it worse for the next.
The discouraged mules would settle back in the breech ings, and not pull
an ounce at the most critical moments. The drivers would become
blundering idiots, driveling futile profanity. In spite of all the mud
the striving, pushing, pulling, prying, lifting, shouting 200th Ind.
gathered up on their hands and clothes, it increased momentarily in the
road.59

The train had strung out over a mile or more of rocky ledges and abysses
of mire. Around each wagon was a squad who felt deeply injured by the
certainty that their infernal luck had given them the heaviest wagon,
the worst mules, and the most exasperating driver in the whole division.

"I couldn't 've made a doggoneder fool than Groundhog, that teamster,"
said Shorty, laying down his rail for a minute's rest, "if I'd 'a' had
Thompson's colt before my eyes for a pattern. That feller was born
addled, on Friday, in the dark of the moon."

"Them mules," dolefully corroborated Si, scraping an acre, more or less,
of red Tennessee soil from his overcoat with a stick, "need to be broke
again with a saw-log. Luck for old Job that the devil didn't think o'
settin' him to drive mules. He'd 'a-bin a-goner in less'n an hour."

"Doggone it, here they come," said Shorty, snatching up his gun.

Si looked in the direction of Shorty's glance. Out of the cedars, a mile
or more away, burst a regiment of rebel cavalry, riding straight for the
front of the train.

With his tribe's keen apprehension of danger, Groundhog had jumped from
his saddle, nervously unhitched his mule, and sprung into the saddle
again, ready for instant fight.

"Get off and hook that mule up agin," commanded Si sternly. "Now get on
your mule and go to the head of your team, take the leaders by the
bridles, and stay there."

"If you ain't standing there holding your mules when we come back I'll
break your worthless neck."60

The bugle sounded "Rally on the right flank," and Si and Shorty joined
the others in a lumbering rush over the miry fields toward the right.
Their soaked clothes hung about them like lead. They had not a spoonful
of breath left when they got to where, half-a-mile away, Co. A had taken
a position in the briers behind a rail fence, and had opened a long-
ranged fire on the cavalry, which was manuvering as if trying to
discover a way to take the company in flank. Another fence ran at right
angles away to the right of Co. A's position. The cavalry started for
that.

"Capt. McGillicuddy," shouted the Colonel, "take your company back to
that fence as quick as you can, run along back of it, and try to keep
those fellows on the other side."

Away the panting company rushed for the fence. The field was overgrown
with those pests of the Southern plowman, called locally "devil's shoe
strings," which stretch from furrow-ridge to furrow-ridge, and are
snares to any careless walker. The excited Indianians were constantly
tripped on these, and fell headlong in the mud. Down Si and Shorty went
several times, to the great damage of their tempers. But in spite of all
rain, mud, lack of breath and devil's shoe-strings the company got to
the fence in advance of the cavalry, and opened a scattering fire as
each man could get his damp gun to go off. Si and Shorty ran back a
little to a hillock, from which they could get long-distance shots on
where the cavalry would probably try to tear down the fence.

"It's all of 600 yards, Si," said Shorty, as he leaned against a young
oak, got his breath back in long gulps, and studied the ground. "We kin
make it, though, with our Springfields, if they'll give us time to cool
down and git our breaths. I declare I want a whole Township of fresh air
every second. That last time I fell knocked enough breath out o' me to
fill a balloon."

"There, they're sendin' out a squad now to go for the fence," said Si,
putting his sight up to 600 yards. "I'll line on that little persimmon
tree and shoot as they pass it. I'll take the fellow on the clay bank
horse, who seems to be an officer. You take the next one on the spotted
bay."

"Better shoot at the hoss," said Shorty, fixing his sight. "Bigger mark;
and if you git the hoss you git the man."

The squad made a rush for the fence, but as the leader crossed the line
Si had drawn on the persimmon tree through his sights, his musket
cracked, and the horse reared and fell over in the mud. Shorty broke the
shoulder of the next horse, and the rider had to jump off.

"Bully shots, boys. Do it again," shouted the Captain of Co. Q, hurrying
some men farther to the right, to concentrate a fire upon the exposed
point.

Si and Shorty hastily reloaded, and fired again at the rebels, who had
pressed on toward the fence, in spite of the fall of their leader. But
not having an object in line to sight on, Si and Shorty did not succeed
in bringing anybody down. But as they looked to see the effect, they
also saw a cannon-flash from a hill away off behind the cavalry, and the
same instant its rifled shot took the top off the young oak about six
feet above Si's head.62

A Close Shave 62

Shorty was the first to recover his wits and tongue. "Doggoned if
somebody else hain't been drawin' a bead on trees," he said, looking
into Si's startled face. "Knows how to shoot, too."

"I didn't notice that measly gun come up there. Did you, Shorty?" said
Si, trying to get his heart back out of his mouth, so that he could
speak plainly.

"No. I didn't. But it's there all the same, and the fellers with it have
blood in their eyes. Le's run over to where the other boys are. I'm a
private citizen. I don't like so much public notice."

They joined the squad which was driving back the rebels who had started
out to break the fence.

Presently the cavalry wheeled about and disappeared in the woods. The
rear was scarcely out of sight, and the 200th Ind. was just beginning to
feel a sense of relief, when there was a sputter of shots and a chorus
of yells away off to the extreme left.

"Just as I expected," grumbled Shorty. "They are jumping the rear of the
train now."

Leaving Co. A to watch the head of the train, the rest of the regiment
bolted off on the double-quick for the rear. They did not get there a
moment too soon. Not soon enough, in fact. As they came over the crest
of the hill they saw Co. B, which had been with the rear, having more
than it could attend to with a horde of yelling, galloping rebels, who
filled the little valley. Co. B's boys were standing up manfully to
their work, and popping away at the rebels from behind fences and rocks,
but the latter had already gotten away from them a wagon which had been
far to the rear, had cut loose the mules and run them off, and were
plundering the wagon, and trying to start a fire under it.

The fusillade which the regiment opened as the men grained the crest of
the hill, put a different64 complexion on the affair. The rebels
recognized the force of circumstances, and speedily rode back out of
range, and then out of sight. As the last of them disappeared over the
hill the wearied regiment dropped down all around to rest.

Groundhog Fled 64

"We can't rest long, boys," said the sympathetic Colonel; "we've got to
start these wagons along."

Presently he gave the order:

"Go back to your wagons, now, and get them out as quickly as you can."

Si and Shorty took a circuit to the left to get on some sod which had
not been trampled into mortar. They heard a volley of profanity coming
from a cedar brake still farther to the left, and recognized the voice
of their teamster. They went thither, and found Groundhog, who had fled
from the scene, after the manner of his race, at the first sound of
firing, but had been too scared to fasten up his traces when he
unhitched his saddle mule. These had flapped around, as he urged his
steed forward, and the hooks had caught so firmly into the cedars when
he plunged into the thicket that he was having a desperate time getting
them loose.

"You dumbed, measly coward," said Si. "I told you I'd blow your head
offen you if you didn't stay by them mules. I ought to do it."

"Don't, Si," said Shorty. "He deserves it, and we kin do it some other
time. But we need him now in our business. He hain't much of a head, but
it's all that he's got and he can't drive without it. Le's git the mule
loose first."

They got the mule out and turned him around toward the wagons.

"Now," said Shorty, addressing Groundhog, "you white-livered son-in-law
of a jackass, git back to that wagon as fast as you kin, if you don't
want me to run this bayonet through you."

There was more straining and prying in the dreary rain and fathomless
mud to get the wagons started.66

"Shorty," said Si, as they plodded alongside the road, with a rail on
one shoulder and a gun on the other, "I really believe that this is the
toughest day we've had yet. What d'you s'pose father and mother'd say if
they could see us?"

Earning Thirteen Dollars a Month 57

"They'd probably say we wuz earning our $13 a month, with $100 bounty at
the end o' three years.," snapped Shorty, who was in no mood for
irrelevant conversation.

So the long, arduous day went. When they were not pulling, pushing,
prying, and yelling, to get the wagons out of mudholes, they were
rushing over the clogging, plowed fields to stand off the nagging rebel
cavalry, which seemed to fill the country as full as the rain, the mud,
the rocks and the sweeping cedars did. As night drew on they came up to
lines of fires where the different divisions were going into line-of-
battle along the banks of Stone River. The mud became deeper than ever,
from the trampling of tens of thousands of men and animals, but they at
least did not have the aggravating rebel cavalry to bother them. They
found their division at last in an old cottonfield, and were instantly
surrounded by a crowd of hungry, angry men.

"Where in blazes have you fellers bin all day?" they shouted. "You ought
to've got up here hours ago. We're about starved."

"Go to thunder, you ungrateful whelps," said Si. "You kin git your own
wagons up after this. I'll never help guard another wagon-train as long
as I'm in the army."



CHAPTER VI. BATTLE OF STONE RIVER THE 200TH IND. IS PRAISED FOR BRAVERY.

THE fagged-out 200th Ind. was put in reserve to the brigade, which lay
in the line-of-battle. After having got the train safely into camp, the
regiment felt that it was incapable of moving another foot.

While their coffee was boiling Si and Shorty broke off a few cedar
branches to lay under them, and keep out the mud. The rain still
drizzled, cold, searching and depressing, but they were too utterly
tired to do anything more than spread their over coats on the branches,
lay their blankets and ponchos over, and crawl in between.

In the few minutes which they allowed to elapse between getting into
camp and going to sleep they saw and heard something of the preparations
going on around them for the mighty battle, but body and brain were too
weary to properly "sense" these. They hardly cared what might happen to-
morrow. Rest for to-day was everything. They were too weary to worry
about anything in the future.

"It certainly looks, Shorty," said Si, as he crawled in, "like as if the
circus was in town, and the big show'd come off to-morrow, without
regard to the68 weather."

"Let it come and be blamed to it," snorted Shorty. "They can't git up
nothin' wuss'n we've bin havin' to-day, let them try their durndest. But
I tell you, Mr. Si Klegg, I want you to lay mighty still to-night. If
you git to rollin' around in your usual animated style and tanglin' up
the bedclothes, I'll kick you out into the rain, and make you stay
there. Do you hear me?"

"You bet I'll lay quiet," said Si, as together they gave the skillful
little kick only known to veteran campaigners by which they brought the
blankets snugly up around their feet. "You could sooner wake up a fence-
rail than me. I want to tell you, too, not to git to dreamin' of pryin'
wagons out of the mud, and chasin' rebel cavalry. I won't have it."

The reveille the next morning would have promptly awakened even more
tired sleepers than Si and Shorty. Even before the dull, damp drums
began rolling and the fifes shrieking the air of enforced gaiety along
the sinuous line of blue which stretched for miles through red, muddy
cottonfields and cedar tangles wet as bath-room sponges, there came from
far away on the extreme right a deepening roll of musketry, punctuated
with angry cannon-shots and the faint echo of yells and answering
cheers.

"That's McCook opening the battle," said the officers, answering the
anxious looks of the men. "He's to hold the rebels out there, while
Crittenden sweeps around on the left, captures Murfreesboro, and takes
them in the rear."

Miles away to the left came the sound of musketry and cannons, as if to
confirm this. But the firing there died down, while that to the right
increased69 with regular, crashing volleys from muskets and artillery.

The 200th Ind. was in that exceedingly trying position for soldiers,
where they can hear everything but see nothing. The cedar thicket in
which they stood shut off the view in every direction. The Colonel kept
officers and men standing strictly in place, ready for any contingency.
Si and Shorty leaned on their muskets and anxiously watched the
regimental commander as he sat rigidly in his saddle, with his fixed
gaze bent in the direction of the awful tumult. The Adjutant had ridden
forward a little ways to where he could get a better view. The other
officers stood stiffly in their places, with the points of their drawn
swords resting on the ground, and their hands clasped on the hilts, and
watched the Colonel intently. Sometimes they would whisper a few words
to those standing near them. The Captain of Co. Q drew geometric figures
in the mud with the point of his sword.

Constantly the deafening crash came nearer, and crept around farther to
the right.

Si gave a swift glance at Shorty. His partner's teeth were set, his face
drawn and bloodless, his eyes fixed immovably on the Colonel.

"Awful fightin' goin' on out there, Shorty," said Si, in hushed voice.
"I'm afraid they're lickin' our fellers."

"Confound it!" snorted Shorty, "why in thunder don't they move us out,
and give us something to do? This is hell standin' here listenin'."

A teamster, hatless and coatless, with his hair70 standing up, came
tearing through the brush, mounted on his saddle-mule.

A chorus of yells and curses greeted his appearance. It was immense
relief for the men to have something to swear at.

A Frightened Teamster 70

"Run, you egg-sucking hound. "Run, you scald-headed dominie.71

"Somebody busted a cap in your neighborhood, old white-liver."

"Seen the ghost of a dead rebel, Pilgarlic?"

"Pull back your eyes, you infernal mulewhacker. A limb'll brush 'em
off."

"Look at his hair standin' up stiffer'n bristles on a boar's back."

"Your mules got more sand 'n you. They're standing where you left 'em."

"Of course, you're whipped and all cut to pieces. You was that when you
heard the first gun crack."

"Get out of the way, and let him run himself to death. That's all he's
fit for."

"You've no business in men's clothes. Put on petticoats."

"Go it, rabbit; go it, cotton-tail you've heard a dog bark."

"Chickee chickee skip for the barn. Hawk's in the air."

"Let him alone. He's in a hurry to get back and pay his sutler's bill."

The teamster gasped out:

"You'd better all git out o' here as fast as the Lord'll let you.
Johnson's Division's cut all to pieces and runnin'. There'll be a
million rebels on top o' you in another minnit."

"Capt. McGillicuddy," said the Colonel sternly, but without turning his
head, "either bayonet that cowardly rascal or gag him and tie him to a
tree."

The Captain turned to give the order to Corp'l Klegg, but the teamster
struck his mule with his whip, and went tearing on through the brush
before the order could be given.72

Some severely-wounded men came slowly pushing their way through the
chaparral.

"It's awful hot out there," they said. "The rebels got the start of us,
and caught our battery horses off to water. They outflanked us bad, but
the boys are standin' up to 'em and they're gettin' help, an 'll lick
the stuffin' out of 'em yet."

The regiment gave the plucky fellows a cheer.

A riderless horse, frantic from his wounds and the terrific noise, tore
through the brush, and threatened to dash over Co. Q. Si and Shorty saw
the danger, and before the Captain could give an order they sprang
forward, and, at considerable risk, succeeded in getting hold of the
reins and partially calming the poor brute. The eagles on the saddle
cloth showed that he belonged to a Colonel. He was led to the rear, and
securely haltered to a young cedar. The incident served a purpose in
distracting for awhile the attention of the regiment.

The noise in front and to the right swept farther away for a little
while, and the men's hearts rose with a cheer.

"Now the reinforcements are getting in. Why in the world don't they send
us forward?" they said.

The Colonel still sat rigidly, with his face straight to the front.

Then the noise began to roll nearer again, and the men's hearts to sink.

The wounded men coming back became a continuous procession. They spoke
less confidently, and were anxious to know what was taking place on
other parts of the line.

"The whole infernal Southern Confederacy's out73 there," said one boy,
who was holding his shattered right hand in his left, with his thumb
pressed hard on the artery, to stanch the blood, "in three lines-of-
battle, stretching from daybreak to sunset. The boys have been standing
them off bully, though, but I don't know how long they can keep it up.
Thomas and Crittenden ought to be walking right over every thing, for
there can't be anybody in front of them. They're all out there."

Two musicians came laboring through, carrying a stretcher on which was
an officer with part of his face shot away. Si felt himself growing
white around the mouth and sick at the stomach, but he looked the other
way, and drew in a long, full breath.

The storm now seemed to be rolling toward them at railroad speed.
Suddenly the woods became alive with men running back, some with their
guns in their hands, many without. Some were white with fear, and
silent; some were in a delirium of rage, and yelling curses. Officers,
bareheaded, and wildly excited, were waving their swords, and calling
regiments and companies by name to halt and rally.

The Adjutant came galloping back, his horse knocking the fugitives right
and left. He shouted, to make himself heard in the din:

"The whole division is broken and going back. Our brigade is trying to
hold the rebels. They need us at once."

The Colonel turned calmly in his saddle, and his voice rang out clear,
distinct, and measured, as if on parade:

"Attention, 200th Indiana!"

"Load at will LOAD!"

A windrow of bright ramrods flashed and weaved in the air. A wave of
sharp, metallic clicks ran from one end of the line to the other.

"Shoulder ARMS!"

"Right FACE!"

"Forward MARCH!"

What happened immediately after emerging from the cedars Si could never
afterward distinctly recall. He could only vaguely remember as one does
the impression of a delirium seeing, as the regiment swung from column
into line, a surging sea of brown men dashing forward against a bank of
blue running along a rail fence, and from which rose incessant flashes
of fire and clouds of white smoke. The 200th Ind. rushed down to the
fence, to the right of the others; the fierce flashes flared along its
front; the white smoke curled upward from it. He did not remember any
order to begin firing; did not remember when he began. He only
remembered presently feeling his gun-barrel so hot that it burned his
hand, but this made him go on firing more rapidly than before. He was
dimly conscious of his comrades dropping around him, but this did not
affect him. He also remembered catching sight of Shorty's face, and
noticing that it was as black as that of a negro, but this did not seem
strange.

He felt nothing, except a consuming rage to shoot into and destroy those
billows of brown fiends surging incessantly toward him. Consciousness
only came back to him after the billows had surged back ward into the
woods, leaving the red mud of the field splotched with brown lumps which
had lately been men.75

As his mind cleared his hand flinched from the hot gun-barrel, and he
looked down curiously to see the rain-drops turn into steam as they
struck it. His throat was afire from the terrible powder thirst. He
lifted his canteen to his lips and almost drained it. He drew a long
breath, and looked around to see what had happened since they left the
cedars. Shorty was by his side, and unhurt. He now under stood why his
face was so black. He could feel the thick incrustation of powder and
sweat on his own. Several of Co. Q were groaning on the ground, and the
Captain was detailing men to carry them back to where the Surgeon had
established himself. Two were past all surgery, staring with soulless
eyes into the lowering clouds.

"Poor Bill and Ebe," said Si, gazing sorrowfully at the bodies. "Co. Q
will miss them. What good boys they\x97"

"Were" stuck in his throat. That those strong, active, ever-ready
comrades of a few minutes before now merely "were" was unspeakable.

His thoughts were distracted by a rebel battery on the hill sending a
volley of shells at the fence. Some went over, and tore gaps in the
cedars beyond. One struck the corner of the fence near him, and set the
rails to flying.

"I like fence-rails in their place as well as any man," said Shorty, as
they dodged around; "but a fence-rail's got no business sailin' 'round
in the air like a bird."

An Aid rode up to the Colonel.

"The General's compliments, Colonel. He directs me to express to you his
highest compliments on the76 splendid manner in which you have defended
your position. You and your men have done nobly. But we are outflanked,
and it will be necessary to retire to a new position about a half-mile
to the rear. You will withdraw your regiment by companies, so as to
attract as little attention from the enemy as possible. As soon as they
are under cover of the cedars you will move rapidly to the new
position."

"Very well," said the Colonel, saluting. "You will be good enough to say
to the General that my men and myself appreciate highly his praise. We
are proud to receive it, and shall try to deserve it in the future. His
orders shall be immediately obeyed."

"They call this a civil war," said Shorty, as an other volley of shells
tore around. "Seems to me sometimes that it's too durned civil. If we're
goin' to git out of here, we might save compliments for a quieter time."

One by one the companies filed back into the cedars, Co. Q being last.
Just as they started the rebels on the opposite hill discovered the
movement, raised a yell, and started across the field.

"Halt Front!" commanded the Captain. "Those fellows are too tumultuous
and premature. We must check them up a little. Wait till they come to
that little branch, then everybody pick his man and let him have it. Aim
below the belt."

The frenzy of the first struggle was now gone from Si's mind; instead
had come a deadly determination to make every shot tell.

"I'm goin' to fetch that mounted officer on their right," he said to
Shorty and those around him.

"Very well," said Shorty. "I'll take that Captain77 near him who's
wavin' his sword and yellin'. The rest o' you fellers pick out different
men."

The rebel line was in the weeds which bordered the branch when the
Captain gave the order to fire.

When the smoke arose the mounted officer and the yelling Captain were
down.

"If somebody else didn't get them, we did," said Shorty, as they turned
and rushed back into the cedars.

The rebels were only checked momentarily. They soon came swarming on,
and as Co. Q crashed through the cedars the rebels were yelling close be
hind. Fortunately, they could not do any effective firing, on account of
the brush. But when they came to the edge of the thicket there was a
long run across a furrowed, muddy cottonfield, to reach the knoll on
which the brigade was re-forming. The battery was already in action
there, throwing shells over the heads of Co. Q at the rebels swarming
out of the cedars in pursuit.

Si and Shorty threw away overcoats, blankets, haversacks and canteens
everything which would impede their running, except their guns and
cartridge-boxes. Their caps were gone, and Si had lost one shoe in the
mud. They all sat down on the ground for a minute and panted to get
their breath.

The rebels were checked, but only temporarily. They were thronging out
in countless multitudes, lining up into regiments and brigades,
preparatory to a rush across the field upon the brigade. Away to the
right of the brigade rebel batteries had been concentrated, which were
shelling it and the ground to the rear, to prevent any assistance being
sent it.78

"Captain," said the Colonel, riding up to Co. Q, "the General says that
we have got to stay here and hold those fellows back until the new line
can be formed along the pike. We haven't ammunition enough for another
fight. You'll have to send a Corporal and a squad back to the pike to
bring up some more. Pick out men that'll be sure to come back, and in a
hurry."

"Corp'l Klegg," said the Captain, without an instant's hesitation, "you
hear what's to be done. Take five men and go."

Si looked around to see if there was someone he could borrow a shoe
from. But that was hardly a time when men were likely to lend shoes. He
picked Shorty and four others. They flung down their guns and started on
a run for the pike.

The batteries were sweeping the fields with shells, but they were so
intent on their errand that they paid no attention to the demoniac
shrieks of the hurtling pieces of iron.

They gained the other side of the field, but as they entered the welcome
shelter of the woods they encountered an officer with a drawn sword,
commanding a line of men.

"Stop there, you infernal, cowardly rascals," he yelled. "Pick up those
guns there, and get into line, or I'll shoot you. You, Corporal, ought
to be ashamed of yourself."

"We're after ammunition for the 200th Ind.," gasped Si. "We must have it
right away. Where's the division ammunition train?"

"That ammunition story's played. Can't work it on me. Where's your
regiment? Where's your79 caps? Where's your shoes? Where's your guns?
You're rattled out of your senses. Stop here and cool off. Pick up guns
there and fall into line."

"Name o' God, Lieutenant," said Shorty excitedly. "This's no time for
any foolishness. Our regiment's out there on the hill without any
ammunition. The rebels are gittin' ready to jump it, four or five to
one. Don't fool, for heaven's sake. There's not a minute to waste. Come
with us and help us git the ammunition. That's a blame sight more
important than stoppin' these here runaways, who're no good when they
are stopped. Come along, for God's sake."

His earnestness impressed the Lieutenant.

"Lieut. Evans," he called out, "take command of the line while I go back
with these men to the ammunition-train. I can get it quicker for them
than they can. Your Colonel should have sent a commissioned officer with
you."

"The Colonel needs all the officers he has left with him," panted
Shorty, running ahead of the rest. "Everybody back there's got all he
can attend to, and we couldn't really be spared."

There was a crowd of similar men surging around the ammunition wagons,
each eager to get his load and rush back. The covers of the wagons had
been torn off, and a man stood in each, pitching the boxes to the
clamoring details. All were excited and reckless. The pitching would be
wild, or the catching bad, and occasionally a box would strike a man on
the head or body and knock him down. He would scarcely stop to swear,
but snatch up his precious box and rush off toward his regiment.80

"Open out here, let us in," commanded the Lieutenant, striking right and
left with the flat of his sword. It was not a moment for gentle
courtesies. The crowd opened up, and Si and Shorty pushed in near the
wheels.

"Now give us six boxes in a hurry," commanded the Lieutenant.

Si caught the first box, Shorty the second, and before the Lieutenant
was hardly done speaking the rest had theirs, and started back on the
run, accompanied by the Lieutenant. The boxes were very heavy and the
mud was deep, but they went faster than they had ever done, even when
running from the rebels.

"I'm awfully afraid you'll have a time getting across the field there,"
said the Lieutenant, as they came to the edge, and he surveyed the
ground in front doubtfully. "Lieut. Evans says they've moved a battery
up closer, and are sweeping the field with canister."

"We don't care what they're shootn'," said Si resolutely. "We're goin'
back to the regiment with these boxes, or die a-tryin'."

"Go on, then, and God help you," said the Lieutenant. "I'd go with you
if I could do any good."

Si arranged his box for a desperate rush. A blast of canister swept
through, cutting down shrubs, splattering the mud, and shrieking
viciously.

"Let's get as far as we can before they fire again," he shouted, and
plunged forward. Half-way across the field his foot caught in a devil's
shoe-string, and down he went in the mud, with the heavy box driving him
deeper.81

Just then another blast of canister hurtled across the field.

A Lucky Fall 81

"Golly, it was lucky, after all, that I was tripped," said Si, rising,
stunned and dripping. "That load of canister was meant for me
personally."

Two minutes later he flung the box down before the company, and sank
panting on the ground. The others came up after. Some had teen grazed by
canister, but none seriously wounded. They arrived just in the nick of
time, for the regiment had expended its last cartridge in repulsing the
last assault, and was now desperately fixing bayonets to meet the next
with cold steel. The lids of the boxes were pried off with bayonets, and
the Sergeants ran along the companies distributing the packages. The
assault was met with a stream of fire, given with steady deadliness,
which sent the rebels back to their covert.

An Aid dashed across the field to the brigade commander.

"The line is now formed," he said. "Retire your command to it."

That night, after the battle had ceased, Si and Shorty were seated on a
rail by the Nashville pike munching rations which they had luckily found
in a thrown-away haversack. They were allowed no fires, they had no
blankets nor overcoats, and it was bitter cold.

"Shorty, you said last night you was sure that they couldn't git up
nothin' to-day that'd be as bad as what we had yesterday," said Si. "I
bel'eve that I'd rather guard wagon-trains and fight cavalry than have
such another day as this."

"I think the lake of brimstone'd be a pleasant change from this,"
snorted Shorty.

84



CHAPTER VII. AFTER THE FIRST DAY THE DISCOMFORTS OF THAT LAST NIGHT OF
1862.

IT WAS so desperately cold and comfortless that Si and Shorty felt that
they must do something or perish.

There were some fragments of cracker-boxes near. With these they dug a
hole several inches deep, put some splinters in, and started a stealthy
blaze. They were careful to sit on the side toward the rebels, the
better to hide from them any sight of it. It was a very small fire, but
there was more relief in it than Si had before gotten from those a
thousand times larger. It kept his unshod foot from freezing, and
brought the blood back to his numb hands.

"Just think, Shorty," said Si; "night before last we had a whole panel
of fence on the fire, and all our blankets and overcoats, and yet you
kicked. I believe this is a judgment on you for not being thankful for
what you receive."

"Judgment be blowed," ejaculated Shorty. "This ain't no judgment; it's
just durned luck that is, what isn't foolishness in sendin' a boy to
mill. If we'd had only half as many men out there in the cedars as the
rebels had we'd licked thunder out of 'em. We simply couldn't whip four
or five to one. McCook didn't size up his job right."

"Well, we have something to be thankful for," said Si, determined to see
the bright side of things. "Neither of us got hurt, which is a
blessing."

"Don't know whether it is or not. If we are goin' to freeze to death
before mornin' I'd rather've bin shot the first volley."

The misty darkness around them was filled with noise and motion. Men who
had become separated from their regiments were wandering around trying
to find them, in the bewildering maze of men, wagons and animals.
Officers were calling aloud the names of regiments to bring together
stragglers. Aids were rushing around to find Generals and Colonels to
give and receive orders and instructions. Regiments and batteries were
marching hither and yon to get into position and complete the formation
of the line for the morrow's battle. The 200th Ind., which had fallen
back in good order with its brigade, was well together, and made an
island around which a restless sea of humanity flowed and eddied. Cheer
less as was its bivouac in the cold mud, yet it was infinitely
preferable to being lost in the inextricable confusion that reigned over
those cottonfields on that sorrowful night of Dec. 31, 1862.

"I'm not goin' to freeze to death," said Si, starting up, at last. "I'm
going to look around and see if I can't find something to make us more
comfortable. Shorty, hold on to that hole in the ground. It's all that
we've got left in the world, and if we lose that I don't know what'll
become of us."

"Better stay here, and not go wanderin' off into that mob," remonstrated
Shorty. "You'll git lost entirely, and never find your way back."85

"I'll not get lost," responded Si. "I've got the lay o' the ground in my
mind. If I did," he continued proudly, "it'd be easy to find you agin.
Everybody knows where the 200th Ind. is."

He went only a little ways, and carefully, at first.

He was rewarded by kicking against an object which upon examination
proved to be a well-filled haver sack, which someone had flung away in
his hurry. He carried it back, rejoicing, to Shorty.

Finding a Good Thing 85

"Finders is keepers," said Shorty, unbuckling the knapsack. "We'll just
call this fair exchange for what we've throwed away in to-day's hustle.
Let's open her up."

"Some new recruit's," said Si, as they examined the inside. "Looks like
the one I packed from Injianny. What's this? I declare if it ain't a
pair o' new shoes, and about my size; and some socks. I tell you,
Shorty, I'm in luck."

He pulled the muddy socks off his shoeless foot, and drew on one of the
warm, homemade affairs, and then the shoe. Both fitted well. He put on
the other sock and shoe, and life at once seemed brighter.

"Shorty," said he, "I shouldn't wonder if I could find a blanket and an
overcoat. You keep on holding that hole down, and I'll go out agin. I
won't be gone long, for I'm dead tired. Just as soon as I find an
overcoat or a blanket to put between us and the mud, I'll come back and
we'll lay down. Every joint in me aches."

He started off less carefully this time. His new shoes made him feel
more like walking. He was some distance from the regiment before he knew
it. He found an overcoat. It had been trampled into the mud by thousands
of passing feet, but still it was an overcoat, and it was not a time to
be too nice about the condition of a garment. Presently he found a
blanket in similar condition. He pulled on the overcoat, and threw the
blanket over his 87shoulders. He felt warmer, but they were very heavy.
Still, he thought he would go on a little ways farther, and perhaps he
would find another overcoat and blanket, which would fix out both him
and his partner.

All this time men were sweeping by him in companies, regiments and
squads; batteries were moving in all directions, and mounted officers
were making their way to and fro. Filling up the spaces between these
were hundreds of men, single and in small groups, wandering about in
search of their regiments, and inquiring of everyone who would stop to
listen to them as to the whereabouts of regiments, brigades and
divisions. No one could give any satisfactory information. Organizations
which had formed a line two miles long in the morning had been driven
back, frequently in tumult and disorder, for miles through the thickets
and woods. Fragmentary organizations had been rallied from time to time.
A fragment of a regiment would rally at one point with fragments of
other regiments and make a stand, while other regiments would rally at
widely-separated places and renew the fight, only to be pushed back
again toward the Nashville Pike. Regiments and brigades that had
remained nearly intact had been rapidly shifted from one point to
another, as they were needed, until the mind could not follow their
changes, or where nightfall had found them, or whither they had been
shifted to form the new line.

At last Si succeeded in picking up another over coat and blanket out of
the mud, and started to go back to the regiment.88

But where was the regiment? He had long since lost all track of its
direction. He had been so intent upon studying the ground for thrown-
away clothing that he had not noticed the course he had taken.

It suddenly dawned on him that he was but one drop in that great ocean
of 35,000 men, surging around on the square miles lying between the
Nashville Pike and Stone River. He looked about, but could see nothing
to guide him. His eyes rested everywhere on dark masses of moving men.
Those immediately around him were inquiring weariedly for their own
regiments; they had no patience to answer inquiries as to his own.
Discouraged, he determined to walk as straight ahead as possible in the
direction which he had come, and see where that would bring him. He was
so tired that he could scarcely drag one foot after another, but he
plodded on. At length he drew out of the throng a little, and saw that
he was approaching the banks of a large stream. This disheartened him,
for they had not been within miles of Stone River during the day. He saw
a group of men huddled around a larger fire than had been permitted near
the front. This, too, was discouraging, for it showed that he had been
forging toward the rear. But he went up to the group and inquired:

"Do any o' you know where the 200th Ind. is?"

The men had become wearied out answering similar questions, and were as
cross as soldiers get to be under similar circumstances.

"The 200th Ind.," snapped one; "better go back to the rear-guard and
inquire. The straggler-ketchers 've got 'em."89

"No," said another; "they skipped out before the rear-guard was formed,
and were all drowned trying to swim the Cumberland."

"They say the Colonel went on foot," said a third, "and was the first
man in the regiment to reach Nashville. Made the best long-distance run
on record."

"You infernal liars," roared Si; "if I wasn't so tired I'd lick the
whole caboodle of you. But I'll say this: Any man who says that the
200th Ind. run, or that our brave Colonel run, or that any man in it
run, is a low-down, measly liar, and hain't a grain a' truth in him, and
he daresn't take it up."

It was a comprehensive challenge, that would have met with instantaneous
response at any other time, but now the men were too exhausted for such
vanities as fisticuffs.

"O, go off and find your rattled, lousy Hoosiers," they shouted in
chorus. "Go talk to the Provost-Marshal about 'em. He's got the most of
'em. The rest are breaking for the Wabash as fast as their legs can
carry them. Don't be bothering us about that corn-cracking, agery
crowd."

"Where'd you leave your regiment, you chuckle-headed straggler?"

"You were so rattled you couldn't tell which way they went."

"Where's your gun?"

"Where's your cartridge-box and haversack?"

"Where's your cap?"

"You were so scared you'd 'a' throwed away your head if it'd been
loose!"

"Clear out from here, you dead-beat."90

Si's Challenge 90

Si was too sick at heart to more than resolve that he would remember
each one of them, and pay them off at some more convenient time. He
turned and walked back as nearly as possible in the direction in which
he had come. He knew that his regiment was at the front, and he had been
forging toward the rear. He knew vaguely that the front was some where
near the Nashville Pike, and as he wearily wound around and through the
bewildering masses, he inquired only for the Nashville Pike.

He reached the Pike, at last, just as he was sinking with fatigue. The
dreary rain had set in again, and he had determined to give the thing
up, and sit down, and wait for morning. He saw a feeble glimmer of light
at a distance, and decided to make one more effort to reach it, and
inquire for his regiment.

"Partner, have you any idee where the 200th Ind. is?" he said meekly to
the man who was crouching over the fire in the hole.

"Hello, Si," said Shorty. "I had given you up long ago. Of course, you
went off and got lost in that mob, as I told you you would. Next time
you'll have sense enough to mind what I say."

"O, Shorty," groaned Si, "don't say nothing. I've nigh walked my legs
offen me. I think I've tramped over every foot of ground betwixt here
and Overall's Crick. But I've brought back two overcoats and two
blankets."

"That's bully," answered Shorty, much mollified. "Say, I've got an idee.
D'you see that white thing over there? That's a wagon. The mules 've
been taken away, and it's been standing there for an hour. I've seen the
Lieutenants and the Orderly-Sergeant sneak back there, and I know what
they're up to. They're goin' to sleep in the wagon. Of course, they're
officers, and got the first pick. But we kin92 lay down under it, and
get out of the rain. Be sides, it looks as if the ground was drier up
there than it is down here."

They slipped quietly back to the wagon, and were lucky enough to find a
little hay in the feed-box, which they could lay down to spread their
blankets upon. They pulled the tail-gate off and set it up on the side
from which the rain was coming.

"There," said Shorty, as they crawled in. "Si, what'd you do without me?
Ain't I a comfort to you every minute of your life?"

"You certainly are, Shorty," said Si, as he fell asleep.



CHAPTER VIII. A GLOOMY NEW YEAR'S DAY THE TWO ARMIES LIE FROWNING AT
EACH OTHER.

SI WAS awakened the next morning by the rain dashing down squarely on
his upturned face. He was lying on the flat of his back, sleeping the
sleep of the utterly outworn, and he got the full force of the shower.

"Plague take it, Shorty," said he, kicking his snoring partner, "you're
at your old tricks again scrougin' me out o' the tent while I'm asleep.
Why can't you lay still, like a white man?"

"It's you, dod rot you," grumbled Shorty, half-awakening. "You're at
your old tricks o' kickin' the tent down. You need a 10-acre lot to
sleep in, and then you'd damage the fence-corners."

They were both awake by this time, and looked around in amazement.

"We went to sleep nice and comfortable, under a wagon last night," said
Shorty, slowly recalling the circumstances. "The two Lieutenants and the
Orderly had the upper berth, and we slept on the ground-floor."

"Yes," assented Si; "and someone's come along, hitched mules to our
bedroom and snaked it off."

"Just the way in the condemned army," grumbled Shorty, his ill-humor
asserting itself as he sat up and looked out over the rain-soaked
fields. "Never kin git hold of a good thing but somebody yanks it94
away. S'pose they thought that it was too good for a private soldier,
and they took it away for some Major-General to sleep under."

A Disagreeable Awakening for Shorty and Si. 94

"Well, I wonder what we're goin' to do for grub?" said Si, as his
athletic appetite began to assert itself.

"Our own wagons, that we had such a time guarding, are over there in the
cedars, and the rebels are filling themselves up with the stuff that we
were so good to bring up for them."

"It makes me jest sizzle," said Shorty, "to think of all we went through
to git them condemned wagons up where they'd be handiest for them."

Si walked down the line toward where the Regimental Headquarters were
established under a persimmon tree, and presently came back, saying:

"They say there's mighty small chance of gettin' any grub to-day.
Wheeler burnt three or four miles of our wagons yesterday, and's got
possession of the road to Nashville. We've got to fight the battle out
on empty stomachs, and drive these whelps away before we kin get a
square meal."

Jan. 1, 1863, was an exceedingly solemn, unhappy New Year's Day for the
Union soldiers on the banks of Stone River. Of the 44,000 who had gone
into the line on the evening of Dec. 30, nearly 9,000 had been killed or
wounded and about 2,000 were prisoners. The whole right wing of the army
had been driven back several miles, to the Nashville Pike. Cannon,
wagon-trains, tents and supplies had been captured by the rebel cavalry,
which had burned miles of wagons, and the faint-hearted ones murmured
that the army would have to surrender or starve.

There was not ammunition enough to fight an other battle. The rebel army
had suffered as heavily in killed and wounded, but it was standing on
its own ground, near its own supplies, and had in addition captured
great quantities of ours.96

The mutual slaughter of the two armies had been inconceivably awful
inexpressibly ghastly, shuddering, sickening. They had pounded one
another to absolute exhaustion, and all that sullen, lowering, sky-
weeping Winter's day they lay and glared at one another like two huge
lions which had fanged and torn each other until their strength had been
entirely expended, and breath and strength were gone. Each was too spent
to strike another blow, but each too savagely resolute to think of
retreating.

All the dogged stubbornness of his race was now at fever point in Si's
veins. Those old pioneers and farmers of the Wabash from whom he sprang
were not particularly handsome to look at, they were not glib talkers,
nor well educated. But they had a way of thinking out rather slowly and
awkwardly it might be just what they ought to do, and then doing it or
dying in the effort which made it very disastrous for whoever stood in
their way. Those who knew them best much preferred to be along with them
rather than against them when they set their square-cornered heads upon
accomplishing some object.

Si might be wet, hungry, and the morass of mud in which the army was
wallowing uncomfortable and discouraging to the last degree, but there
was not the slightest thought in his mind of giving up the fight as long
as there was a rebel in sight. He and Shorty were not hurt yet, and
until they were, the army was still in good fighting trim.

The line of the 200th Ind. was mournfully shorter than it was two days
before, but there were still several hundred boys of Si's stamp gathered
resolutely97 around its flag, the game little Colonel's voice rang out
as sharply as ever, and the way the boys picked up their guns and got
into line whenever a sputter of firing broke out anywhere must have been
very discouraging to Gen. Bragg and his officers, who were anxiously
watching the Union lines through their glasses for signs of
demoralization and retreat.

"We licked 'em yesterday, every time they come up squarely in front o'
the 200th Ind.," Si said to Shorty and those who stood around gazing
anxiously on the masses of brown men on the other side of the field. "We
can do it again, every time. The only way they got away with us was by
sneakin' around through the cedars and takin' us in the rear. We're out
in the open ground now, an' they can't get around our flanks." And he
looked to the extreme right, where every knoll was crowned with a
battery of frowning guns.

"They got their bellies full o' fightin' yesterday," added Shorty,
studying the array judicially. "They hain't none o' the brashness they
showed yesterday mornin', when they were jumpin' us in front, right,
left and rear at the same minute. They're very backward about comin'
forward acrost them fields for us to-day. I only wish they'd try it on."

But the forenoon wore away without the rebels showing any disposition to
make an assault across the muddy fields. Si's vigilant appetite took
advantage of the quiet to assert its claims imperiously.

"Shorty," said he, "there must be something to eat somewhere around
here. I'm goin' to look for it."

"You'll have just about as much chance of findin' it," said Shorty
dolefully, "among that mob o' 98famished Suckers as you would o' findin'
a straw-stack in the infernal regions. But I'll go 'long with you. We
can't lose the regiment in the day time."

"By the way, Shorty," said Si, happening to glance at the sleeves of the
overcoats which he had picked up, "we both seem to be Sergeants."

"That's so," assented Shorty. "Both these are Sergeant's overcoats.
We'll take our guns along, and play that we are on duty. It may help us
out somewhere."

Things looked so quiet in front that the Captain gave them permission,
and off they started. It seemed a hopeless quest. Everywhere men were
ravenous for food. They found one squad toasting on their rammers the
pieces of a luckless rabbit they had cornered in a patch of briars.
Another was digging away at a hole that they alleged contained a
woodchuck. A third was parching some corn found in a thrown-away feed
box, and congratulating themselves upon the lucky find.

Finally they came out upon the banks of Stone River at the place to
which Si had wandered during the night. Si recognized it at once, and
also the voices that came from behind a little thicket of paw paws as
those of the men with whom he had had the squabble.

Si motioned to Shorty to stop and keep silent, while he stepped up
closer, parted the bushes a little, looked through, and listened.

Two men were standing by a fire, which was concealed from the army by
the paw-paws. Four others had just come up, carrying rolled in a blanket
what seemed to be a dead body. They flung it down99 by the fire, with
exclamations of relief, and unrolled it. It was the carcass of a pig so
recently killed that it was still bleeding.

"Hello," exclaimed the others joyfully; "where did you get that?"

"Why," exclaimed one of the others, "we were poking around down there
under the bank, and we happened to spy a nigger cabin on the other side
of the river, hid in among the willers, where nobody could see it. We
thought there might be something over there, so we waded across. There
wasn't any thing to speak of in the cabin, but we found this pig in the
pen. Jim bayoneted it, and then we wrapped it up in our blanket, as if
we wuz taking a boy back to the Surgeon's, and fetched it along. We
couldn't 've got a hundred yards through that crowd if they'd dreamed
what we had. Jerusalem, but it was heavy, though. We thought that pig
weighed a thousand pounds before we got here."

"Bully boys," said the others gleefully. "We'll have enough to eat, no
matter how many wagons the rebels burn. I always enjoyed a dinner of
fresh pork more on New Year's Day than any other time."

Si turned and gave Shorty a wink that conveyed more to that observant
individual than a long telegram would have done. He winked back
approvingly, brought up his gun to a severely regulation "carry arms,"
and he and Si stepped briskly through the brush to the startled squad.

"Here," said Si, with official severity; "you infernal stragglers, what
regiments do you belong to? Sneaking out here, are you, and stealin'
hogs instead of being with your companies. Wrap that pig up100 again,
pick it up, and come along with us to Headquarters."

For a minute it looked as if the men would fight. But Si had guessed
rightly; they were stragglers, and had the cowardice of guilty
consciences. They saw the chevrons on Si's arms, and his positive,
commanding air finished them. They groaned, wrapped up the pig again,
and Si mercifully made the two who had waited by the fire carry the
heaviest part.

Si started them back toward the 200th Ind., and he and Shorty walked
along close to them, maintaining a proper provost-guard-like severity of
countenance and carriage.

The men began to try to beg off, and make advances on the basis of
sharing the pork. But Si and Shorty's official integrity was
incorruptible.

"Shut up and go on," they would reply to every proposition. "We ain't
that kind of soldiers. Our duty's to take you to Headquarters, and to
Headquarters you are going."

They threaded through the crowds for some time, and as they were at last
nearing the regiment a battery of artillery went by at as near a trot as
it could get out of the weary horses in that deep mire. The squad took
advantage of the confusion to drop their burden and scurry out of sight
in the throng.

"All right; let 'em go," grinned Si. "I wuz jest wonderin' how we'd get
rid o' 'em. I'd thought o' takin' them into the regiment and then givin'
them a chunk o' their pork, but then I'd get mad at the way they talked
about the 200th Ind. last night, and want to stop and lick 'em. It's
better as it is. We need all that pig for the boys."101

Si and Shorty picked up the bundle and carried it up to the regiment.
When they unrolled it the boys gave such lusty cheers that the rebels
beyond the field rushed to arms, expecting a charge, and one of our
impulsive cannoneers let fly a shell at them.

Si and Shorty cut off one ham for themselves and their particular
cronies, carried the other ham, with their compliments, to the Colonel,
and let the rest be divided up among the regiment.

One of their chums was lucky enough to have saved a tin box of salt, and
after they had toasted and devoured large slices of the fresh ham they
began to feel like new men, and be anxious for some thing farther to
happen.

But the gloomy, anxious day dragged its slow length along with nothing
more momentous than fitful bursts of bickering, spiteful firing,
breaking out from time to time on different parts of the long line,
where the men's nerves got wrought up to the point where they had to do
something to get the relief of action.

Away out in front of the regiment ran a little creek, skirting the hill
on which the rebels were massed. In the field between the hill and the
creek was one of our wagons, which had mired there and been abandoned by
the driver in the stampede of the day before. It seemed out of easy
rifle-shot of the rebels on the hill.

Si had been watching it for some time. At length he said:

"Shorty, I believe that wagon's loaded with hard tack."

"It's certainly a Commissary wagon," said Shorty, after studying it a
little.102

"Yes, I'm sure that it's one o' them wagons we was guardin', and I
recollect it was loaded with hard tack."

The mere mention of the much-abused crackers made both their mouths
water.

"Seems to me I recognize the wagon, too," said Shorty.

"Shorty, it'd be a great thing if we could sneak along up the creek,
behind them bushes, until we come opposite the wagon, then make, a rush
acrost the field, snatch up a box o' hardtack apiece, and then run back.
We'd get enough to give each o' the boys a cracker apiece. The wagon'd
shelter us comin' and goin', and we wouldn't get a shot."

"It might be," said Shorty, with visions of distributing hardtack to the
hungry boys warping his judgment. "The fellers right back o' the wagon
couldn't shoot to any advantage, and them to the right and left are too
fur off. If you say so, it's a go."

"If the boys could only have one hardtack apiece," said Si, as his last
hesitation vanished, "they'd feel ever so much better, and be in so much
better shape for a fight. Come on, let's try it."

The rest overheard their plan, and began to watch them with eager
interest. They made a circle to the right, got into the cover of the
brush of the creek, and began making their way slowly and carefully up
to a point opposite the wagon. They reached this without attracting
notice, parted the bushes in front of them carefully, and took a good
survey of the wagon and the hill beyond.

The wagon was a great deal nearer the hill than had appeared to be the
case from where the103 regiment lay, and even where they stood they were
in easy range of the rebels on the hill. But the latter were utterly
unsuspicious of them. They were crouching down around fires, with their
guns stacked, and the cannoneers of a couple of guns were at some
distance from their pieces, under a brush shelter, before which a fire
smoldered in the rain.

"It's awful short range," said Si dubiously. "If they were lookin'
they'd tear us and the wagon all to pieces. But our boys is a-watchin'
us, and I don't want to go back without a shy at it. Them fellers seem
so busy tryin' to keep warm that we may get there without their noticin'
us."

"I never wanted hardtack so much in my life as I do this minute," said
Shorty. "I don't care to live forever, anyway. Let's chance it."

They pulled off their overcoats, carefully tied up their shoes, shifted
around so as to be completely behind the wagon, and then started on a
rush through the mud.

For several hundred steps nothing happened, and they began to believe
that they would reach the wagon unnoticed. Then a few shots rang out
over their heads, followed a minute later by a storm of bullets that
struck in the mud and against the wagon. But they reached the wagon, and
sat down, exhausted, on the tongue, sidling up close to the bed to
protect them from the bullets.

Si recovered his breath first, caught hold of the front board and raised
himself up, saw the boxes of coveted hardtack, and was just putting his
hand on one of them when a shell struck the rear end and tore the canvas
cover off. Si sank back again104 beside Shorty, when another shell burst
under the wagon, and filled the air with pieces of wheels, bed, cracker-
boxes and hardtack.

"I don't want no hardtack; I want to find the bank o' that crick,"
yelled Shorty, starting back on the jump, with Si just six inches
behind.

The bullets spattered in the mud all around them as they ran, but they
reached the creek bank with out being struck. They were in such a hurry
that they did not stop to jump, but fell headlong into the water.

"Them hardtack wuz spiled, anyway," said Shorty, as they fished
themselves out, found their overcoats, and made their way back to the
regiment.

They received the congratulations of their comrades on their escape, and
someone fished out all the consolation that the regiment could offer a
couple of brierwood pipes filled with fragrant kinnikinnick. They sat
down, smoked these, and tried to forget their troubles.

The cheerless night drew on. No fires were allowed, and the men huddled
together on the wet ground, to get what comfort they could from the
warmth of each other's bodies.

The temper of the rebels became nastier as the day wore away, and under
the cover of the dark ness they pushed out here and there and opened
worrying fires on the Union line. Suddenly a battery opened up on the
200th Ind. from a bare knoll in front. The rebels had evidently
calculated the range during daylight, and the shells struck around them
in the most annoying way. They threw up showers of mud, scattered the
groups, and kept105 everybody nervous and alarmed. The regiment stood
this for some time, when an idea occurred to Si and Shorty. They went up
to the Colonel and explained:

"Colonel, we've studied the ground out there purty carefully, and we
know that the knoll where that battery is is in close range o' that
crick where we went up this afternoon. If you'll let a few of us go out
there we kin stop them cannoneers mighty soon."

"Sure of that?" said the Colonel alertly.

"Dead sure."

"Very well, then," said the Colonel promptly. "I've been thinking of the
same thing. I'll take the whole regiment out. Put yourselves at the
head, and lead the way."

The regiment was only too eager for the movement. It marched rapidly
after Si and Shorty up the creek bed, and in a very few minutes found
itself on the flank of the obnoxious battery, which was still banging
away into the line which the 200th Ind. had occupied. It was scarcely
200 yards away, and the men's hearts burned with a fierce joy at the
prospect of vengeance. With whispered orders the Colonel lined up the
regiment carefully on the bank, and waited until the battery should fire
again, to make sure of the aim. Every man cocked his gun, took good aim,
and waited for the order. They could distinctly hear the orders of the
battery officers directing the shelling. Three cannon were fired at
once, and as their fierce lights flashed out the Colonel gave the order
to fire. A terrible simoon of death from the rifles of the 200th Ind.
struck down everything in and around the battery.

"That dog's cured o' suckin' aigs," said Shorty, as the Colonel ordered
the regiment to about face and march back.

The 200th Ind. heard no more from that battery that night.



CHAPTER IX. VICTORY AT LAST SI REAPPEARS AS FROM THE GRAVE, WITH AN
APPETITE LIKE PRAIRIE FIRE.

ON THEIR way back from "settling the battery," Si and Shorty each broke
off a big armful of cedar branches. These they spread down on the ground
when the regiment resumed its place in the line-of-battle, and lay down
on them to spend the rest of the night as comfortably as possible. The
fire with which they had roasted the pig, and from which they had drawn
much comfort during the day, had had to be extinguished when darkness
came on. But it had dried out and warmed the ground for a considerable
space around, and on this they made their bed.

"We seem to play in fair luck right along, Shorty," said the hopeful Si,
as they curled up on the boughs. "Most of the boys 've got to lay down
in a foot of mud."

"Don't get to crowin' too loud," grumbled Shorty. "If they find out what
a good thing we have, some Jigadier-Brindle'll snatch it away for
himself." But Si was fast asleep before Shorty finished speaking.

Sometime before midnight the Orderly-Sergeant came around, and after
vigorous kicking and shaking, succeeded in waking them.

"Get up," he said, "and draw some rations. The wagons've got in from
Nashville."108

"My gracious!" said Si, as soon as he was wide enough awake to
understand the Orderly-Sergeant's words, "is it possible that we're
going to have plenty of hardtack and pork and coffee again? Seems to me
a hundred years since we drew a full ration."

He and Shorty jumped up and ran over to where the Quartermaster-Sergeant
and his assistants were dealing out a handful of crackers and a piece of
pork to each man as he came up.

"Mebbe I oughtn't to say it," said Si, as he munched away, taking a bite
first off the crackers in his right and then off the meat in his left,
"but nothing that ever mother baked tasted quite as good as this."

"This does seem to be a specially good lot," assented Shorty. "Probably
a wagon load that they intended for the officers and give us by mistake.
Better eat it all up before they find it out."

The morning of Jan. 2, 1863, dawned bleak and chill, but this at least
brought the great comfort that the dreary rain was at last over. The
sharp air was bracing, and put new life and hope into the hearts of the
Union soldiers. Many wagons had been gotten up during the night,
bringing food and ammunition for all. Soon after daylight cheerful fires
were blazing everywhere, and the morning air was laden with the
appetizing fragrance of boiling coffee and broiling meat. The sun began
to rise over Murfreesboro' and the rebel camps, giving promise of a
bright, invigorating day.

"I hope this thing'll be brought to a focus to-day, and the question
settled as to who shall occupy this piece of real estate," said Shorty,
as he and Si109 finished a generous breakfast, filled their boxes and
pockets with cartridges, and began knocking the dried mud off their
clothes and rubbing the rust from their guns. "I want them gents in
brown clothes to clear out and leave. It frets me to see them hangin'
'round. They're bad neighbors."

"I hope," said Si, carefully picking out the tube of his gun with a pin,
"we won't put in to-day as we did yesterday layin' 'round making faces
an' shakin' our fists at one another. Let's have the thing out at once."

Evidently the rebels were of the same frame of mind. They saluted the
dawn with a noisy fusillade that ran along the miles of winding line. It
was spiteful, crashing and persistent, but as the Union lines lay beyond
good musket range and the rebels showed no disposition to advance across
the fields and come to close quarters, the noise was quite out of
proportion to the harm done.

The two rebel batteries on the opposite side of the river opened up a
terrific fire upon one of our batteries, and the air seemed torn to
shreds by the storm of howling missiles.

The 200th Ind. was too far away to have more than a spectacular interest
in this tempestuous episode. They stood around their gun-stacks and
watched and listened while the hours passed in ineffective noise, and
wondered when the crisis of action was going to arrive.

"They seem to have lost their appetite for close acquaintance with the
200th Ind.," remarked Shorty. "They found that Jordan was a hard road to
travel whenever they came across the fields at us, and are110 tryin' to
scare us by makin' a racket. I think we kin stand it as long as their
powder kin. But I'm gittin' hungry agin. Let's have somethin' to eat."

"Good gracious, it is noon," answered Si, looking up at the sun. "I
believe I do want some dinner."

They had scarcely finished dinner-eating when the 200th Ind. was ordered
to move over toward Stone River. It halted on a little rise of ground on
the bank, which commanded an extensive view on both sides of the river.
There was a portentous flow in the great, dark-blue sea of men. The
billows, crested with shining steel, were rolling eastward toward the
river.

"Something's goin' to happen; meetin's about to break up; school's goin'
to let out," said Shorty eagerly. "Isn't it a grand sight."

"Gracious me!" said Si, devouring the spectacle with his eyes. "How I
wish that father and mother and sister could see all this. It's worth
going through a great deal to see this."

It was by far the most imposing spectacle they had yet seen. The whole
Army of the Cumberland was crowded into the narrow space between the
Nashville Pike and Stone River. Its compact regiments, brigades, and
divisions showed none of the tearing and mangling they had endured, but
stood or moved in well-dressed ranks that seemed the embodiment of
mighty purpose and resistless force.

Around its grand array, a half mile away, lay the somber, portentous
line of brown-clad men. Beyond them rose the steeples and roofs of the
sleepy old town of Murfreesboro', with crowds of men and women occupying
every point of vantage, to witness the renewal of the awful battle.111

It was now long past noon. The bright sun had long ago scattered the
chill mists of the morning, and radiated warmth and light over the dun
landscape. Even the somber cedars lost some of the funereal gloom they
wore when the skies were lowering.

"There go two brigades across the river," said Si. "We're goin' to try
to turn their right."

They saw a long line of men file down the river bank, cross, and go into
line on the high ground beyond. Their appearance seemed to stir the
brown mass lying on the hights a mile in front of them to action. The
rebels began swarming out of their works and moving forward into the
woods.

Presently a thin line of men in butternut-colored clothes ran forward to
a fence in front, and began throwing it down. Behind them came three
long, brown lines, extending from near the river to the woods far away
to the left. Batteries galloped in the intervals to knolls, on which
they unlimbered and opened fire.

It was an overpowering mass of men for the two little brigades to
resist. Si's heart almost stood still as he saw the inequality of the
contest.

"Why don't they send us over there to help those men?" he anxiously
asked. "They can't stand up against that awful crowd."

"Just wait," said Shorty hopefully. "Old Rosy knows what he's doin'.
He's got enough here for the business."

The artillery all along the line burst out in torrents of shells, but
Si's eyes were glued on the two little brigades. He saw the white spurts
from the skirmishers' rifles, and men drop among the rebels,112 who yet
moved slowly forward, like some all-engulfing torrent. The skirmishers
ran back to the main line, and along its front sped a burst of smoke as
each regiment fired by volley. The foremost rebel line quivered a
little, but moved steadily on.

Then a cloud of white smoke hid both Union and rebel lines, and from it
came the sound as of thousands of carpenters hammering away
industriously at nails.

Presently Si was agonized to see a fringe of blue break back from the
bank of smoke, and run rapidly to the rear. They were followed by
regiments falling back slowly, in order, and turning at the word of
command to deliver volleys in the faces of their yell ing pursuers.

Si looked at his Colonel, and saw him anxiously watching the brigade
commander for orders to rush across the river to the assistance of the
two brigades.

Suddenly there was a whirl in front. A battery galloped up, the drivers
lashing the horses, the cannoneers sitting stolidly on the limbers with
their arms folded. It swept by to a knoll in front and to the right,
which commanded the other side of the river. Instantly the gunners
sprang to the ground, the cannon were tossed about as if they were play
things, and before Si could fairly wink he saw the guns lined up on the
bank, the drivers standing by the horses' heads, and the cannons
belching savagely into the flanks of the horde of rebels.

Then another battery swept up alongside the first, and another, until 58
guns crowned the high banks and thundered until the earth shook as with
the ague. A deluge of iron swept the fields where the mighty113 host of
rebels were advancing. Tops were torn out of trees and fell with a
crash, fence-rails and limbs of oak went madly flying through the air,
regiments and brigades disappeared before the awful blast.

For a few minutes Si and Shorty stood appalled at the deafening crash
and the shocking destruction. Then they saw the rebels reel and fly
before the tornado of death.114

A great shout arose from thousands of excited men standing near.
Regiments and brigades started as with one impulse to rush across the
river and pursue the flying enemy. The 200th Ind. was one of these. No
one heard any orders from the officers. The men caught the contagion of
victory and rushed forward, sweeping with them the lately-defeated
brigades, hurrying over the wreckage of the cannon-fire, over the
thickly-strewn dead and wounded, and gathering in prisoners, flags and
cannon.

They went on so, nearly to the breastworks behind which the rebels were
seeking shelter.

Si and Shorty were among the foremost. A few hundred yards from the
rebel works Si fell to the ground without a groan. Shorty saw him, and
ran to him. The side of his head was covered with blood, and he was
motionless.

Si Klegg Fell Without a Groan 113

"Stone dead\x97bullet plum through his head," said the agonized Shorty. But
there was no time for mourning the fallen. The pursuit was still hot,
and Shorty's duty was in front. He ran ahead until the Colonel halted
the regiment. Fresh rebels were lining up in the breastworks and
threatening a return charge which would be disastrous. The Colonel
hastily re-formed the regiment to meet this, and slowly withdrew it in
good order to resist any counter-attack. After marching a mile or more
the regiment halted and went into bivouac. The rejoicing men started
great fires and set about getting supper. But the saddened Shorty had no
heart for rejoicing over the victory, or for supper. He drew off from
the rest, sat down at the roots of an oak, wrapped the cape of his
overcoat about his face, and115 abandoned himself to his bitter grief.
Earth had no more joy for him. He wished he had been shot at the same
time his partner was. He could think of nothing but that poor boy lying
there dead and motionless on the cold ground. He felt that he could
never think of anything else, and the sooner he was shot the better it
would be.

The other boys respected his grief At first they tried to tempt him to
eat something and drink some coffee, but Shorty would not listen to
them, and they drew away, that he might be alone.

He sat thus for some hours. The loss of their sturdy Corporal saddened
the whole company, and as they sat around their fires after supper they
ex tolled his good traits, recounted his exploits, and easily made him
out the best soldier in the regiment.

Presently the fifes and rums played tattoo, and the boys began
preparations for turning in.

Shorty had become nearly frozen sitting there motionless, and he got up
and went to the fire to thaw out. He had just picked up a rail to lay it
on the fire in better shape, when he heard a weak voice in quiring:

"Does anybody know where the 200th Ind. is?"

Shorty dropped the rail as if he had been shot, and rushed in the
direction of the voice. In an instant he came back almost carrying Si
Klegg.

There was a hubbub around the fire that kept everybody from paying the
least attention to "taps."

"Yes, it's really me," said Si, responding as well as he was able to the
hearty handshakings. "And I ain't no ghost, neither. I've got an
appetite on me like a prairie fire, and if you fellers are really
glad116 to see me you'll hustle up here all the grub in the Commissary
Department. I can eat every mite of it. I was hit by a spent ball and
knocked senseless. But I ain't going to tell you any more till I get
something to eat."

118



CHAPTER X. THE VICTORIOUS ARMY SI AND SHORTY FINALLY SUCCEED IN GETTING
OUT OF THE WET.

THE BOYS were so glad to see Si back again alive that they robbed
themselves of any choice morsel of food they might have saved for to-
morrow's delectation.

"Here, Si," said one, "is a nice knuckle-bone o' ham, that I pulled back
there at the General's when his cook returned to the tent for something.
You ought t've heard the nigger cussing as I walked away, but he
couldn't recognize the back o' my head, nor see under my overcoat. Me
and my chum 've had supper off it, and we wuz saving the rest for
breakfast, but I'll brile it for you."

"Some of them Kentucky fellers," said another, "found a sheep in the
briars and killed it. I traded 'em my silk handkerchief for a hunk o'
the meat. I'm going to cook a slice for you, Si."

"Si, I'll bile some coffee for you," said a third.

"I'll toast some crackers for you," added a fourth.

Shorty roused. He felt so much gladder than any of them, that he was
jealous of their attentions.

"See here, you fellers," said he, "this is my partner, an' I'm able to
take care of him. I'll bile all the coffee an' toast all the crackers he
kin eat; though I'm much obliged to you, Jim, for your ham, and to you,
Billy, for your mutton, though I'm afraid it'll taste too much of the
wool for a wounded man."

"Don't mind about that," said Si; "I'm hungry enough to eat the wool on
the sheep's back, even. Hand over your mutton, Billy, and thankee for
it. My appetite's not delicate, I can tell you. Woolly mutton won't faze
it more'n bark would a buzz-saw." Si didn't over-state the case. He ate
everything119 that was cooked and offered him, until he declared that he
was so full he "could touch it with his finger."

Shorty Thinks si Does Not Look Like a Ghost. 118

"I'm sure you're not a ghost, from the way you eat," said Shorty, who
was beginning to recover his propensity for sarcasm. "If ghosts et like
you there'd have to be a steam bakery an' a pork packery run in
connection with every graveyard."

"And I'd never take no ghost to board," said Billy.

"Come, Si," said Jimmy Barlow, filling his briarwood pipe with
kinnikinnick, lighting it from the fire, taking a few puffs to start it,
and handing it to Si, "tell us just what happened to you. We're dyin' to
hear."

"Well," said Si, settling down with the pipe into a comfortable
position, "I don't know what happened. Last thing I knowed I wuz runnin'
ahead on Shorty's left, loadin' my gun, an' tryin' to keep up with the
Colonel's hoss. Next thing I knowed I wuz wakin' up at the foot of a
black-oak. Everything was quiet around me, except the yellin' of two or
three wounded men a little ways off. At first I thought a cannonball' d
knocked my whole head off. Then it occurred to me that if my head was
knocked off I couldn't hear nor see."

"Nor think, even," injected Shorty.

"No, nor think, even. For what'd you think with?"

"I know some fellers that seem to think with their feet, and that blamed
awkwardly," mused Shorty.

"I kept on wakin' up," continued Si. "At first I thought I had no head
at all, an' then it seemed to me I was all head, it hurt so awfully. I
couldn't move hand nor foot. Then I thought mebbe only half my head was
shot away, an' the rest was aching for all.120

"I tried shuttin' one eye an' then the other, an' found I'd at least
both eyes left. I moved my head a little, an' found that the back part
was still there, for a bump on the roots of the oak hurt it.

"By-and-by the numbness began to go out of my head an' arm, but I was
afraid to put my hand up to my head, for I was afraid to find out how
much was gone. Nearly the whole of the left side must be gone, an' all
my schoolin' scattered over the ground. I lay there thinkin' it all over
how awful I'd look when you fellers came to find me and bury me, an' how
you wouldn't dare tell the folks at home about it.

"Finally, I got plum desperate. I didn't seem to be dyin', but to be
gettin' better every minute. I determined to find out just however much
of my head was really gone. I put up my hand, timid-like, an' felt my
forehead. It was all there. I passed my hand back over my hair an' the
whole back of my head was there. I felt around carefully, an' there was
the whole side of my head, only a little wet where I'd got a spent ball.
Then I got mad an' I jumped up. Think of my makin' all that fuss over a
little peck that might have been made by a brick-bat. I started out to
hunt you fellers, an' here I am."

"Yes, but you wouldn't 've bin here," philosophized Shorty, examining
the wound, "if the feller that fired that shot'd given his gun a little
hunch. If that bullet'd went a half-inch deeper, you'd be up among the
stars a bow-legged Wabash angel."

"Well, we've licked the stuffin' out of 'em at last, haven't we?" asked
Si.

"Well, I should say we had," replied Shorty with an impressive whistle.
"I thought the artillery would121 tear the foundations out of the whole
State of Tennessee, the way it let into them. There won't ba more
crashin' an' bangin' when the world breaks up. I'd a-bin willin' to
serve 100 years just to see that sight. Lord, what a chance the
cannoneers had. First time I ever wanted to be in the artillery. The way
they slung whole blacksmith shops over into them woods, an' smashed down
trees, and wiped out whole brigades at a clip, filled my soul with joy."

"We must go over there in the mornin' an' take a look at the place,"
said Si drowsily. "It will be good to remember alongside o' the way they
slapped it to us the first day."

Si and Shorty woke up the next morning to find the chill rain pouring
down as if the country had been suffering from a year's drouth, and the
rain was going to make up for it in one forenoon.

"Lord have mercy," said the disgusted Shorty, as he fell into line for
roll-call. "Another seepin', soppin', sloshin', spatterin' day. Only had
14 of 'em this week so far. Should think the geese 'd carry umbrellas,
an' the cows wear overshoes in this, land of eternal drizzle. If I ever
get home they'll have to run me through a brick-kiln to dry me out."

In spite of the down-pour the army was forming up rapidly to resume the
advance upon Murfreesboro', and over the ground on the left, that had
proved so disastrous to the rebels the day before.

While the 200th Ind. was getting ready to fall in, the sick-call
sounded, and the Orderly-Sergeant remarked to Si:

"Fall into this squad, Corporal Klegg."

"What for?" asked Si, looking askance at the squad.122

"To go to the Surgeon's tent," answered the Orderly-Sergeant. "This is
the sick squad."

"That's what I thought," answered Si; "an' that's the reason I ain't
goin' to join it."

"But your head's bigger'n a bushel, Si," remonstrated the Sergeant.
"Better let the doctor see it."

"I don't want none of his bluemass or quinine," persisted Si. "That's
all he ever gives for anything. The swellin' 'll come out o' my head in
time, same as it does out o' other people's."

"Corporal, I'll excuse you from duty to-day," said the Captain kindly.
"I really think you ought to go to the Surgeon."

"If you don't mind, Captain," said Si, saluting, "I'll stay with the
boys. I want to see this thing to the end. My head won't hurt me half so
bad as if I was back gruntin' 'round in the hospital."

"Probably you are right," said the Captain. "Come along, then."

Willing and brave as the men were, the movements were tiresomely slow
and laggard. The week of marching and lying unsheltered in the rain, of
terrific fighting, and of awful anxiety had brought about mental and
physical exhaustion. The men were utterly worn out in body and mind.
This is usually the case in every great battle. Both sides struggle with
all their mental and physical powers, until both are worn out. The one
that can make just a little more effort than the other wins the victory.
This was emphatically so in the battle of Stone River. The rebels had
exhausted themselves, even, more in their assaults than the Union men
had in repelling them.

When, therefore, the long line of blue labored123 slowly through the mud
and the drenching rain up the gentle slopes on the farther side of Stone
River, the rebels sullenly gave ground before them. At last a point was
reached which commanded a view of Murfreesboro' and the rebel position.
The rebels were seen to be in retreat, and the exhausted Army of the
Cumberland was mighty glad to have them go.

As soon as it was certain that the enemy was really abandoning the
bitterly-contested field, an inexpressible weariness overwhelmed
everybody. The 200th Ind. could scarcely drag one foot after another as
it moved back to find a suitable camping-ground.

Si and Shorty crawled into a cedar thicket, broke down some brush for a
bed, laid a pole in two crotches, leaned some brush against it to make a
par tial shelter, built a fire, and sat down.

"I declare, I never knew what being tuckered out was before," said Si.
"And it's come to me all of a sudden. This morning I felt as if I could
do great things, but the minute I found that them rebels was really
going, my legs begun to sink under me."

"Same way with me," accorded Shorty. "Don't believe I've got strength
enough left to pull a settin' hen offen her nest. But we can't be
drowned out this way. We must fix up some better shelter."

"The Colonel says there's a wagon-load o' rations on the way here," said
Si, sinking wearily down on the ground by the fire, and putting out his
hands over the feeble blaze. "Let's wait till we git something to eat.
Mebbe we'll feel more like work after we've eaten something."

"Si Klegg," said Shorty sternly, but settling down himself on the other
side of the fire, "I never knowed124 you to flop down before. You've
always bin, if any thing, forwarder than me. I was in hopes now that
you'd take me by the back o' the neck and try to shake some o' this
laziness out o' me."

"Wait till the rations come," repeated Si listlessly. "Mebbe we'll fell
livelier then. The shelter we've fixed up'll keep out the coarsest o'
the rain, anyway. Most o' the boys ain't got none."

When the rations arrived, Si and Shorty had energy enough to draw, cook
and devour an immense supper. Then they felt more tired than ever.
Shorty had managed to tear off a big piece of the wagon cover while he
was showing much zeal in getting the rations distributed quickly. He got
the company's share in this, and helped carry it to the company, but
never for a minute relaxed his hold on the coveted canvas. Then he took
it back to his fire. Si and he spent what energy they had left in making
a tolerable tent of it, by stretching it over their shelter. They tied
it down carefully, to keep anybody else from stealing it off them, and
Shorty took the additional precaution of fastening a strip of it around
his neck. Then they crawled in, and before night come on they were
sleeping apparently as soundly as the Seven of Ephesus.

126



CHAPTER XI. WINTER QUARTERS THEY BUILT THEM A HOUSE AND GOT IN OUT OF
THE RAIN.

THE NEXT day Sunday after the battle dawned as clear, bright and
sparkling as only a Winter's day can dawn in Tennessee, after a
fortnight of doleful deluges. Tennessee Winter weather is like the
famous little girl with the curl right down in the middle of her
forehead, who,

"When she was good, she was very, very good, And when she was bad, she
was horrid."

After weeks of heart-saddening down-pour that threatened to drench life
and hope out of every breathing thing, it will suddenly beam out in a
day so crisp and bright that all Nature will wear a gladsome smile and
life become jocund.

When the reveille and the Orderly-Sergeant's brogans aroused Si and
Shorty the latter's first thought was for the strip of canvas which he
had secured with so much trouble from the wagon-cover, and intended to
cherish for future emergencies. He felt his neck and found the strip
that he had tied there, but that was all that there was of it. A sharp
knife had cut away the rest so deftly that he had not felt its loss.

Shorty's boiler got very hot at once, and he began blowing off steam.
Somehow he had taken an especial fancy to that piece of canvas, and his
wrath was hot against the man who had stolen it.

Shorty Retaliates. 126

"Condemn that onery thief," he yelled. "He ought to be drummed out o'
camp, with his head shaved. A man that'll steal ought to be hunted down
and127 kicked out o' the army. He's not fit to associate with decent
men."

"Why, Shorty," said Si, amused at his partner's heat, "you stole that
yourself."

"I didn't nothin' o' the kind," snorted Shorty, "and don't want you
sayin' so, Mr. Klegg, if you don't want to git into trouble. I took it
from a teamster. You ought to know it's never stealin' to take anything
from a teamster. I'll bet it was some of that Toledo regiment that stole
it. Them Maumee River Muskrats are the durndest thieves in the brigade.
They'd steal the salt out o' your hardtack if you didn't watch 'em not
because they wanted the salt, but just because they can't help stealin'.
They ought to be fired out o' the brigade. I'm going over to their camp
to look for it, and if I find it I'll wipe the ground up with the feller
that took it. 'Taint so much the value of the thing as the principle. I
hate a thief above all things."

Si tried to calm Shorty and dissuade him from going, but his partner was
determined, and Si let him go, but kept an eye and ear open for
developments.

In a few minutes Shorty returned, with jubilation in his face, the
canvas in one hand and a nice frying-pan and a canteen of molasses in
the other.

"Just as I told you," he said triumphantly. "It was some o' them Maumee
River Muskrats. I found them asleep in a bunch o' cedars, with our nice
tent stretched over their thievin' carcasses. They'd been out on guard
or scoutin', and come in after we'd gone to sleep. They were still
snorin' away when I yanked the tent off, an' picked up their fryin'-pan
an' canteen o' molasses to remember 'em by."128

"I thought you hated a thief," Si started to say; but real comrades soon
learn, like husband and wife, that it is not necessary to say everything
that rises to their lips. Besides, the frying-pan was a beauty, and just
what they wanted.

It became generally understood during the day that the Army of the
Cumberland would remain around Murfreesboro' indefinitely probably until
Spring to rest, refit and prepare for another campaign. Instructions
were given to regimental commanders to select good camping ground and
have their men erect comfortable Winter quarters.

The 200th Ind. moved into an oak grove, on a gentle slope toward the
south, and set about making itself thoroughly at home.

Si and Shorty were prompt to improve the opportunity to house themselves
comfortably.

Si had now been long enough in the army to regard everything that was
not held down by a man with a gun and bayonet as legitimate capture. He
passed where one of the Pioneer Corps had laid down his ax for a minute
to help on some other work. That minute was spent by Si in walking away
with the ax hidden under his long overcoat. Those long overcoats, like
charity, covered a multitude of sins.

The ax was not sharp no army ax ever was, but Si's and Shorty's muscles
were vigorous enough to make up for its dullness. In a little while they
had cut down and trimmed enough oak saplings to make a pen about the
size of the corn-crib at Si's home. While one would whack away with the
ax the other would carry the poles and build up the pen. By129 evening
they had got this higher than their heads, and had to stop work from
sheer exhaustion.

"I'll declare," said Si, as they sat down to eat supper and survey their
work, "if father'd ever made me do half as much work in one day as I
have done to-day I should have died with tiredness and then run away
from home. It does seem to me that every day we try a new way o' killing
ourselves."

"Well," said Shorty, arresting a liberal chunk of fried pork on the way
to his capacious grinders to cast an admiring glance on the structure,
"it's worth it all. It'll just be the finest shebang in Tennessee when
we git it finished. I'm only afraid we'll make it so fine that Gen.
Rosecrans or the Governor of Tennessee 'll come down and take it away
for him self. That'd just be our luck."

"Great Scott!" said Si, looking at it with a groan; "how much work there
is to do yet. What are we goin' to do for a roof? Then, we must cut out
a place for a door. We'll have to chink between all the logs with mud
and chunks; and we ought to have a fireplace."

"I've bin thinkin' of all them things, and I've thunk 'em out," said
Shorty cheerfully. "I've bin thinkin' while you've bin workin'. Do you
know, I believe I was born for an architect, an' I'll go into the
architect business after the war! I've got a head plumb full of the
natural stuff for the business. It growed right there. All I need is
some more know-how an' makin' plans on paper."

"O, you've got a great big head, Shorty," said Si, admiringly, "and
whatever you start to do you do splendid. Nobody knows that better'n me.
But what's your idee about the roof?"130

"Why, do you see that there freight-car over there by the bridge"
(pointing to where a car was off the track, near Stone River), "I've bin
watchin' that ever since we begun buildin', for fear somebody else'd
drop on to it. The roof of that car is tin. We'll jest slip down there
with an ax after dark, an' cut off enough to make a splendid roof. I
always wanted a tin-roofed house. Old Jack Wilson, who lives near us,
had a tin roof on his barn, an' it made his daughters so proud they
wouldn't go home with me from meetin'. You kin write home that we have a
new house with a tin roof, an' it'll help your sisters to marry better."

"Shorty, that head o' your'n gits bigger every time I look at it."

Si and Shorty had the extreme quality of being able to forget fatigue
when there was something to be accomplished. As darkness settled down
they picked up the ax and proceeded across the fields to the freight-
car.

"There's someone in there," said Si, as they came close to it. They
reconnoitered it carefully. Five or six men, without arms, were
comfortably ensconed inside and playing cards by the light of a fire of
pitch-pine, which they had built upon some dirt placed in the middle of
the car.

"They're blamed skulkers," said Shorty, after a minute's survey of the
interior. "Don't you see they hain't got their guns with 'em? We won't
mind 'em."

They climbed to the top of the car, measured off about half of it, and
began cutting through the tin with the ax. The noise alarmed the men
inside. They jumped out on the ground, and called up:131

"Here, what're you fellers doin' up there? This is our car. Let it
alone."

"Go to the devil," said Shorty, making another slash at the roof with
the ax.

"This is our car, I tell you," reiterated the men. "You let it alone, or
we'll make you." Some of the men looked around for something to throw at
them.

Si walked to the end of the car, tore off the brake-wheel, and came
back.

"You fellers down there shut up and go back in side to your cards, if
you know what's good for you," he said. "You're nothing but a lot of
durned skulkers. We are here under orders. We don't want nothin' but a
piece o' the tin roof. You kin have the rest. If any of you attempts to
throw anything I'll mash him into the ground with this wheel. Do you
hear me? Go back inside, or we'll arrest the whole lot of you and take
you back to your regiments."

Si's authoritative tone, and the red stripes on his arm, were too much
for the guilty consciences of the skulkers, and they went back inside
the car. The tearing off the roof proceeded without further
interruption, but with considerable mangling of their hands by the edges
of the tin.

After they had gotten it off, they proceeded to roll it up and started
back for their "house." It was a fearful load, and one that they would
not have attempted to carry in ordinary times. But their blood was up;
they were determined to outshine everybody else with their tin roof, and
they toiled on over the mud and rough ground, although every132 little
while one of them would make a misstep and both would fall, and the
heavy weight would seem to mash them into the ground.

"I don't wonder old Jake Wilson was proud of his tin roof," gasped Si,
as he pulled himself out of a mudhole and rolled the tin off him and
Shorty. "If I'd a tin roof on my barn durned if my daughter should walk
home with a man that didn't own a whole section of bottom land and drove
o' mules to boot."

It was fully midnight before they reached their pen and laid their
burden down. They were too tired to do anything more than lay their
blankets down on a pile of cedar boughs and go to sleep.

The next morning they unrolled their booty and gloated over it. It would
make a perfect roof, and they felt it repaid all their toils. Upon
measurement they found it much larger each way than their log pen.

"Just right," said Shorty gleefully. "It'll stick out two feet all
around. It's the aristocratic, fashion able thing now-a-days to have
wide cornishes. Remember them swell houses we wuz lookin' at in
Louisville? We're right in style with them."

The rest of Co. Q gathered around to inspect it and envy them.

"I suppose you left some," said Jack Wilkinson. "I'll go down there and
get the rest."

"Much you won't," said Si, looking toward the car; "there ain't no
rest."

They all looked that way. Early as it was the car had totally
disappeared, down to the wheels, which some men were rolling away.133

"That must be some o' them Maumee River Muskrats," said Shorty, looking
at the latter. "They'll steal anything they kin git away with, just for
the sake of stealin'. What on earth kin they do with them wheels?"

"They may knock 'em off the axles an' make hearths for their fireplaces,
and use the axles for posts," suggested Si.

"Here, you fellers," said Shorty, "give us a lift. Let's have a house-
raisin'. Help us put the roof on."

They fell to with a will, even the Captain assisting, and, after a good
deal of trouble and more cut hands, succeeded in getting the piece of
tin on top of the pen and bent down across the ridge-pole. Si and Shorty
proceeded to secure it in place by putting other poles across it and
fastening them down with ropes and strips of bark to the lower logs.

"Your broad cornice is aristocratic, as you say," said the Captain, "but
I'm afraid it'll catch the wind, and tip your house over in some big
storm."

The House Beautiful. 133

"That's so," admitted Shorty; "but a feller that puts on airs always has
to take some chances. I don't want people to think that we are mean and
stingy about a little tin, so I guess we'll keep her just as she is."

The next day they borrowed a saw from the Pioneers, cut out a hole for
the door, and another for the fireplace. They made a frame for the door
out of pieces of cracker-boxes, and hung up their bit of canvas for a
door. They filled up the spaces be tween the logs with pieces of wood,
and then daubed clay on until they had the walls tight. They gathered up
stones and built a commodious fireplace, daubing it all over with clay,
until it was wind and water tight.

"What are we goin' to do for a chimney, Si?" said135 Shorty, as their
fireplace became about breast-high. "Build one o' sticks, like these
rebels around here? That'll be an awful lot o' work."

Solid Comfort. 135

"I've had an idee," said Si. "I ain't goin' to let136 you do all the
thinkin', even if you are a born architect. When I was helpin' draw
rations yesterday, I looked at the pork barrels, and got an idee that
one of them'd make a good chimney. I spoke to Bill Suggs, the
Commissary-Sergeant, about it, and he agreed to save me a barrel when it
was empty, which it must be about now. I'll go down and see him about
it."

Si presently came back rolling the empty barrel. They knocked the bottom
out, carefully plastered it over inside with clay, and set it up on
their fireplace, and made the joints with more clay. It made a splendid
chimney. They washed the clay off their hands, built a cheerful fire
inside, cooked a bountiful supper, and ate it in the light and comfort
of their own fireside. It was now Saturday night. They had had a week of
severer toil than they had ever dreamed of performing at home, but its
reward was ample.

"Ah," said Shorty, as he sat on a chunk of wood, pipe in mouth, and
absorbed the warmth, "this is something like home and home comforts.
It's more like white livin' than I've had since I've bin in the army.
Let's act like men and Christians tomorrow, by not doin' a lick o' work
o' any kind. Let's lay abed late, and then wash up all over, and go to
hear the Chaplain preach."

"Agreed," said Si, as he spread out their blankets for the night.

It had been threatening weather all day, and now the rain came down with
a rush.

"Ain't that music, now," said Shorty, listening to the patter on the
roof. "Nothin' sounds so sweet as137 rain upon a tin roof. Let it rain
cats and dogs, if it wants to. The harder the better. Si, there's
nothin' so healthy to sleep under as a tin roof. I'll never have
anything but a tin roof on my house when I git home. And we've got the
only tin roof in the regiment. Think o' that." But Si was too sleepy to
think.



CHAPTER XII. ADDING TO THEIR COMFORT MAKING ADDITIONS AND IMPROVEMENTS
TO THEIR "HOME."

SI AND Shorty kept Sunday as planned. They really did not know how tired
they were until they formed the resolution to give the day to absolute
restfulness. Then every joint and muscle ached from the arduous toil of
the past week, added to the strains and hardships of a week of battle.

"Used to seem to me," said Shorty, "that when Sunday come after the
first week's plowin' in Spring that I had a bile in every limb. Now I
appear to have one in every j'int, and in my brains as well. I didn't
ever suppose that I could be so tired, and yit be able to set up and
take nourishment."

"Same here," said Si. "Feel as if I ought to be wrapped in cotton
battin' an' sweet oil, an' laid away for awhile."

The only thing about them which did not show deadly lassitude was their
appetites. Fortunately, the Commissary took a liberal view of the
Regulations as to rations, issuing enough to make up for those they had
not drawn during the times when his department was not in working order.
They ate all these and wanted more.

'am I a Soldier of the Cross?' 139

The Quartermaster had also succeeded in re-establishing relations. They
drew from him new139 under-clothing to replace that which they had lost,
took a thorough wash the first good one they had had since Christmas
morning, beat and brushed much of the accumulated mud representing every
variety of140 soil between Murfreesboro' and Nashville out of their
clothes, cleaned and greased their heavy brogans, and went with their
comrades to divine service, feeling that they had made every provision
required for a proper observance of the holy day.

Si had a really fine baritone voice, and led the meeting in singing

"Am I a soldier of the cross?"

After church Shorty said:

"Si, when you were singing so loud about being a soldier of the cross
and a follower of the Lamb I wanted to git right up and tell you that
you'd have to git a transfer from the 200th Ind. We've lots of cross
soldiers, especially on mud marches, but we don't want any soldiers in
this regiment except for the Constitution of the United States and the
laws made in pursuance thereof, against all enemies and opposers
whatsoever, either foreign or domestic. An' as for follerin' the lamb,
you know as well as I do the orders agin foragin'."

"O, dry up, Shorty. I don't believe going to church done you a mite o'
good. I tell you it done me lots."

"There you're mistaken," answered Shorty. "It just done me lots o' good.
Kind o' restored communications with home and respectable folks once
more, an' made me think I still belonged to what the jographies call
civilized and partially-civilized people, something that we seem in
great danger o' forgettin', the way we've bin goin' on."

The good Chaplain's fervent appeals to devote the141 day to earnest
consideration of their soul's welfare could not keep them from spending
the hours in planning and discussing further improvements on the house.

"We must have a real door," said Shorty, looking critically at the strip
of canvas that did duty for that important adjunct. "Muslin looks
shiftless, an', besides, I think it's unhealthy. Lets in drafts, an'
will give us colds."

"Too bad about our ketchin' cold," said Si sardonically. "Most o' the
time lately we've bin sleepin' out with nothin' around us but the State
line of Tennessee."

"Don't be too flip, young man," said Shorty severely. "You have not had
a home with its blessin's long enough to appreciate it. I say we must
have a real door an' a winder that'll let in light, an' a bedstead, an'
a floor o' planks."

"We ought to have 'em, certainly," agreed Si. "But must have 'em is
quite another thing. How are we goin' to git 'em? There's 40,000 men
around here, snatchin' at every piece o' plank as big as your hand."

"Well," retorted Shorty, "we're goin' to have a real door, a winder, and
a plank floor, all the same. They're to be had somewhere in this
country, an' they'll have to run mighty hard to git away from us."

The next morning the Orderly-Sergeant said:

"Corp'l Klegg, you'll take five men, go down to the railroad, and report
to the Commissary to load the wagon with rations."

Si took Shorty and four others and started off on142 this errand. He was
soon so busy rolling heavy pork barrels from the car into the wagon that
he failed to notice that Shorty was not with him. Finally they got the
wagon loaded and started, with them walking alongside, puffing and
sweating from their vigorous labor.

They were not 100 yards away from the train, when the Conductor came
storming up:

"See here, Lieutenant," he said to the Commissary, "some o' them men o'
yours sneaked around and stole the hind door off my caboose while you
was loading up."

"I don't believe a word of it," said the Commissary, firing up at once.
"Mine ain't that kind of men. I'd have you know they don't steal. What
reason have you for saying so?"

"The door was on the car when I came out to meet you, and now it's gone,
and there's been no body near the caboose but your men."

"I know my men were working hard all the time right under my eyes," said
the Lieutenant, growing angrier every minute. "They're not the men to
steal anything, and if they were they didn't have any chance. They were
too busy. You can satisfy yourself that they didn't. You see none of
them have the door with them, and you can search the wagon. Get right in
there and look for it."

The Conductor climbed into the wagon and looked carefully through.

"No, it's not there," he said ruefully.

Then the Commissary's wrath flamed out. "There, confound you, you are at
it again, you infernal civilian, slandering and abusing men who are
fighting143 for their country. Charging them with stealing your old
caboose door. Think of your disgraceful impudence, villifying men who
are shedding their blood for their country by such shameless charges.144

Shorty Confiscates the Caboose Door. 143

"What'd they want with your old car door? Get away from here, before I
lose my temper and do you damage."

The Conductor walked away muttering:

"Blasted thieving whelps o' soldiers, what'll they steal next? Lost all
my train tools at Lavergne, swiped the bedding at Smyrna, got away with
our clothes and dishes at Antioch, stole stove and lanterns at Overall's
Crick, and now they've begun on the cars. I'll be lucky to have enough
wheels left on the engine to run her back to Nashville."

The Commissary continued to fume about the disgraceful charges brought
against his men until they reached camp. The wagon was unloaded and the
squad dismissed.

As Si came up to the "house" he saw Shorty busily engaged in hanging the
caboose door by means of hinges which he had improvised from some boot
tops.

"Why, Shorty," gasped Si, "how did you git away with it?"

"Easy enough," answered his partner. "I saw you fellers gittin' very
busy over them pork barrels, an' all the train hands helpin' you. I
meandered back to the caboose, gently lifted the back door offen its
hinges, slipped down into the weeds in the ditch, an' kept under cover
o' them till I was out o' sight. Say, isn't it just a bully door?"

That afternoon Si and Shorty walked over to where a detail of men were
at work building a bridge across Stone River, under the direction of a
Lieutenant of Pioneers. They had an idea that an opportunity might occur
there to pick up something that would add to their home comforts. The
Lieutenant was bustling about, hurrying the completion of the work
before night. As the detail was made up of squads from various
regiments, he was not acquainted with the men, and had much difficulty
assigning them to the work that would suit them best. He came up to Si,
who still wore the artillery Sergeant's overcoat he had picked up during
the battle, and said sharply:

"Here, Sergeant, don't stand around doing nothing. Set the men a good
example by pitching in lively. There's plenty to do for everybody. If
you can't find anything else, help dig down that bank, and roll those
big stones into the fill. Hold on; I've thought of something else. I
want a reliable man to send over for some lumber. Put one of your men on
that wagon there, and go with him, and take this letter to Capt.
Billings, over at the saw-mill. It's a requisition for a load of lumber.
Avoid the camps as much as possible on your way back, or they'll steal
every inch of it away from you."

"Very good, sir," said Si, saluting. "Shorty, jump on the wagon there,
and gather up the lines."

Shorty very obediently took his place on the seat of the two-horse wagon
employed by the Pioneers for their jobs.

"Hurry up," enjoined the Lieutenant; "we need those boards at once."

"Very good, sir," said Si, saluting.

"This is what I call a puddin'," said Shorty, oracularly, as they drove
away. "The Lord always kin be trusted to help the deservin', if the
deservin' only keep their eyes peeled for His p'inters. This146 comes
from not workin' yesterday and goin' to church."

They drove down to the sawmill, delivered their requisition, and had
their wagon loaded with newly-sawn plank. The Captain had the planks
carefully counted, the number and feet entered upon the record, and set
forth upon the return which he gave to Si to be delivered to the
Lieutenant of Pioneers.

"Too dod-gasted much bookkeepin' in this army," remarked Si, rather
disconsolately, and he put the paper in his blouse pocket, and they
drove away. "Wastes entirely too much valuable time. What'd he count
them boards for? Looked like he suspicioned us. How are we going to git
away with any o' them?"

"I wouldn't have that man's suspicious mind for anything," answered
Shorty. "He don't trust no body. All the same, we're goin' to have
enough boards for our floor."

"How are we goin' to manage it?" asked Si.

"Lots o' ways. There's no need o' your carryin' that paper back to the
Lootenant. I might pick up several hundred feet and sneak away without
your knowin' it. Say," as a bright idea struck him, "what's the use o'
goin' back to the Lootenant at all? Neither of us belongs to his detail.
He don't know us from a side o' sole-leather. What's the matter with
drivin' the wagon right up to camp, and swipin' the whole business,
horses, wagon and all?"

"I hain't been in the army as long as you have, Shorty," said Si
doubtfully. "I've made some progress in petty larceny, as you know, but
I ain't yit quite up to stealin' a span o' horses and a wagon.147 Mebbe
I'll come to it in time, but I ain't quite ready for it now."

"That comes from goin' to church yesterday, and hearin' the Chaplain
read the Ten Commandments," said Shorty wrathfully. "I don't believe
they ought to allow the Chaplains to read them things. They ain't suited
to army life, and there ought to be a general order that they're
prejudicial to good order and military discipline. Where'd the army be
if they obeyed that one about not covetin' a horse or other movable
property? I tell you what we'll do, since you're so milky on the thing:
We'll drive up in front of our house, unload enough boards for our
floor, you git out your gun and bayonet and stand guard over 'em, and
I'll drive the wagon down near the bridge, and jump off and leave it."

"All right," said Si; "that'll do splendidly, if you think you kin dodge
the Lootenant."

"O, he be darned," said Shorty scornfully. "I could git away from him if
I wasn't 10 years old."

They carried out the plan. They drove up in front of their residence,
and threw off a liberal quantity of the boards. The other boys raised a
yell, and made a break for them. But Si ran inside, got his gun, and
established himself on guard.

"Don't you budge an inch from there till I git back," shouted Shorty, as
he drove away. "Don't let one of Co. Q lay a finger on them. They're the
durndest thieves outside the Jeffersonville Penitentiary. You can't
trust one o' them farther than you could sling a bull by the tail. I'll
be back soon."

Shorty drove gaily down until he got close to the bridge. The Lieutenant
had been impatiently148 expecting him, and as soon as the wagon came up
it was surrounded by a crowd of men to unload it. The Lieutenant looked
over the load.

Si Defended the Plunder. 148

"I wonder if he sent enough. Let me see your return," he said, looking
up at the seat, where he expected to find the Sergeant he had put in
charge. But the seat was empty. Shorty had jumped down, prudently
mingled with the crowd, avoided the Lieutenant's eye with much more than
his usual diffidence, and was modestly making his way back to camp
behind a thicket of hazel bushes. When he got to the house he was
delighted to find Si still master of the situation, with all the boards
present and accounted for. They quickly transferred them to the
interior, and found that they had enough for a nice floor, besides a
couple of extra ones, to cut up into a table and stools.

"You done good work in keepin' the other boys offen 'em, Si," said he.
"I was afraid you wouldn't. The only thing I've got agin Co. Q is that
the boys will steal. Otherwise they're the nicest kind o' boys."

A couple of days later they got a pass to go down to Murfreesboro' and
look the sleepy old town over. They were particularly interested in the
quaint old courthouse, which had once been the capitol of Tennessee.
They happened into one of the offices, which was entirely deserted. On
the wall hung a steel engraving of Jeff Davis in a large oak frame.

"That blamed old rebel picture oughtn't to be hangin' there, Si,"
observed Shorty.

"Indeed it oughtn't. Jeff ought to be hung to a sour-apple tree, and
that glass'd make a nice winder for our house."

"Indeed it would," Shorty started to answer, but time was too precious
to waste in speech. In an instant he had shoved an old desk up to the
wall, mounted it, and handed the picture down to Si. They wrapped it up
in their overcoats, and started back for camp. They had seen enough of
Murfreesboro' for that day.



CHAPTER XIII. "HOOSIER'S REST" SI AND SHORTY CHRISTEN THEIR PLACE AND
GIVE A HOUSE-WARMING.

WITH a tin roof, a real door, a glazed window and a plank floor, Si and
Shorty's house was by far the most aristocratic in the cantonment of the
200th Ind., if not the entire Winter quarters of the Army of the
Cumberland. A marble mansion, with all the modern improvements, could
not more proudly overshadow all its neighbors than it did.

Even the Colonel's was no comparison to it. A tent-fly had been made to
do duty for a roof at the Colonel's. It could not be stretched evenly
and tight. It would persistently sag down in spots, and each of these
spots became a reservoir from which would descend an icy stream. A
blanket had to serve as a door, and the best substitute for window glass
were Commissary blanks greased with fat from headquarters' frying-pan.
The floor, instead of being of clean, new plank, as Si's and Shorty's,
was made of the warped and weather-beaten boards of a stable, which had
been torn down by a fatigue detail.

Si and Shorty took as much pride and pleasure in their architecture as
any nabob over his million-dollar villa. They were constantly on the
alert for anything that would add to the comfort and luxury151 of their
home. In their wanderings they chanced to come across an old-fashioned
bedstead in an out house. It was of the kind in which the rails screw
together, and the bed is held up by a strong cord crossing and
recrossing from one rail to another. This looked like real luxury, and
they at once appropriated it without any consultation with the owner,
whoever he may have been.

"It'd be a waste o' time, anyhow," remarked Shorty. "He's a rebel, and
probably over there in Bragg's army."

They made a tick out of the piece of wagon-cover, filled it with beech
leaves, and had a bed which surpassed their most extravagant ideas of
comfort in the army.

"Shorty," said Si, as they snugged themselves in the first night, "this
seems almost too much. Do you ever remember settin' the whole night on a
rail, with nothin' over us but clouds leakin' ice-water?"

"Shut up," said Shorty, giving him a kick under the blankets. "Do you
want me to have a night mare?"

They got a number of flat stones, and laid down a little pavement in
front of their door, and drove an old bayonet into the logs to serve as
a scraper. They rigorously insisted on every visitor using this before
entering.

"For common Wabash-bottom fly-up-the-cricks and private soljers, you're
puttin' on entirely too many frills," said Sol Murphy, the Wagonmaster,
angrily, as it was firmly insisted upon that he stay outside until he
carefully cleaned his shoes on the bayonet. "A man that's afraid o' mud
hain't no152 business in the army. He orter stay at home an' wear
Congress gaiters an' pantalets. You're puttin' on too many scollops, I
tell you. You knowed all 'bout mud in the Wabash bottoms. You had 'nuff
of it there, the Lord knows."

"Yes, we had," replied Shorty; "but we was too well raised to track it
into anybody's parlor."

"Parlor," echoed Sol, with a horse-laugh. "Lord, how fine we are, just
becaze one o' us happens to be a measly little Corporal. In some armies
the Wagonmasters have Corporals to wait on 'em an' black their boots.
Now, I'll tell yo' what I've come for. I've lost my scoop-shovel, an'
I've bin told that you fellers stole it, an' are usin' it to bake hoe-
cakes on. I've come up here to see if you've got it, an' I'm goin' right
in there to see for myself, mud or no mud."

"We hain't got your blamed old scoop-shovel; you can't git it; you ain't
goin' in there until you clean your feet, an' not then onless we
conclude to allow you," Shorty replied.

"I'm goin' in there, or break some Wabash loon's neck," said the
Wagonmaster wrathfully.

"I always did like to get a chance to lick a mule-whacker," said Si,
pulling off his overcoat. "And the bigger and the more consequential he
is, the better. I've never licked a Wagonmaster yit, an' I'm just achin'
for a chance."

The Wagonmaster was the bully of the regiment, as Wagonmasters generally
are. When Si came into the regiment, a green cub, just getting his
growth, and afraid of everybody who assumed a little authority and had
more knowledge of the world than he, the Wagonmaster had been very153
overbearing, and at times abusive. That is the way of Wagonmasters and
their ilk. The remembrance of this rankled in Si's mind.

On the other hand, the Wagonmaster failed to comprehend the change that
a few months of such service as the 200th Ind.'s wrought in verdant,
bashful boys like Si. He thought he could cow him as easily as he did
when Si had timidly ventured to ask His Greatness a modest question or
two as they were crossing the Ohio River. Wagonmasters were always
making just that kind of mistakes.

The other boys ran up to see the fun. The Wagonmaster made a rush for Si
with doubled fists, but Si quickly stepped to one side, and gave the
hulking fellow a tap on the butt of his ear that laid him over in the
mud. The other boys yelled with delight. Next to a Sutler, or a
conceited, fresh young Aid, the soldiers always delighted to see a
Wagonmaster get into trouble.

Si Floors the Wagonmaster. 154

The Wagonmaster sprang up, ready for another round; but the boys raised
the cry that the Officer of the Day was coming, and both Si and the
Wagonmaster remembered that they had business in other parts of the
camp.

The next day Shorty said: "It's all right, Si; we could've kept that
scoop-shovel as long as we wanted to, but I thought that for many
reasons it'd better be got out of the regiment, so I've traded it to
them Maumee Muskrats for a Dutch oven they'd borrowed from their Major."

"Bully," answered Si. "I'd much rather have the Dutch oven, anyway."

Si produced a piece of board, which had been154 painted white, and
evidently done duty as part of the door of a house in Murfreesboro',
looked at it critically, and then selected a piece of charcoal from the
fire, and sat down with an air of studious purpose. "What are you up to
now, Si?" asked Shorty curiously.

"Why," explained Si, "I've noticed, whenever we've bin in any big place,
that all the fine houses have signs or numbers, or something else onto
'em, to name 'em. I've bin thinkin' o' something for155 our house. How
does 'Hoosier's Rest' strike you for a name?"

"Splendid," said Shorty. "Couldn't be better."

"And," continued Si, "I've got this board to make a sign to nail up over
the door. Do you know how to spell Hoosier, Shorty?"

"Blest if I do," answered Shorty. "It wasn't in our book. At least, we
never got to it, if it was. You see our spellin'-school broke up just as
we got to 'incompatible.' The teacher got too fond o' Nancy Billings,
that I was castin' sheep's eyes at myself. He got to givin' her easy
words, to keep her at the head o' the class, and pickin' hard ones for
me, to send me to the foot, where I'd be fur away from her. I wouldn't
stand it always, so me an' him had it out one night before all the
scholars; I got away with him, and he left the country, and busted up
the school."

"Hoosier," repeated Si to himself. "I never saw it spelled. But there
must be some way to spell it. Let me see: 'W-h-o spells who.'"

"That's so," assented Shorty.

"I-s spells 'is,'" continued Si. "Who-is that's right so far. H-e-r-e
spells 'here.' 'Who-is-here?' That seems almost right, don't it,
Shorty?"

"It certainly does," replied Shorty, scratching his head to accelerate
his mental action. "Or it might be, Si, w-h-o, who; i-s, is; and y-e-r,
yer. You know some ignorant folks say yer for you. And they say the name
came from the people who first settled in Injianny sayin' 'Who's yer?'
to any new comer."

"I believe you're right, Shorty," said Si, bending156 over the board
with the charcoal to begin the work. "We'll make it that way, anyway."

The next day passers-by saw a white board nailed up over the door, which
contained a charcoal sketch of a soldier seated on a chunk of wood, with
a pipe in his mouth, taking as much ease as Si could throw into the
outlines of his face and body, and with it was this legend:

"WHO IS YER'S REST."

The next idea that came into the partners' minds was that the
requirements of society demanded that they give a housewarming in their
sumptuous abode. They at once set about making it a memorable social
event.

While out with a wagon after forage they found an Indiana man who had
settled in that country. He had a good orchard. They bought from him a
barrel of pretty hard cider and several bushels of apples. His wife knew
how to make fried dough nuts of real Indiana digestibility. They would
be luxuries for the boys, and a half-bushel were contracted for. The
farmer was to bring them all in his wagon, and Si and Shorty were to
meet him at the pickets and guard the treasures to their abode.

They bought a little bale of fragrant Kinnikinnick tobacco from the
sutler, made a sufficiency of corncob pipes, swept off the ground in
front of their house, which, as there had been no rain for several days,
was in good condition, with brooms of brush, that it might serve for a
dancing-floor, gathered in a stock of pitch-pine knots for their fire,
spoke157 to Bunty Jim to bring his fiddle along, and to Uncle Sassafras,
the Colonel's cook, to come down with his banjo, and their preparations
were completed.

It was a crisp, delightful Winter evening, with the moon at full, the
fire burning brightly, and every body in the best of spirits. The awful
week of marching, enduring and suffering; of terrific fighting,
limitless bloodshed; of wounds and death to one158 out of every four men
in the ranks; of nerve-racking anxieties to all might as well have been
centuries ago for any sign that appeared on the bright, animated faces
of the young men who gathered in front of the cabin. They smoked, danced
old-fashioned country dances to the music of the fiddle and the banjo,
and sang songs which lamented the death of "Lily Dale," mourned that "My
Nelly was sleeping in the Hazel Dell," adjured the "Silver Moon" to
"roll on," and so on through the whole repertoire of the sentimental
ballads of that day.

Then they were invited into the house to inspect its complete, luxurious
appointments, and feast themselves to bursting on apples, hard cider,
and doughnuts that would have tried any stomach but a young soldier's.

Billy Gurney, who had been back to Nashville as one of the guard to a
train-load of wounded, was induced to favor the company with the newest
song, which had just reached that city. He cleared his throat with
another tincupful of cider, and started off with:

"When this cruel war is over."

Rapturous applause followed the first verse, and Billy started in to
teach them the chorus, so they could all join.

A loud explosion came from the fireplace, a campkettle full of cider
that was being mulled by the fire was spattered over the company,
scalding some of them severely; stones from the fireplace and bullets
flew about the room. They all rushed out.159 Footsteps could be heard
running in the distance. They looked in that direction, and recognized
Sol Murphy's broad back and bushy head.

"That blamed Wagonmaster dropped a nosebag with a lot o' cartridges in
it down the chimbly," said Shorty, who had made an inspection of the
fireplace. "Mad because he wasn't invited. You bet, I'll salivate him
well for that little trick."



CHAPTER XIV. DEACON KLEGG'S SURPRISE DECIDES TO VISIT MURFREESBORO' AND
MEETS WITH ADVENTURES.

"MOTHER," said Mr. Josiah Klegg, Sr., suddenly laying down the County
paper, and beginning to polish his spectacles with his red bandanna, "do
you know what I've the greatest mind in the world to do?"

It was an evening in February, 1863, and the family had been sitting for
some hours after supper around the bright fire, engaged in various
occupations.

"No, father," said Mrs. Klegg, looking up from her knitting with such
interest that she dropped several stitches. The girls stopped their
sewing, and turned expectant eyes on their father. When Mr. Josiah
Klegg, sr., announced that he had a great mind to do anything, that
thing stood in imminent danger of being done. He was not given to
ordinary schemes, still less to idle speech. He thought slowly and
doggedly, but when he had arrived at a conclusion there were 200 pounds
of solid, stubborn unchangeable Indiana farmer behind the conclusion.

"What is it, father?" asked Mrs. Klegg, making an automatic effort to
gather up her lost stitches.

"I've a good mind to go down to Murfreesboro' and161 see Si," responded
the father.

"Why, father!" gasped the three "wimmen folks."

"Go down there among them gorillas?" ejaculated Mrs. Klegg.

"And John Morgan raiders," echoed Maria.

"And Secesh soljers, butternut brigands, rebel rascals," added Tilda.

"Well," answered Mr. Klegg, deliberately, "they've been peggin' away at
Si for a good many months now, and they haven't killed him by a jug
full. Guess I kin stand 'em for a few days. The papers say that the
army's settled down at Murfreesboro' for the Winter, and that the
railroad's runnin' all right from Looyiville clean there. I kin do
nothin' 'round the farm for the next three or four weeks, till Spring
opens, except the chores about the house, which Jimmie Watkins kin tend
to as well as I kin. I've got all my fences in good shape, and split all
the rails I need. There's wood enough cut to last the Winter out. I've
hauled all the wheat to town I'm goin' to till prices go higher. I
finished gittin' out my clover seed yesterday, and now there's nothin'
left for a month but to do boy's work 'round the house, or talk politics
down at the store. I'd rather go down and see Si."

"Why, father," remonstrated Mrs. Klegg, "how kin you ever git along in
them camps, and live the way them soljers do?"

"You forgit," said her husband, with a touch of dignity, "that I druv
team for a whole week in the Black Hawk war. I wanted to enlist, but I
was too young. Then I turned out and drilled with the militia as long as
there was any musters. I know a good162 deal more about war than you
think."

"How do you s'pose you'll ever find Si in all that ruck o' men?" said
Mrs. Klegg doubtfully.

"O, they all know Si by this time," returned the father confidently.
"Besides, he's an officer now. I'll go right to Gen. Rosecrans's
Headquarters. He's probably right near him, where he kin have him at any
time. But don't write to Si that I'm comin'. I want to surprise him."

As soon as it was seen that the father was determined to go, mother and
daughters entered upon the scheme with the greatest enthusiasm.

Each began to think of some useful thing that they could send to Si to
add to his comfort. Mrs. Klegg had already knit a couple of pairs of
lambs'-wool socks, and was at work on a third. Maria had knit a pair of
mittens, gay with the National colors and representing the flag. The
blue field with the white stars around the wrists, while the red and
white stripes ran down the fingers. When they were put on the effect was
picturesque, not to say startling.

"When Si holds up his hands," remarked Matilda, "they'll look like big
hollyhock blossoms, and the men'll wonder where he got posies in
Winter."

Matilda contributed a red flannel shirt, upon which she had been engaged
since the beginning of Winter reminded her that such a present would be
very acceptable to Si. She had done a lot of her finest stitching upon
it. Si's initials were wrought in white thread on the cuffs, and on the
bosom was a maze of white lines representing hearts, anchors, roses and
flags of the Union. In the center of these, in letters of bold outline
but rugged execution, was the legend: "Josiah Klegg. His shirt. From
Tildy."163

"Round is the ring, That has no end; So is my luv for you, My dearest
friend."

"I know it ain't quite right to speak of Si as a friend," she explained,
when she spread the shirt out for the family's examination and
admiration; "but I couldn't think of nothin' to rhyme with brother."

"I could," said Maria, in her superior way. "I'd said somethin' like
this:

"The ring's no end From which to t'other; So is the love I send My
onliest brother."

"Maria, you always was so much smarter'n me in writin' poetry," admitted
Matilda. "It would've bin ever so much nicer. But it's too late now to
do it over agin."

Annabel was sorely puzzled what to send. She wanted something that would
be indicative of her feelings toward Si, and yet maiden modesty
restrained with the fear of sending something that might be too
significant. She spent a sleepless night thinking it over, and finally
decided to send a new ambrotype of herself, with a lock of her hair. It
is needless to say that this kept Si warmer than a whole bale of flannel
shirts would have done.

A thousand things occurred to the family that Si would enjoy, from a
couple of feather pillows to a164 crock of "head cheese," of which Si
used to be immensely fond. The old hair trunk was brought down from the
garret, and its dimensions studied. But the next evening Jim Wilkins, of
Co. Q, who was home patching up a leg which had caught a bullet at Stone
River, came in, and his advice was asked.

"No, sir-ree," said he, emphatically. "Don't you never take no trunk nor
no box. Don't you take nothin' that you can't hang on to, and keep your
eye on every minute. I think the Army o' the Cumberland is the most
honestest army in the whole world. I'd knock any man down in a minute
that hinted there was a single thief in it. All the same, the only sure
way to keep anything you want is to never let go of it for a second.
You'd better only take a carpetsack, and look mighty sharp after that,
the nearer you git to the army. Keep one eye on it all the time after
you cross the Ohio River, and both eyes on it when you git to
Murfreesboro'."

A Stoutly-built, Farmer-looking Man Entered the Train 164

A week later a strongly-built, farmer-looking man entered the Nashville
train at Louisville and looked anxiously around among the crowd of
soldiers with which it was filled. His full, resolute face was destitute
of whiskers, except a clump of sandy hair on his chin. He wore a coarse
but warm overcoat, a black slouch hat, around his neck was a voluminous
yarn comforter, and mittens of the same generous proportions were on his
hands, one of which held a bulging blue umbrella and the other a large
striped carpetsack.

He found a vacant seat beside a rough-looking soldier, who had evidently
been drinking, placed his precious carpetsack between his heavy, well-
oiled boots, stuck his umbrella beside it, unwound his comforter, laid
it back on his shoulders, took off his mittens, unbuttoned his overcoat,
and took from his pocket a long plug of navy tobacco, from which he cut
off a liberal chew, and then courteously tendered the plug and knife to
his neighbor, with the ramark:166

"Have a chaw, stranger."

The soldier took the plug, cut it in two, put the bigger part in his own
pocket, sliced off a liberal portion off the other for his own mouth,
and then rather reluctantly handed the remainder, with the knife, back
to Mr. Klegg, without so much as a "thankee."

"Manners seem a little different in the army from what they are in
Injianny," thought Mr. Klegg; "but mebbe the soldier's not had a chance
to git any terbaker for a long time."

He chewed meditatively for some minutes, and then made another friendly
advance toward his seat-partner.

"S'pose we'll start purty soon, won't we, stranger?"

"The devil you do," responded the other surlily, and sending over a
strong whisky breath. "Don't know much about this blamed old start-when-
it-pleases and stop-when-you-don't-want-to railroad. We'll start when
some young sardine with shoulder-straps finishes his breakfast, and stop
when John Morgan tears up the track. If you didn't feed your hog's any
better'n this train runs, old Hayseed, they'd starve to death in a
month."

"He ain't jest what you'd call perlite," thought Mr. Klegg, as he
meditatively chewed for a little while longer. "But mebbe that's the way
in the army. Probably Si's got jest that way, too."

He chewed meditatively for a few minutes longer. The air was getting
very redolent of the fumes from his neighbor's breath. "I hope Si ain't
got to drinking like that," he sighed, as a particularly strong167 whiff
reached him. "If he has, I won't rest a minute till I've yanked him up
before Gen. Rosecrans and made him take the pledge. Gen. Rosecrans can't
afford to have officers around him who drink. 'Tain't right to trust
men's lives to 'em."

"Say, ole Sorrel-top," said the soldier, turning to ward him, "give us
another bite o' that terbaker o' yours, will you?"

Mr. Klegg did not like the tone nor the manner, but he produced his
tobacco, and began prudently clipping off a fair-sized chew for his
companion him self.

"O, the devil, that ain't no chaw," said the other, pulling the tobacco
and knife from his hand. "Don't be stingy with your terbaker, old
Hawbuck. You kin git plenty more."

He sliced a strip off clear across the plug, and stuffed it into his
mouth.

"You don't chaw terbaker. You jest eat it," remonstrated the long-
suffering Mr. Klegg.

"Here, I'll take some o' that, too," said another soldier on the seat in
front, snatching at the knife and tobacco.

"No you won't, you sardine," angrily responded the first soldier. "This
gentleman's a friend o' mine. I won't see him robbed."

The reply was a blow, and the two were soon mixed up in a savage fight.
Mr. Klegg was alarmed, lest one of them should be hurt with the heavy,
sharp knife, and he mixed in to get it in his hand. In the scuffle his
hat, mittens and comforter were thrown to the floor and trampled in the
tobacco juice. The provost-guard rushed in, a stalwart Sergeant168
separated the combatants, jammed the first soldier down in the seat
until the timbers cracked, banged the other one's head against the side
of the car, and remarked:

"Confound you, don't either o' you raise a hand or open your mouths, or
I'll break both your necks. Old man, you keep mighty quiet, too. Hain't
you got no sense, to mix up in such a row? You're old enough to know
better. I'll snatch you off this train if you make any more
disturbance."

Mr. Klegg's blood was up. He wanted to thrash the whole crowd, including
the Sergeant, and felt equal to it. But the cry was raised that the
train was going. The Sergeant hastened off, with a parting admonition to
him to keep still if he knew what was good for him.

"I'm afeared the army's a mighty rough place," thought Mr. Klegg, as he
gathered up his soiled belongings and tried to straighten them out. "I
wonder if it'll git wuss the nearer we git to the front?"

The train pulled out of Louisville, and he became interested in the
great banks of red earth, crowned with surly, black-mouthed cannon,
where the forts were, the rows of white tents in the camps, the
innumerable droves of horses and mules in the corrals, and the long
trains of army wagons.

"I'm goin' to stock up with some horses when I git back," he said to
himself. "The Government seems to need a powerful sight o' them, and
prices is goin' up faster'n wheat."

Things had now been tolerably quiet in the car for over half an hour,
entirely too long for a party of soldiers returning to the front.
Monotonous peace169 was obnoxious to them. A two-fisted young fellow up
toward the front rose up, drained the last drops from a pint flask,
dashed the bottle on the floor, and yelled:

"Here's for a quiet life, and peace and good will.170 I belong to John
F. Miller's Brigade, the best brigade in the Army of the Cumberland, and
the only one that captured any guns at Stone River. I can lick any man
in McCook's Corps."

The answering yell that went up seemed to indicate that nearly all in
the car belonged to McCook's Corps. There was a general peeling off of
overcoats, and a rush forward of answerers to his bold challenge. A few
yelled,

"Hooray for Miller's Brigade!"

"Hooray for Crittenden's Corps!"

"Hooray for Pap Thomas!"

and started in to help out the Miller man. Mr. Klegg rose to his feet in
dismay. Before he could think the soldier beside him picked up his
carpetsack and flung it at the Miller's Brigade man. Mr. Klegg groaned
as he thought of the consequences to a jar of honey and a crock of
butter, which Mrs. Klegg had put in for Si's delectation.

The Free Fight. 169

The combatants came together with the hearty zeal of men who had been
looking for a fight for a straight month. The soldier beside Mr. Klegg
snatched up the umbrella and began laying about him. The crash was
fearful. The backs of the seats were wrenched off, the carpetsack
trodden under foot, the windows broken out, and finally Mr. Klegg found
himself on the floor of the car under a mass of struggling, fighting,
striking and kicking men.

The train came to a halt at a station. The guards on the platform rushed
in, and by dint of a vigorous use of gun-butts and other persuasives,
and more strong language than Mr. Klegg had ever heard before in all his
life, succeeded in quieting the171 disturbance and making the men take
their seats. Mr. Klegg recovered his carpetsack, his comforter, mittens,
hat and umbrella, and sat down again. He turned around and glared at the
soldier by his side.

"If it warn't for startin' another fight," he said to himself, "I'd
punch his infernal head."

But the soldier had gone to sleep; he lolled his head over in Mr.
Klegg's lap and snored loudly.

For two or three hours afterward the train rattled along without
particular incident. Mr. Klegg recovered his composure, and got very
much interested in the country through which they were passing, and its
farming possibilities. These did not strike him favorably, and he was
more than ever convinced that the Wabash Valley was the garden spot of
the world. Finally, the train stopped and backed on to a switch to allow
another to pass.

An enterprising man had put up a shanty near the track, with a long
shelf in front, upon which were displayed sandwiches, pies, boiled eggs,
and other eatables. The men all rushed out of the car. Mr. Klegg had
begun to feel hungry himself, and joined them.

"How much for that pie?" he asked, pointing to one.

"Half-a-dollar," answered the keeper. "Fifty cents for pies, 25 cents
for sandwiches, 10 cents for a cup of coffee."

"Too blamed much," shouted a chorus of voices. "An infernal pirate come
down here to skin the soldiers. Let's clean him out."

Before Mr. Klegg fairly understood the words everything was snatched up.
Those who did not get172 hold of any of the viands began on the shed. It
was torn to pieces, the stove kicked over, the coffee spilled on the
ground, and the eating-house keeper and his assistants scuttled away out
of danger. The whistle sounded, they all rushed back into the cars, and
Mr. Klegg had to stay his hunger with another chew of tobacco.

Again there was tolerable peace for several hours, broken at last by the
sudden stoppage of the train out in the country, the sound of shots, and
the yell of "Guerrillas! Guerrillas!"

Everybody bolted out of the cars. Those who had guns buckled on their
cartridge-boxes, and formed in line, ready for orders. A squad of rebel
cavalry had been trying to tear up the track, but were surprised by the
unexpected appearance of the train. They had fallen back to the top of
the hill, to see how many were aboard, and whether it looked profitable
to make an attack. They were keeping up a desultory fire at long range.

Mr Klegg had seen a gun standing in the corner as he ran out. He picked
it up and joined one of the squads. He was no coward, and if there had
to be fighting, he was willing to do his share.

Mr. Klegg Ready for Action. 172

"Bully for you, old Hayseed," said the man who had wanted to whip any
man in the right wing of the army. "You're made of the right stuff,
after all."

Others around him nodded approval, and Mr. Klegg was conscious that the
social atmosphere was more pleasant for him.

The guerrillas finally decided to give the job up, and rode away, after
yelling some 'very uncomplimentary things about Yankee soldiers
generally.

When Mr. Klegg returned to his seat he found his carpetsack, umbrella,
mittens, and comforter gone. Likewise the man who had been riding with
him. He waxed very wroth, and lifted up his voice to let them know it.
Several around began to guy him, but suddenly the man from Miller's
Brigade forced his way174 through the crowd and asked:

"What's the matter, 'Squire?"

Mr. Klegg explained.

"Well, you've got to have every one of them things back again, if I've
to lick every man on the train. I'll not see an old man and as good a
man as you are mistreated where I am. I've got a father my self."

This time he was in the large majority. All of McCook's men were with
him. A general hunt was instituted through the train, and one by one his
possessions were recovered and brought back to him.

"Thankee, gentlemen; thankee very kindly. Will any o' you gentlemen have
a chaw of terbaker? It's all I have to offer you, but it's good."

When the train pulled into Nashville that night a very tired old farmer
got off and inquired:

"How much farther is it to Murfreesboro'?"

"About 25 miles," someone answered.

"I'm awful glad to hear it. If it was 30 miles I don't believe I could
stand it."



CHAPTER XV. DEACON KLEGG'S ARRIVAL IS MISTAKEN FOR A KNIGHT OF THE
GOLDEN CIRCLE.

"THINGS don't look so tumultuous-like on this train," said Mr. Klegg,
with a sigh of satisfaction, as he seated himself in the car for
Murfreesboro' and deposited his valuables by his side. "I know that boys
will be boys, and I like to see them have fun just as well as any other
man, but I must say that they made things on that other train a little
too lively for a middle-aged Deacon of the Baptist Church."

A broad-shouldered Provost-Sergeant walked through the car, with an air
of authority, and gave orders to several who were seated in it.

"Must be the Constable, or Sheriff, or Town Marshal," mused Mr. Klegg.
"I hope he'll stay on the train till we reach Murfreesboro', and keep
order."

Mr. Klegg was right. The irregularities and disorders of the "rear"
ended at Nashville. There the strict discipline of the "front" began
under the iron sway of the Provost-Marshal, whose guards were
everywhere, particularly at the depots and on the cars. The occupants of
the car were as orderly as the boys at a country school when the master
is on his throne, with his eyes about him.

It was a bright day, and the country roundabout176 of surpassing
interest to the Indiana farmer. He saw the domed, stately capitol of
Tennessee crowning the highest hill, and lording a glorious landscape of
hill and valley, through which the Cumberland River flowed in majestic
sweeps, like a broad girdle of sparkling silver. Then came the frowning
forts, with beetling banks of blood-red clay, with terror-striking black
guns, with rugged palisades, and a porcupine bristle of abatis. Sentries
with gleaming muskets paced their high parapets. Every mile, as far as
he could see, was full of objects of engrossing interest.

He became so absorbed in the feast of his eyes that he did not observe
that a middle-aged, clean shaven man in a suit of dusty black had sat
down beside him, and was studying him with attention.

"How do you do, my friend?" said he at length, putting out his hand.

Mr. Klegg turned with a start, and instinctively put out his hand.

"Howdy," he said, with a tone of little encouragement, for he would much
rather have continued watching the country than indulge in purposeless
conversation. The stranger grasped his hand warmly, and pressed his
thumb upon the first joint of Mr. Klegg's, and caught his little finger
in a peculiar way. Deacon Klegg had been initiated into the Odd Fellows,
and he dimly recognized this as a "grip," but he could not associate it
for the moment with any of the degrees of the brotherhood of the Three
blinks.

"Were you out late last night," said the stranger in a low, deeply-
impressive tone.177

"Not pertickerlerly," answered Deacon Klegg, turning to catch a view of
the stockade at La Vergne, where the 1st Mich. Eng. had made such a
gallant defense. "I'd a mighty bothersome day, and was purty well
tuckered out. I found a good place to sleep, and I turned in rather
airly. Say," continued he, pointing to the wreckage of battle, "the boys
seem to have poked it to 'em purty lively out there."

"It was a very sharp fight," returned the other; "but for once our
friend Wheeler made a mistake, and lost heavily. Down the road farther
you'll see evidences of his more successful work in some miles of burnt
wagons."

"Bad man, that Gen. Wheeler," said the Deacon, looking steadfastly out
of the window.

The stranger looked a little disappointed, but he rallied, and presently
gave the second grand hailing sign of the Knights of the Golden Circle,
in the same low, impressive tone:

"Did you see a star last night?"

"Can't say that I did," responded Mr. Klegg rather indifferently. "There
was lots of gas-lamps burning, and I was rather taken with them, so that
I didn't notice the moon or stars. Besides, as I told you before, I
turned in purty airly, for I was tired with my ride from Looyville, and
I wanted to git in good shape for the trip to-day."

A cloud of annoyance came upon the stranger's face, and he did not speak
again for a minute or two. Then he said:

"You are from Indiana, are you not?"

"Yes," said Mr. Klegg.

"From Posey County?"178

"Yes."

"I knew so. I've been looking for you for several days."

"Looking for me?" said Deacon Klegg, turning around in amazement. "How
come you to be lookin' for me? What business have you got with me? How'd
you know I was a-comin'? Nobody knowed it outside o' Mariar, my wife,
and my family."179

Deacon Klegg and the Knight of The Golden Circle.

"Come, come, now," said the other impatiently. "Don't try to play off on
me. You needn't be afraid. I'm all right. I'm Deputy Grand Organizer for
the Knights for Southern Indiana and the jurisdiction of Louisville
generally. You ought to remember me. I recollect you perfectly. I
organized the Lodges in Poseyville, and all through your County. I
planted the seed there for a big crop of Butternuts that'll help hurl
the tyrant Lincoln from his bloody throne, and give the country back
into the hands of the white man. I got word that you were coming down
with important information from your section for Gen. Bragg and John
Morgan, and I've been on the lookout for you."

An understanding of what the man was, and what he was driving at, began
to slowly filter into Deacon Klegg's mind, and his temper to rise.

"Confound you, you pizen Copperhead," he said wrathfully. "What do you
take me for? Do you take me for a miserable, traitorous Knight o' the
Golden Circle? I'm a member o' the church, or I'd punch your pizen head.
I'm a loyal man, and I've got a son fightin' for the Union."

"H-u-s-h," said the unconvinced man, laying his hand on the Deacon's
arm. "Don't talk so loud. They're watching us."

Klegg shook his hand off angrily, but the warning came too late. The
Provost-Sergeant had been watching them, at the instigation of a sharp-
eyed, clerkly-looking man in semi-uniform.

The Sergeant strode toward them, followed by a soldier with a gun.

"I arrest you both," said he. "You are men that180 we've been looking
for. You'll stay right there in your seats till we get to Murfreesboro',
and this man 'll see that you do."

The soldier took position at the end of the seat, and dropped the end of
his musket on the floor with an I've-got-my-orders-an'-I'm-going-to-
stay-right-here look on his face.

"You've been lookin' for me," gasped Deacon Klegg. "Who else's been
lookin' for me, I'd like to know? Is the whole State o' Tennessee
lookin' for me? What was you lookin' for me for? Think I've run away
from Injianny without pay in' my debts? Think I want to desert my wife
and children? Young man, you don't know Josiah Klegg. I've got a quarter
section of as good land as there is in the Wabash bottoms, and I don't
owe a dollar on it. As for leavin' Maria Klegg, I wouldn't do it for the
whole State of Injianny. What've you been lookin' for me for, I'd like
to know?"

"Old man, I haven't time to talk to you, and it ain't my business.
You'll find out soon enough, when you git to headquarters, and so will
your partner there."

"My partner," echoed Deacon Klegg. "This man's no partner o' mine. I
never laid eyes on him till a half-hour ago."

"Continue your speech at headquarters," said the Sergeant, as he moved
off. "I haven't time to listen to it now. You'd better save your breath
till then, for you'll have to do some mighty slick talkin' to save your
spying neck, I can tell you that."

Deacon Klegg sank back in the seat dumfounded. "What on airth kin he
mean?" he gasped.181

"It's another of the outrages of the despot Lincoln," answered his
companion. "It's another of the arbitrary arrests by his military
satraps. Liberty is dead in this country until we can overthrow that
nigger-loving usurper."

"Shut up," said the Deacon savagely. "If you say another word I'll mash
you. I won't be disturbed when I'm tryin' to think things out."

"I want that carpetsack and umbrella of yours," said the Sergeant,
coming back. "I've no doubt you've got 'em both full of treasonable
documents and information for your rebel friends. Guard, watch both
these men closely, and see that they don't destroy any papers, nor throw
anything out the window."

"Young man," said the Deacon resolutely, "you can't have that carpetsack
or that umbreller. They're my property. If you tech 'em I'll have the
law on you. I'll sue you for trespass, larceny, assault and battery, and
intent to provoke. I hain't done nothin' to justify it. I'm Josiah
Klegg, of Posey County, Injianny, Deacon in the Ebenezer Church, on Mill
Crick. I'm goin' down to Murfreesboro' to visit my son, Josiah Klegg,
jr., o' the 200th Injianny Volunteers. You all know him. He's an
officer; he's the boy that tried to git a commissary wagon away from the
rebels durin' the battle, and he and Shorty 've got a house with a tin
roof."

The other occupants gathered around and laughed derisively.

"Twon't do, old man," said the Sergeant, trying to wrest the carpetsack
away. "You tell a pretty story, and you're well disguised, but we're
onto you.182 We got full particulars about you from Louisville. You're a
bad lot down there in Posey County. There's a Knights of the Golden
Circle Lodge under every sycamore. You'd be at Gen. Bragg's headquarters
to-morrow night if we let you alone."

He pulled hard at the carpetsack, and Deacon Klegg resisted with all his
sturdy might. His strength was quite a match for the Sergeant's, but
other soldiers came to help the latter. The handles came off in the
struggle, and the Deacon was forced down into his seat. The other man
took advantage of the confusion to work his way through the crowd to the
door and jump off. This angered the Sergeant, and coming back to where
Mr. Klegg sat, exhausted and intensely mad, he said:

"I'll make sure that you don't get away, anyhow. I ought to've done this
at first."

So saying, he snapped a hand-cuff over Mr. Klegg's wrist and then over
the arm of the seat.

The Deacon was never so humiliated in his life. He was simply speechless
in his rage and mortification.

Among the many of Gen. Rosecrans's eccentricities and vagrant fancies
was one for prowling around through his camps at night, wearing a
private's overcoat and cap. One night he strolled into the camp of the
200th Ind. The superior architecture of Si and Shorty's cabin struck
him, and he decided to look inside. He knocked on the door.

"Come in," shouted Si.183

He entered, and found Si engaged with Tom Billings in a game of checkers
for the championship of the 200th Ind. Shorty was watching the game
intently, as Si's counselor, and Zeke Tomkins was giving like assistance
to Tom Billings. Two other crack players were acting as umpires. The
light from the fire shone brightly upon them, but left the front of the
room, where the General stood, in complete darkness. They were so
absorbed in the game that they merely looked up, saw that the newcomer
was a private soldier, and supposed that he had merely dropped in to
watch the game.

"Did you clean your feet on the bayonet outside the door?" demanded
Shorty, as he fixed his eyes again on the red and white grains of corn,
which represented the men on the board.

"No, I forgot," said the General quietly. "Well, go right outside and
clean 'em off," ordered Shorty. "Don't want no mud tracked in here for
us to carry out agin."

The General, much amused, went out, carefully scraped his boots, and
then returned.

"All right," said Shorty, looking up as he reentered. "Now look all you
like, but don't say nothin'. Nobody s allowed to say a word but the
players and the umpires."

The game proceeded in silence for several minutes, and the General
became much interested. It was one of his peculiarities that he could
not help getting interested in anything that his soldiers were doing,
from the boiling of a cup of coffee or the pitching of a tent to the
alignment of a company. Si was getting a little the better of Billings,
and184 the General's sympathies naturally went toward the loser. He
touched Billings on the shoulder, as he was about to make a move, and
said:

The General Interrupts the Game 184

"Don't do that. You'll open your king row.

"Move\x97"

Shorty was alert on the instant.

"Shut up," he commanded. "You've no business talkin'; I told you when
you come in you weren't allowed to say nothin'."

"Excuse me," said the General; "I quite forgot."

"Well, see that you don't forgit agin," growled Shorty. "We've got quite
enough talent in the game already. We don't want no more to come in."

Again the game proceeded in intent silence for some minutes. Then Si
called out:

"Hold on; you can't jump backwards with that man. That ain't no king."

"I say it is a king," said Billings. "I got him into the row half an
hour ago, and crowned him. You knocked the crown off when you moved."

"I know better," said Shorty. "I've been watching that piece right
along, and he's never been nearer the king-row than he is this minute."

A hot discussion ensued. The General forgot him self and joined in in
his usual positive, authoritative way.

"I say the man had been crowned. I saw him crowned and the crown
afterward knocked off. There's the crown by the side there."

Shorty's wrath rose. "I told you when you come in here," he said
sharply, "not to mix into this game. You've got no business in it. Keep
your advice till it's asked for, or git out o' the tent. If you don't
git out I'll put you out."

"Be careful, my man," said the General, speaking in his usual way. "You
are talking to an officer."

"I don't care if you are a Lieutenant or a Captain, even," Si chimed in;
"you have no business mixing in a quiet little game o' checkers
between186 enlisted men."

"I am more than a Captain," said the General, opening his overcoat
slightly, to show his double dow of buttons.

"Dern' a Major or a Colonel don't make it much better," said Si,
obdurately, but with much more respect.

"I'm higher than a Colonel," said the General, amusedly, and opening his
overcoat a little farther.

"Excuse us, General," they all murmured, rising to their feet, and
taking the position of a soldier.

"You don't command our brigade, do you?" said Shorty, trying to get a
better view of his face.

"I command this brigade, and several others," said the General,
smilingly enjoying their confusion.

"Lord, a Major-General commanding a corps," gasped Shorty, backing up
with the rest into line, and saluting with the profoundest respect.

"Still higher," laughed the General, stepping for ward to where the
light fell full on his face. "I'm Maj.-Gen. Rosecrans, commanding this
army. But don't be disturbed. You've done nothing. You are all entitled
to your opinions, as free American citizens; but I will insist that that
man had been in the king row, and should be crowned. But you settle that
among yourselves.

"I merely dropped in to compliment you on the skill you have shown in
building your house and its comfort. I'm glad to find that it looks even
better inside than out. I know that you are good soldiers from the way
you take care of yourselves. But so fine a house ought to have a better
checker-board than a barrel-head, with grains of corn for men. Who are
the owners of the house?"187

"Me and him," said Shorty, indicating himself and Si.

"Very good," said the General; "both of you report at my Headquarters
to-morrow morning at 10 o'clock. Good night."

"Three cheers and a tiger for Old Rosey," yelled Shorty as soon as he
could get his scattered wits together enough to say a word.

They gave three such rousing cheers that the rest of Co. Q came running
out of their tents, and joined in cheering, as fast as the news could be
communicated to them.

The next morning a squad of prisoners was being conducted toward Army
Headquarters. At their head walked a stout, middle-aged farmer, carrying
a portly blue umbrella. He had spent the night among the riotous spirits
in the guard-house, and had evidently undergone much wear and tear. He
looked as if things had not been going his way at all. By him marched
the stalwart Provost-Sergeant, with a heavy striped carpetsack under his
arm.

Gen. Rosecrans rode up at the head of his staff, from an early morning
inspection of some part of the camp. The men saluted and cheered.

"Whom have you here, Sergeant?" said the General, reining up his horse
beside the squad.

"That's Gen. Rosecrans," said one of the guards to Deacon Klegg.

"Nobody of importance," replied the Sergeant, "except this old man here.
He's a Knight of the188 Golden Circle, that we've been watching for for
some time, going through with information and other things from the
Knights of Indiana to the enemy in Tullahoma. I've got his carpetsack
here. I expect it's full of papers and contraband stuff. It feels as if
it had lead in it. I am taking him to the Provost-Marshal's for
examination."

He set the heavy carpetsack down on the ground, to rest for a minute.

"Gen. Rosecrans, it's all a plaguey lie," burst out Deacon Klegg. "I'm
as loyal a man as there is in the State of Injianny. I voted for Abe
Lincoln and Oliver P. Morton. I've come down here to visit my son,
Josiah Klegg, jr., of the 200th Injianny Volunteers. You know him,
General. He's one o' your officers. He's a Corporal. He's the boy that
tried to take a commissary wagon away from the rebels durin' the battle,
and he's got a house with a tin roof. You recollect that, don't you?"

Some of the staff laughed loudly, but the General checked them with a
look, and spoke encouragingly to the Deacon.

"Yes, General," continued Mr. Klegg, "I knowed you'd know all about him
the minit I mentioned him to you. I told this over and over agin to
these plaguey fools, but they wouldn't believe me. As to that carpetsack
havin' things for the enemy, it's the biggest lie that ever was told.
I'll open it right here before you to show you. I've only got some
things that my wife and the girls was sendin to Si."

He fumbled around for his keys.

"Possibly you have made a mistake, Sergeant," said the General. "What
evidence have you?"189

"We'd got word to look out for just such a man, who'd play off the dodge
of being an old plug of a farmer on a visit to his son."

Meeting Between si and his Father. 189

"He was on the train with a man whom all the detectives know as one of
the worst Knights in the gang. They were talking together all the way.
I190 arrested the other one, too, but he slipped away in the row this
man made to distract our attention."

In the meantime Deacon Klegg had gotten his carpetsack open for the
General's inspection. It was a sorry sight inside. Butter, honey,
shirts, socks, boots, and cakes are excellent things taken separately,
but make a bad mixture. Deacon Klegg looked very dejected. The rest
grinned broadly.

"I don't seem to see anything treasonable so far," said the General.
"Sergeant, take the rest of your prisoners up to the Provost-Marshal,
and leave this man with me."

"Gen. Rosecrans," said a familiar voice, "you ordered us to report to
you this mornin' at 10 o'clock. We're here."

The General looked up and saw Corporal Si Klegg and Shorty standing at a
"salute."

"Si!" said the Deacon, joyously, sticking out a hand badly smeared with
honey and butter.

"Pap!" shouted the Corporal, taking the hand in rapture. "How in the
world did you git down here?"

They all laughed now, and the General did not check them.

"Corporal," said he, "I turn this man over to you. I'll hold you
responsible that he don't communicate with the enemy. But come on up to
Headquarters and get your checker-board. I have a very nice one for
you."

192



CHAPTER XVI. IN A NEW WORLD DEACON KLEGG HAS A LITTLE EXPERIENCE OF LIFE
IN THE ARMY.

"Pap" said Si, by way of introduction, "this is Shorty, my pardner, and
the best pardner a feller ever had, and the best soldier in the Army of
the Cumberland."

"Glad to see you, Mr. Klegg," said Shorty, reddening and grasping the
father's outstretched hand; "but you orter 've broke that boy o' your'n
o' lyin' when he was young."

"He never did lie," said the Deacon cheerfully, "and I don't believe
he's lyin' now. I've heard a great deal o' you, Mr. Shorty, and I'm sure
he's tellin' the truth about you."

"Drop the Mister, Pap," said Si. "We never call each other Mister here,
except when we're mad."

Si took the carpetsack under his arm, and they trudged up toward Army
Headquarters.

Relieved of anxiety as to his own personal safety, and having found his
son, Deacon Klegg viewed everything around him with open-eyed interest.
It was a wonderfully new and strange world into which the sober,
plodding Indiana farmer had dropped. The men around him spoke the speech
to which his ears were accustomed, but otherwise they were as foreign as
if they had come from the heart of China.193

Their dress, their manners, their actions, the ways in which they were
busying themselves, had no resemblance to anything seen on the prosaic
plains of the Wabash in his half-century of life there. The infantry
sweeping over the fields in endless waves, the dashing cavalcades of
officers and staffs, the bewildering whirl of light batteries dazed him.
Even Si awed him. It was hard to recognize in the broad-shouldered,
self-assured young soldier, who seemed so entirely at home in his
startling surroundings, the blundering, bashful hobbledehoy boy of a few
months before, whose feet and hands were constantly in the way, and into
everything else that they should not be.

"Somehow, Si," he said, looking at his offspring with contemplative eye,
"you seem to have growed like a cornstalk in July, and yit when I come
to measure you you don't seem no taller nor heavier than when you went
away. How is it?"

"Don't know, Pap," Si answered. "I feel as if I'd had more'n 10 long
years o' growth since we crossed the Ohio River. Yit, you don't seem a
minute older than when I went away."

"I didn't feel no older," returned the father, "until I got in that
guard-house last night. Then I could feel my hair gittin' grayer every
hour, and my teeth droppin' out."

"I'm afraid you didn't git much chance to sleep, Pap," said Si
sympathetically.

"Loss o' sleep was the least part of it," said the Deacon feelingly. "I
kin stand a little loss o' sleep without any partickler bother. It
wasn't bein' kept awake so much as the way I was kept awake that bore on
me."

"Why, what happened?" asked Si.

"Better ask what didn't happen," groaned his father. "Used to have some
mighty rough shivarees when I was a boy, and'd jest settled on the
Wabash. Lots o' toughs then, 'specially 'mong the flatboat-men, who'd
nothin' to drink but new sod-cornwhisky, that'd fight in every spoonful.
But for sure, straight-out tumultuousness that guard-house last night
gave six pecks for every bushel of a Wabash shivaree."

Shorty looked meaningly at Si. "Guard-house fellers's likely to be a
ructionary lot o' roosters. Awful sorry you got in among 'em. Was they
very bad?"

"Well, I should say. When I was chucked in they wuz havin' a regular
prize fight, 'cordin' to rules, as to whether Rousseau or Negley wuz the
best General. The Rousseau man got licked, and then the other Rousseau
men wuzzent satisfied, and proposed to lick all the Negley men in the
guard-house; but the Sheridan men interfered, and made the Rousseau men
cool down. They they turned their attention to me. They raised a row
about a citizen being put in among them. It was a disgrace. The guard
house was only intended for soldiers and gentlemen, and no place for
condemned civilians. Then some one said that I had been arrested as a
Knight o' the Golden Circle, on my way to Bragg, with information from
the Injianny Knights. Another insisted that he knowed me, and that I wuz
Vallandigham himself, brought down there to be sent through the lines.
Then I thought sure they'd kill me on the spot. I begged and pled and
denied. Finally, they organized a court-martial to try me for my
life.194

"They had an awful tonguey feller that acted as Prosecutin' Attorney,
and the way he blackguarded me was a shame. He said the word 'traitor'
was wrote in every liniment o' my face; that I wuz a dyed-in-the-wool
butternut, and that the bag I'd brung along with me contained the
muster-rolls of 100,000 Injiannians who'd bin swore in to fight for Jeff
Davis.

"The feller that they appinted to defend me admitted the truth of all
that the other feller'd said. He said that no one could look in my
Southern Injianny face without seem' Secession, treason and nigger-
lovin' wrote there in big letters. He could only ask the honorable court
for mercy instid o' justice, and that I be shot instid o' hung, as I
deserved.

"When they asked me what I'd got to say in my own defense I told 'em the
truth, and said that I'd come down here to visit my son, who they all
knowed they must know Si Klegg. o' the 200th Injianny Volunteers, who
was an officer, and had a house with a tin roof.

"Then they all got up and yelled. They said they knowed Si Klegg only
too well; that he wuz the meanest, oneriest soljer in the army, and that
he looked just like me. They had him in the guard house now. He'd bin
put in for stealin' a hoe-cake from a blind nigger half-way back to
Nashville durin' the battle.

"They brought up the dirtiest, scaliest lookin' man in the guard-house,
and said that was Si Klegg, and that he resembled me so much that they
wuz sure he wuz my son. They asked him if he reckernized me as his dad,
and after they kicked him two195 or three times he said he did, but he
wuz goin' to cut his throat now, since they'd found it out. He couldn't
stand everything. Then they said they'd postpone execution on condition
that I'd kneel down, drink a pint o' whisky, take the oath o' allegiance
to Abe Lincoln, and sing 'We'll hang Jeff Davis on a sour-apple tree.'

"I told 'em I wuz perfectly willin' to take the oath to Abe Lincoln as
often as they pleased; that he wuz my man from start to finish; that I
wanted Jeff Davis hung the minit we ketched him. I'd sing the song if
they'd learn it to me, though I've not sung anything but hymns for the
last 25 years. As for the whisky, I wouldn't tech it on no account, for
I belonged to the Good Templars.

"They all seemed pacified with this except one man, who insisted that I
should drink the whisky. One o' the Sheridan men knocked him down, and
then the fight between the Rousseau men and the Negley men broke out
afresh, and the guard come in and quieted things. By the time they'd
done this they found that the man who had reckernized me as his father
wuz tryin' to hang himself with a piece o' tent-rope. They cut him down,
larruped him with the tent-rope, and then started another court to try
me for havin' sich a son. But some officer come in and took out the
Prosecutin' Attorney and the lawyer for the defense and the Presidin'
Judge and bucked and gagged 'em. This cooled things down agin till
mornin'."

His Honor and the 'attorney' Bucked And Gagged.

"We might walk over to the Provost-Marshal's," suggested Shorty, "and
watch for them fellers as they come out, and take a drop out o' some of
'em."196

"It'll be a waste o' time," said Si, with a shrug of his shoulders.
"They'll all be doing hard labor for the next 30 days, and by that time
we'll likely have a good deal else to think about. Let's report at
Headquarters, and then take Dad over and show him our new house."

"Yes, I'm dying to see it," said the Deacon, "and197 to git somewhere
that I kin sit down in peace and quietness. Seems to me I haven't had a
moment's rest for years, and I'm as nigh tuckered out as I ever wuz in
my life."

At the Army Headquarters was a crowd of officers, mounted and
dismounted. Aids were arriving and departing, and there was a furore
when some General commanding a corps or division came or went, which
impressed the father greatly. Si and Shorty stood at "attention," and
respectfully saluted as the officers passed, and the Deacon tried
awkwardly, but his best, to imitate their example. Two or three spruce
young Orderlies attempted to guy him. but this thing came to a sudden
stop when Shorty took one of them quietly by the ear, and said in a low
voice:

Shorty Admonishes the Orderly 198

"Don't be brash, bub. If you only knowed it, you're givin' your measure
for a first-class, custom-made lickin', and I'm the artist to do the
job. That old man's my chum's father, and I won't allow no funny
business 'round where I am."

"We wuz ordered to report to Gen. Rosecrans," said Si to the Orderly on
duty before the tent.

"What are you to report for?" asked a member of the staff, standing
near. "The General is very busy now, and can see no one. Who ordered you
to report?"

"The General himself," said Si.

The sound of his voice reached Gen. Rosecrans, in side, and busy as he
was, arrested his attention. With the kindly thoughtfulness that so
endeared him to his soldiers he instantly remembered his promise,
dropped his pen, and came to the door.198

"I ordered these men to report," he said to the Aid. "Bring me that
checker-board which lies on my table."

The Aid did so. Gen. Rosecrans noticed the father, and, as usual, saw
the opportunity of doing a kindly, gracious thing.

"You have found your son, I see," he said to him. "Sorry that you had so
much trouble. That's a fine son you have. One of the very best soldiers
in199 my army. I congratulate you upon him. Boys, here is your board and
men. I may drop in some evening and see you play a game. I'll be careful
to clean my feet, this time."

Si and Shorty got very red in the face at this allusion, and began to
stammer excuses. The General playfully pinched Si's ear and said:

"Go to your quarters now, you young rascal, and take your father with
you. I hope he'll have a very pleasant time while he is in camp."

They saluted and turned away too full for utterance. After they had gone
a little distance the Deacon remarked, as if communing with himself:

"And that is Gen. Rosecrans. Awful nice man. Nicest man I ever saw.
Greatest General in the world. Won't this be something to tell Mariar
and the girls. And the men down at the store. I'd 've come down here 40
times jest to 've seen him and talked with him. What'd last night in the
guard house amount to, after all? A man must expect some trouble
occasionally. Wouldn't have no fun if he didn't. Say, Si, remember Old
Susy's chestnut colt?"

"Yes," answered Si.

"I thought he had in him the makin' o' the finest horse in Posey
County."

"Yes," said Si.

"Well, he's turnin' out even better'n I thought he would. Shouldn't
wonder if he could trot down somewhere nigh 2:40."

"You don't say so."

"Yes, indeed. You used to want that colt mighty bad, Si."200

"I remember that I did, Pap."

"Well, Si, I'll give you that colt, and take good care o' him till you
come home, for that 'ere checker board."

When they arrived at their house Si and Shorty arranged the things so as
to give the Deacon a most comfortable rest after his trying experiences,
and cooked him the best dinner their larder would afford. After dinner
they filled him a pipe-full of kinni-kinnick, and the old gentleman sat
down to enjoy201 it while Si and Shorty investigated the contents of the
carpetsack. They found endless fun in its woeful condition. The butter
and honey were smeared over everything, in the rough handling which it
had endured. They pulled out the shirt, the socks, the boots, the paper
and books, and scraped off carefully as much as they could of the
precious honey and butter.

"It's too good to waste the least bit," said Shorty, tasting it from
time to time with unction. "Don't mind a hair or two in the butter, this
time, Si. I kin believe your mother is a good buttermaker. It's the best
I ever tasted."


200 (70K)

"Well, the butter and the honey may be spiled," said Si, "but the other
things are all right. My, ain't this a nice shirt. And them socks.
Shorty, did you ever see such socks. Ever so much obliged to you, Pap,
for these boots. Old Hank Sommers's make. He's the best shoemaker in the
State of Injianny. No Quartermaster's cowhide about them. And\x97"

Si stopped. He had suddenly come across Anna bel's ambrotype. He tried
to slip it into his pocket without the others seeing him. He edged
awkwardly to the door.

"You look over the rest o' the things, Shorty," he said, with a blush
that hid his freckles. "I've got to go down and see the Orderly-
Sergeant."

Shorty and the Deacon exchanged very profound winks.



CHAPTER XVII. THE DEACON'S INITIATION RAPIDLY ACQUIRES EXPERIENCE OF
LIFE IN THE ARMY.

SI ASKED questions of his father about the folks at home and the farm
until the old gentleman's head ached, and he finally fell asleep through
sheer exhaustion.

The next day the Deacon took a comprehensive survey of the house, and
was loud in his praises of Si and Shorty's architecture.

"Beats the cabin I had to take your mother to, Si, when I married her,"
he said with a retrospective look in his eye, "though I'd got up a sight
better one than many o' the boys on the Wabash. Lays a way over the one
that Abe Lincoln's father put up on Pigeon Crick, over in Spencer
County, and where he brung the Widder Johnston when he married her. I
remember it well. About the measliest shack there wuz in the country.
Tom Lincoln, Abe's father, wuz about as lazy as you make 'em. They say
nothin' will cure laziness in a man, but a second wife 'll shake it up
awfully. The Widder Johnston had lots o' git up in her, but she found
Tom Lincoln a dead load. Abe wuz made o' different stuff."

"Yes," continued the father, growing reminiscential. "There wuz no tin
roof, sawed boards, glass winder nor plank floor in that little shack on
the203 Wabash, but some o' the happiest days in my life wuz spent in it.
Me and your mother wuz both young, both very much in love, both chock
full o' hope and hard day's work. By the time you wuz born, Si, we'd got
the farm and the house in much better shape, but they wuz fur from being
what they are to-day."

"If we only had a deed for a quarter section o' land around our house
we'd be purty well started in life for young men," ventured Si.

"I'd want it a heap sight better land than this is 'round here," said
the Deacon, studying the land scape judicially. "Most of it that I've
seen so far is like self-righteousness the more a man has the worse he's
off. Mebbe it'll raise white beans, but I don't know o' nothin' else,
except niggers and poverty. The man that'd stay 'round here, scratchin'
these clay knobs, when there's no law agin him goin' to Injianny or
Illinoy, hain't gumption enough to be anything but a rebel. That's my
private opinion publicly expressed."

"Pap," said Si, after his father had been a day in camp, "I think we've
done fairly well in providin' you with a house and a bed, but I'm
afeared that our cookin's not quite up to your taste. You see, you've
bin badly pampered by mother. I might say that she's forever spiled you
for plain grub and common cookin'."

"Your mother's the best cook that ever lived or breathed," said the
Deacon earnestly. "She kin make plain cornbread taste better than
anybody else's pound cake. But you do well, Si, considerin' that your
mother could never git you to do so much204 as help peel a mess o'
'taters. Your coffee'd tan a side o' sole leather, and there's enough
grease about your meat to float a skiff; but I didn't expect to live at
a hotel when I come down here."

The Deacon strolled down near Regimental Headquarters. An Aid came up
and, saluting the Colonel, said:

"Colonel, the General presents his compliments, and instructs me to say
that he has received orders from Division Headquarters to send details
of a Corporal and five men from each regiment there to morrow morning at
7 o'clock for fatigue duty. You will furnish yours."

"Very good," answered the Colonel, returning the salute. "Adjutant,
order the detail."

"Sergeant-Major," said the Adjutant, after a momentary glance at his
roster, "send an order to Capt, McGillicuddy, of Co. Q, for a Corporal
and five men for fatigue duty, to report at Division Headquarters at 7
to-morrow morning."

The Deacon walked toward Co. Q's quarters, and presently saw the Orderly
hand the Captain the order from the Colonel.

"Orderly-Sergeant," said the Captain, "detail a Corporal and five men to
report for fatigue duty at Division Headquarters to-morrow at 7
o'clock."

The Orderly-Sergeant looked over his roster, and then walked down to
Si's residence.

"Klegg," said he, "you will report for fatigue duty at Division
Headquarters to-morrow at 7 o'clock with five men. You will take Shorty,
Simmons, Sullivan, Tomkins and Wheeler with you."

"Very good, sir," said Si, saluting.205

"Si," said his father, with a quizzical smile, "I've bin wonderin', ever
since I heard that you wuz an officer, how much o' the army you
commanded. Now I see that if it wuz turned upside down you'd be on the
very top."

"He leads the army when it goes backward," interjected Shorty.

"Gracious, Pap," said Si, good-humoredly, "I haven't rank enough to get
me behind a saplin' on the battlefield. The Colonel has the pick o' the
biggest tree, the Lieutenant-Colonel and Major take the next; the
Captains and Lieutenants take the second growth, and the Sergeants have
the saplins. I'm lucky if I git so much as a bush."

"Old Rosecrans must have a big saw-log," said his father.

"Not much saw-log for old Rosey," said Si, resenting even a joking
disparagement upon his beloved General. "During the battle he wuz
wherever it wuz hottest, and on horseback, too. Wherever the firm' wuz
the loudest he'd gallop right into it. His staff was shot down all
around him, but he never flinched. I tell you, he's the greatest General
in the world."

The next morning after breakfast, and as Si and Shorty were preparing to
go to Division Headquarters, Si said:

"Pap, you just stay at home and keep house to day. Keep your eyes on the
boys; I tell it to you in confidence, for I wouldn't for the world have
it breathed outside the company, that Co. Q's the most everlastin' set
o' thieves that ever wore uniform. Don't you ever say a word about it
when you get206 home, for it'd never do to have the boys' folks know
anything about it. I'd break their hearts. Me and Shorty, especially
Shorty, are the only honest ones in the company. The other fellers'd
steal the house from over your head if you didn't watch 'em."

"That's so," asseverated Shorty. "Me and Si especially me is the only
honest ones in the company. We're the only ones you kin really trust."

"I'd be sorry to think that Si had learned to steal," said the Deacon
gravely, at which Shorty could not resist the temptation to give Si a
furtive kick. "But I'll look out for thieves. We used to have lots o'
them in Posey County, but after we hung one or two, and rid some others
on rails, the revival meetin's seemed to take hold on the rest, and they
got converted."

"Something like that ought to be done in the army," murmured Shorty.

"When you want anything to eat you know where to git it," said Si, as
they moved off. "We'll probably be back in time to git supper."

The Deacon watched the squad march away, and then turned to think how he
would employ himself during the day. He busied himself for awhile
cleaning up the cabin and setting things to rights, and flattered
himself that his housekeeping was superior to his son's. Then he decided
to cut some wood. He found the ax, "condemned" it for some time as to
its dullness and bad condition, but finally attacked with it a tree
which had been hauled up back of the company line for fuel. It was hard
work, and presently he sat down to rest. Loud words of command came from
just beyond the hill, and he walked207 over there to see what was going
on. He saw a regiment drilling, and watched it for some minutes with
interest. Then he walked back to his work, but found to his amazement
that his ax was gone. He could see nobody around on whom his suspicions
could rest.

"Mebbe somebody's borrowed it," he said, "and will bring it back when
he's through usin' it. If he don't I kin buy a better ax for 10 or 12
bits. Somebody must have axes for sale 'round here somewhere."

He waited awhile for the borrower to return the tool, but as he did not,
he gathered up a load of wood and carried it up to the cabin.

"The boys'l be mighty hungry when they git back this evenin'," said he
to himself. "I'll jest git up a good supper for 'em. I'll show Si that
the old man knows some p'ints about cookin', even if he hain't bin in
the army, that'll open the youngster's eyes."

He found a tin pan, put in it a generous supply of beans, and began
carefully picking them over and blowing the dust out, the same as he had
often seen his wife do. Having finished this to his satisfaction, he set
down the pan and went back into the cabin to get the kettle to boil them
in. When he returned he found that pan and beans had vanished, and again
he saw no one upon whom he could fix his suspicions. The good Deacon
began to find the "old Adam rising within him," but as a faithful member
of the church he repressed his choler.

"I can't hardly believe all that Si and Shorty said about the dishonesty
of Co. Q," he communed with208 himself. "Many o' the boys in it I know
they're right from our neighborhood. Good boys as ever lived, and honest
as the day is long. Some o' them belonged to our Sunday school. I can't
believe that they've turned out bad so soon. Yet it looks awful
suspicious. The last one I see around here was Jed Baskins. His father's
a reggerly ordained preacher. Jed never could 've took them beans. But
who on airth done it?"

The Deacon carefully fastened the door of the cabin, and proceeded with
his camp-kettle to the spring to get some water. He found there quite a
crowd, with many in line waiting for their chance at the spring. He
stood around awhile awaiting his chance, but it did not seem to get any
nearer. He said something about the length of time it took, and a young
fellow near remarked:

"Here, Uncle, give me your kittle. I'll git it filled for you."

Without a thought the Deacon surrendered the kettle to him, and he took
his place in line. The Deacon watched him edging up toward the spring
for a minute or two, and then his attention was called to a brigade
manuvering in a field across the river. After awhile he thought again
about his kettle, and looked for the kindly young man who had
volunteered to fill it. There were several in the line who looked like
him, but none whom he could positively identify as him.

"Which o' you boys got my kittle?" he inquired, walking along the line.

"Got your kittle, you blamed teamster," they an swered crossly. "Go away
from here. We won't209 allow teamsters at this spring. It's only for
soldiers. Go to your own spring."

His kettle was gone, too. That was clear. As the Deacon walked back to
the cabin he was very hot in the region of his collar. He felt quite
shame faced, too, as to the way the boys would look on his management,
in the face of the injunctions they had given him at parting. His temper
was not improved by discovering that while he was gone someone had
carried off the bigger part of the wood he had laboriously chopped and
piled up in front of the cabin. He sat down in the doorway and meditated
angrily:

"I'll be dumbed (there, I'm glad that Mariar didn't hear me say that.
I'm afeared I'm gittin' to swear just like these other fellers). I'll be
dumbed if I ever imagined there wuz sich a passel o' condemned thieves
on the face o' the airth. And they all seem sich nice, gentlemanly
fellers, too. What'll we do with them when they git back home?"

Presently he roused himself up to carry out his idea of getting a good
meal ready for the boys by the time they returned, tired and hungry. He
rummaged through the cabin, and came across an old tin bucket partially
filled with scraps of paper. There did not seem to be anything of value
in it, and he tossed the contents on the smoldering fire. Instantly
there was an explosion which took the barrel off the top of the chimney,
sent the stones rattling down, filled the room full of smoke, singed the
Deacon's hair and whiskers, and sped him out of the cabin in great
alarm. A crowd quickly gathered to see what was the matter. Just then Si
appeared at the head of his squad. He and Shorty hurried to the scene of
the disturbance.210


210 (71K)

"What is the matter, Pap?" Si asked anxiously. "Why," explained his
father, "I was lookin' round for something to git water in, and I found
an old tin bucket with scraps o' paper in. I throwed them in the fire,
and I'm feared I busted your fireplace all to pieces, But I'll help you
to fix it up agin," he added deprecatingly.

"But you ain't hurt any, are you, Pap?" asked Si,211 anxiously examining
his father, and ignoring all thought as to the damage to the dwelling.

"No," said his father cheerfully. "I guess I lost a little hair, but I
could spare that. It was about time to git it cut, anyway. I think we
kin fix up the fireplace, Si."

"Cuss the fireplace, so long's you're all right," answered Si. "A little
mud 'll straighten that out. You got hold o' the bucket where me and
Shorty 've bin savin' up our broken cartridges for a little private
Fourth o' July some night."

"But, Si," said the Deacon sorrowfully, determined to have it out at
once. "They're bigger thieves than you said there wuz. They stole your
ax but I'll buy you a better one for 10 or 12 bits; they took your pan
and beans, an' took your camp-kittle, and finally all the wood that I'd
cut."

He looked so doleful that the boys could not help laughing.

"Don't worry about them, Pap," said Si cheer fully. "We'll fix them all
right. Let's go inside and straighten things up, and then we'll have
some thing to eat."

"But you can't git nothin' to eat," persisted the Deacon, "because
there's nothin' to cook in."

"We'll have something, all the same," said Shorty, with a wink of
enjoyable anticipation at Si.

The two boys carefully stowed away their overcoats, which were rolled up
in bundles in a way that would be suspicious to a soldier. They got the
interior of the cabin in more presentable shape, and then Shorty went
out and produced a camp-kettle from somewhere, in which they made their
coffee.212

When this was ready, they shut the door and care fully unrolled their
overcoats. A small sugar-cured ham, a box of sardines, a can of peaches,
and a couple of loaves of fresh, soft bread developed.

"Yum-yum!" murmured Shorty, gloating over the viands.

"Where in the world did you git them, boys?" asked the Deacon in
wonderment.213

"Eat what is set before you, and ask no questions, for conscience's
sake, Pap," said Si, slicing off a piece of the ham and starting to
broil it for his father. "That's what you used to tell me."

"Si," said the father sternly, as an awful suspicion moved in his mind,
"I hope you didn't steal 'em."

"Of course, not, Pap. How kin you think so?"

"Josiah Klegg," thundered the father, "tell me how you came by them
things."

"Well, Pap," said Si, considerably abashed, "it was something like this:
Our squad was set to work to unload a car o' Christian Commission
things. Me and Shorty pulled off our overcoats and laid them in a
corner. When we got through our work and picked up our coats we found
these things in them. Some bad men had hid them there, thinkin' they wuz
their overcoats. We thought the best way wuz to punish the thieves by
takin' the things away with us. Now, here's a piece o' ham briled almost
as nice as mother could do. Take it, and cut you off a slice of that
soft bread."

"Si, the receiver's as bad as the thief. I won't touch it."

"Pap, the harm's been done. No matter who done it, the owner'll never
see his victuals agin. Jest as like he cribbed 'em from somebody else.
These Christian Commission things wuz sent down for us soljers, anyhow.
We'd better have 'em than the bummers around the rear. They'll spile and
be wasted if you don't eat 'em, and that'd be a sin."

Trying to Conquer the Deacon's Scruples. 212

The savory ham was very appetizing, the Deacon was very hungry, and the
argument was sophistical.

"I'll take it, Si," said he with a sigh. "I don't214 wonder that the
people down here are rebels and all that sort o' thing. It's in the air.
I've felt my principles steadily weakenin' from the time I crossed the
Ohio River."



CHAPTER XVIII. THE DEACON IS SHOCKED HE IS CAUGHT WITH THE GOODS ON HIM

AND IS RESCUED JUST IN TIME.

WITH the Deacon's assistance, the chimney was soon rebuilt, better than
ever, and several homelike improvements were added. The lost utensils
were also replaced, one by one. The Deacon was sometimes troubled in his
mind as to where the pan, the camp-kettle, etc., came from. Si or Shorty
would simply bring in one of them, with a sigh of satisfaction, and add
it to the house hold stock. The Deacon was afraid to ask any questions.

One day, however, Shorty came in in a glow of excitement, with a new ax
in his hand.

"There; isn't she a daisy," he said, holding it up and testing the edge
with his thumb. "None o' your old sledges with no more edge than a maul,
that you have to nigger the wood off with. Brand new, and got an edge
like a razor. You kin chop wood with that, I tell you."

"It's a tolerable good ax. Wuth about 10 bits," said the Deacon,
examining the ax critically. "Last ax I bought from Ol Taylor cost 12
bits. It was a better one. How much'd you give for this? I'll pay it
myself."

'how Much'd You Give for This?' 216

"Do you know Jed Baskins thinks himself the216 best eucher player in the
200th Ind.," said Shorty, forgetting himself in the exultation of his
victory. "Jed Baskins the Rev. Jared Baskins's son a eucher player,"
gasped the Deacon. "Why, his father'd no more tech a card than he would
a coal o' fire. Not so much, for I've often heard him say that a coal o'
fire kin only burn the hands, while cards scorch the soul."

"Well, Jed," continued Shorty, "bantered me to play three games out o'
five for this here ax agin my galvanized brass watch. We wuz boss and
hoss on the first two games; on the saw-off we had four pints apiece. I
dealt and turned up the seven o' spades. Jed ordered me up, and then
tried to ring in on me a right bower from another deck, but I knowed he
hadn't it, because I'd tried to ketch it in the deal, but missed it an'
slung it under the table. I made Jed play fair, and euchered him, with
only two trumps in my hand. Jed's a mighty slick hand with the
pasteboards, but he meets his boss in your Uncle Ephraim. I didn't learn
to play eucher in the hay lofts o' Bean Blossom Crick for nothin', I kin
tell you."

An expression of horror came into Deacon Klegg's face, and he looked at
Shorty with severe disapproval, which was entirely lost on that worthy,
who continued to prattle on:

"Jed Baskins kin slip in more cold decks on green horns than any boy I
ever see. You'd think he'd spent his life on a Mississippi steamboat or
follerin' a circus. You remember how he cleaned out them Maumee Muskrats
at chuck-a-luck last pay-day? Why, there wuzn't money enough left in one
company to buy postage stamps for their letters home. You know how he
done it? Why, that galoot of a citizen gambler that we tossed in a
blanket down there by Nashville, and then rid out o' camp on a rail,
learned him how to finger the dice. I was sure some o' them Maumee smart
Alecks'd git on to Jed, but they didn't. I declare they wouldn't see a
six-mule team if it druv right across the board afore 'em. But I'm onto
him every minit. I told him when he tried to ring in that jack on me
that he218 didn't know enough about cards to play with our Sunday school
class on Bean Blossom Crick."

"Josiah Klegg," said the Deacon sternly, "do you play cards?"

"I learned to play jest a little," said Si deprecatingly, and getting
very red in the face. "I jest know the names o' the cards, and a few o'
the rules o' the game."

"I'm surprised at you," said the Deacon, "after the careful way you wuz
brung up. Cards are the devil's own picture-books. They drag a man down
to hell jest as sure as strong drink. Do you own a deck o' cards?"

"No, sir," replied Si. "I did have one, but I throwed it away when we
wuz goin' into the battle o' Stone River."

"Thank heaven you did," said the Deacon devoutly. "Think o' your goin'
into battle with them infernal things on you. They'd draw death to you
jest like iron draws lightnin'."

"That's what I was afeared of," Si confessed.

"Now, don't you ever touch another card," said the Deacon. "Don't you
ever own another deck. Don't you insult the Lord by doin' things when
you think you're safe that you wouldn't do when you're in danger and
want His protection."

"Yes, sir," responded Si very meekly. The Deacon was so excited that he
pulled out his red bandanna, mopped his face vigorously, and walked out
of the door to get some fresh air. As his back was turned, Si reached
slily up to a shelf, pulled down a pack of cards, and flung them behind
the back-log.

"I didn't yarn to Pap when I told him I didn't219 own a deck," he said
to Shorty. "Them wuzn't really our cards. I don't exactly know who they
belonged to."

The good Deacon was still beset with the idea of astonishing the boys
with a luxurious meal cooked by himself, without their aid, counsel or
assistance. His failure the first time only made him the more
determined. While he conceded that Si and Shorty did unusually well with
the materials at their command, he had his full share of the conceit
that possesses every man born of woman that, without any previous
training or experience, he can prepare food better than anybody else who
attempts to do it. It is usually conceded that there are three things
which every man alive believes he can do better than the one who is
engaged at it. These are:

1. Telling a story;

2. Poking a fire;

3. Managing a woman.

Cooking a meal should be made the fourth of this category.

One day Si and Shorty went with the rest of Co. Q on fatigue duty on the
enormous fortifications, the building of which took up so much of the
Army of the Cumberland's energies during its stay around Murfreesboro'
from Jan. 3 to June 24, 1863. Rosecrans seemed suddenly seized with
McClellan's mania for spade work, and was piling up a large portion of
Middle Tennessee into parapet, bastion and casemate, lunet, curtain,
covered-way and gorge, according to the system of Vauban. The 200th Ind.
had to do its unwilling share of this, and Si and Shorty worked off some
of their superabundant220 energy with pick and shovel. They would come
back at night tired, muddy and mad. They would be ready to quarrel with
and abuse everybody and every thing from President Lincoln down to the
Commissary-Sergeant and the last issue of pickled beef and bread
especially the Commissary-Sergeant and the rations. The good Deacon
sorrowed over these manifestations. He was intensely loyal. He wanted to
see the soldiers satisfied with their officers and the provisions made
for their comfort.

He would get up a good dinner for the boys, which would soothe their
ruffled tempers and make them more satisfied with their lot.

He began a labored planning of the feast. He looked over the larder, and
found there pork, corned beef, potatoes, beans, coffee, brown sugar, and
hard tack.

Deacon Klegg Looks over the Larder. 220

"Good, substantial vittles, that stick to the ribs," he muttered to
himself, "and I'll fix up a good mess o' them. But the boys ought to
have something of a treat once in a while, and I must think up some way
to give it to 'em."

He pondered over the problem as he carefully cleaned the beans, and set
them to boiling in a kettle over the fire. He washed some potatoes to
put in the ashes and roast. But these were too common place viands. He
wanted something that would be luxurious.

"I recollect," he said to himself finally, "seein' a little store, which
some feller 'd set up a little ways from here. It's a board shanty, and
I expect he's got a lots o' things in it that the boys'd like, for
there's nearly always a big crowd around it. I'll221 jest fasten up the
house, and walk over there while the beans is a-seethin', and see if I
can't pick up something real good to eat."

He made his way through the crowd, which seemed to him to smell of
whisky, until he came to the shelf across the front, and took a look at
the222 stock. It seemed almost wholly made up of canned goods, and boxes
of half-Spanish cigars, and play ing-cards.

"Don't seem to ba much of a store, after all," soliloquized the Deacon,
after he had surveyed the display. "Ain't a patchin' to Ol Taylor's.
Don't see anything very invitin' here. O, yes, here's a cheese. Say,
Mister, gi' me about four pounds o' that there cheese."

"Plank down your $2 fust, ole man." responded the storekeeper. "This is
a cash store cash in advance every time. Short credits make long
friends. Hand me over your money, and I'll hand you over the cheese."

"Land o' Goshen, four bits a pound for cheese," gasped the Deacon. "Why,
I kin git the best full-cream cheese at home for a bit a pound."

"Why don't you buy your cheese at home, then, old man?" replied the
storekeeper. "You'd make money, if you didn't have to pay freight to
Murfreesboro'. Guess you don't know much about gettin' goods down to the
front. But I hain't no time to argy with you. If you don't want to buy,
step back, and make room for someone that does. Business is lively this
mornin'. Time is money. Small profits and quick returns, you know. No
time to fool with loafers who only look on and ask questions."

"Strange way for a storekeeper to act," muttered the Deacon. "Must've
bin brung up in a Land Office. He couldn't keep store in Posey County a
week. They wouldn't stand his sass." Then aloud: "You may gi' me two
pounds o' cheese."

"Well, why don't you plank down the rhino?" said223 the storekeeper
impatiently. "Put up your money fust, and then you'll git the goods.
This ain't no credit concern with a stay-law attachment. Cash in advance
saves bookkeeping."

"Well, I declare," muttered the Deacon, as he fished a greenback out of
a leather pocketbook fastened with a long strap. "This is the first time
I ever had to pay for things before I got 'em."

"Never went to a circus, then, old man, or run for office," replied the
storekeeper, and his humor was rewarded with a roar of laughter.
"Anything else? Speak quick or step back."

"I'll take a can o' them preserved peaches and a quart jug o' that
genuine Injianny maple molasses," said the Deacon desperately, naming
two articles which seemed much in demand.

"All right; $2 for the peaches, and $2 more for the molasses."

"Sakes alive!" ejaculated the Deacon, producing the strapped pocketbook
again. "Five dollars gone, and precious little to show for it."

He took his jug and his can, and started back to the cabin. A couple of
hundred yards away he met a squad of armed men marching toward the
store, under the command of a Lieutenant. He stepped to one side to let
them pass, but the Lieutenant halted them, and asked authoritatively:

"What have you got there, sir?"

"Jest some things I've been buyin' for the boys' dinner," answered the
Deacon.

"Indeed! Very likely," remarked the Lieutenant sarcastically. He struck
the jug so sharply with his sword that it was broken, and the air was
filled224 with a powerful odor of whisky. The liquor splashed over the
Deacon's trousers and wet them through. The expression of anger on his
face gave way to one of horror. He had always been one of the most rigid
of Temperance men, and fairly loathed whisky in all shapes and uses.

"Just as I supposed, you old vagabond," said the Lieutenant,
contemptuously. "Down here sneaking whisky into camp. We'll stop that
mighty sudden."

He knocked the can of peaches out of the Deacon's arms and ran his sword
into it. A gush of whisky spurted out. The Sergeant took the package of
cheese away and broke it open, revealing a small flask of liquor.

"The idea of a man of your age being engaged in such business," said the
Lieutenant indignantly. "You ought to be helping to keep the men of the
army sober, instead of corrupting them to their own great injury. You
are doing them more harm than the rebels."

The Deacon was too astonished and angry to reply. Words utterly failed
him in such a crisis.

"Take charge of him, Corporal," commanded the Lieutenant. "Put him in
the guard-house till tomorrow, when we'll drum him out of camp, with his
partner, who is running that store."

The Corporal caught the Deacon by the arm roughly and pulled him into
the rear of the squad, which hurried toward the store. The crowd in
front had an inkling of what was coming. In a twinkling of an eye they
made a rush on the store, each man snatched a can or a jug, and began
bolting away as fast as his legs could carry him.

The storekeeper ran out the back way, and tried to make his escape, but
the Sergeant of the provost squad threw down his musket and took after
him. The storekeeper ran fast, inspired by fear and the desire to save
his ill-gotten gains, but the Sergeant ran faster, and presently brought
him back, panting and trembling, to witness the demolition of his
property. The shanty was being torn down, each plank as it came off
being snatched up by the soldiers to carry off and add to their own
habitations. The "canned fruit" was being punched with bayonets, and the
jugs smashed by gun-butts.

"You are a cheeky scoundrel," said the Lieutenant, addressing himself to
the storekeeper, "to come down here and try to run such a dead-fall
right in the middle of camp. But we'll cure you of any such ideas as
that. You'll find it won't pay at all to try such games on us. You'll go
to the guard house, and to-morrow we'll shave your head and drum you and
your partner there out of camp."

"I ain't no partner o' his," protested the Deacon earnestly. "My name's
Josiah Klegg, o' Posey County, Injianny. I'm down here on a visit to my
son in the 200th Injianny Volunteer Infantry. I'm a Deacon in the
Baptist Church, and a Patriarch of the Sons o' Temperance. It'd be the
last thing in the world I'd do to sell whisky."

"That story won't wash, old man," said the Lieutenant. "You were caught
in the act, with the goods in your possession, and trying to deceive
me."

He turned away to order the squad forward. As they marched along the
storekeeper said to the Deacon:226

"I'm afraid they've got me dead to rights, old man, but you kin git out.
Just keep up your sanctimonious appearance and stick to your Deacon
story, and you'll git off. I know you. I've lived in Posey County
myself. I'm going to trust you. I've already made a clean big profit on
this venture, and I've got it right down in my pocket. In spite of all
they've spiled, I'd be nigh $500 ahead o' the game if I could git out o'
camp with what I've got in my sock. But they'll probably search me and
confiscate my wad for the hospital. You see, I've been through this
thing before. I'm goin' to pass my pile over to you to take keer of till
I'm through this rumpus. You play fair with me, an' I'll whack up with
you fair and square, dollar for dollar. If you don't I'll follow you for
years."

"I wouldn't tech a dirty dollar of yours for the world," said the Deacon
indignantly; but this was lost on the storekeeper, who was watching the
Lieutenant.

"Don't say a word," he whispered; "he's got his eye on us. There it is
in your overcoat pocket."

In the meantime they had arrived at the guard house. The Sergeant
stepped back, took the store keeper roughly by the shoulders, and shoved
him up in front of a tall, magisterial-looking man wearing a Captain's
straps, who stood frowning before the door.

"Search him," said the Captain briefly.

The Sergeant went through the storekeeper's pockets with a deftness that
bespoke experience. He produced a small amount of money, some of it in
fractional currency and Confederate notes, a number227 of papers, a plug
of tobacco, and some other articles. He handed these to the Captain, who
hastily looked over them, handed back the tobacco and other things and
the small change.

"Give these back to him," he said briefly. "Turn the rest of the money
over to the hospital fund. Where's our barber? Shave his head, call up
the fifers and drummers, and drum him out of camp at once. I haven't
time to waste on him."

Before he had done speaking the guards had the storekeeper seated on a
log, and were shearing his hair.

"General," shouted the Deacon.

"That's a Cap'n, you fool," said one of the guards.

"Captain, then," yelled the Deacon.

"Who is that man?" said the Captain severely.

"He's his partner," said the Lieutenant.

"Serve him the same way," said the Captain shortly, turning to go.

The Deacon's knees smote together. He, a Deacon of the Baptist Church,
and a man of stainless repute at home, to have his head shaved and
drummed out of camp. He would rather die at once. The guards had laid
hands on him.

"Captain," he yelled again, "it's all a horrible mistake. I had nothin'
to do with this man."

"Talk to the Lieutenant, there," said the Captain, moving off. "He will
attend to you."

The Lieutenant was attentively watching the barbering operation. "Cut it
close closer yet," he admonished the barber.

"Lieutenant! Lieutenant!" pleaded the Deacon, awkwardly saluting.

"Stand back; I'll attend to you next," said the228 Lieutenant
impatiently. "Now, tie his hands behind him."

The Lieutenant turned toward the Deacon, and the barber picked up his
shears and made a step in that direction. Just in the extremity of his
danger the Deacon caught sight of the Captain of Co. Q walking toward
Headquarters.

"Capt. McGillicuddy! Capt. McGillicuddy! come here at once! Come quick!"
he called in a voice which had been trained to long-distance work on the
Wabash bottoms.

Capt. McGillicuddy looked up, recognized the waving of the Deacon's
bandanna, and hastened thither. Fortunately he knew the Provost
officers; there were explanations all around, and profuse apologies, and
just as the fifes and drums struck up the "Rogue's March" behind the
luckless storekeeper, who had to step off in front of a line of leveled
bayonets, the Deacon walked away arm-in-arm with the Captain.

"I'm not goin' to let go o' you till I'm safe back in our own place," he
said. "My gracious! think of havin' my head shaved and marched off the
way that feller's bein'."

He walked into the cabin and stirred up the beans.

"The water's biled off," said he to himself, "but they hain't been in
nigh as hot a place as I have. I guess the boys'll have to do with a
plain dinner to day. I'm not goin' to stir out o' this place agin unless
they're with me."

He put his hand into his pocket for his bandanna and felt the roll of
bills, which he had altogether forgotten in his excitement.

His face was a study.



CHAPTER XIX. THE DEACON IS TROUBLED DISPOSES OF THE $500 "WHISKY" MONEY
AND GOES OUT FORAGING.

FROM the door of the cabin the Deacon could see the fort on which the
boys were piling up endless cubic yards of the red soil of Tennessee. As
he watched them, with an occasional glance at the beans seething in the
kettle, fond memories rose of a woman far away on the Wabash, who these
many years had thought and labored for his comfort in their home, while
he labored within her sight on their farm. It was the first time in
their long married life that he had been away from her for such a length
of time.

"I believe I'm gittin' real homesick to see Mariar," he said with a
sigh. "I'd give a good deal for a letter from her. I do hope everything
on the farm's all right. I think it is. I'm a little worried about Brown
Susy, the mare, but I think she'll pick up as the weather settles. I
hope her fool colt, that I've give Si, won't break his leg nor nothin'
while I'm away."

Presently he saw the men quit work, and he turned to get ready for the
boys. He covered the rough table with newspapers to do duty for a cloth;
he had previously scoured up the tinware to its utmost brightness and
cleanliness, and while the boys were230 washing off the accumulations of
clay, and liberally denouncing the man who invented fort building, and
even West Point for educating men to pursue the nefarious art, he dished
out the smoking viands.

"Upon my word, Pap," said Si, as he helped him self liberally, "you do
beat us cookin' all holler. Your beans taste almost as good as mother's.
We must git you to give us some lessons."

"Yes; you're a boss cook," said Shorty, with his mouth full. "Better not
let Gen. Rosecrans find out how well you kin bile beans, or he'll have
you drafted, and keep you with him till the end o' the war."

After supper they lighted their pipes and seated themselves in front of
the fire.

"How'd you git along to-day, Pap," said Si. "I hope you didn't have no
trouble."

The Deacon took his pipe out of his mouth, blew a cloud of smoke, and
considered a moment before replying. He did not want to recount his
experiences, at least, until he had digested them more thoroughly. He
was afraid of the joking of the boys, and still more that the story
would get back home. Then, he was still sorely perplexed about the
disposition of the money. He had not thought that out yet, by a great
deal. But the question was plump and direct, and concealment and untruth
were alike absolutely foreign to his nature. After a minute's pause he
decided to tell the whole story.

"Well, boys," he began with a shamefaced look, "I had the flamboyantest
racket to-day I've had yit."

The two boys took their pipes out and regarded him with surprise.231

"Yes," he continued, with a deep sigh, "it laid away over gittin' down
here, and my night in the guard-house, even. You see, after you went
away I began to think about gittin' up something a little extry for you
to eat. I thought about it for awhile, and then recollected seein' a
little grocery that'd been set up nigh here in a board shanty."

"Yes, we know about it," said Shorty, exchanging a look with Si.

"Well," continued the Deacon, "I concluded that I'd jest slip over
there, and mebbe I could find232 something that'd give variety to your
pork and beans. He didn't seem to have much but canned goods, and his
prices wuz jest awful. But I wuz de termined to git something, and I
finally bought a jug o' genuine Injianny maple molasses, a chunk o'
cheese and a can o' peaches. I had to pay $5 for it. He said he had to
charge high prices on account o' freight rates, and I remembered that I
had some trouble in gittin' things down here, and so I paid him. He wuz
very peart and sassy, and it was take-it-or-leave-it-and-be-plaguey-
quick-about-it all the time. But I paid my $5, gathered the things up,
and started back to the house. I hadn't got more'n 100 rods away when I
met one o' these officers with only one o' them things in his shoulder
straps."

"A First Lieutenant," interjected Si.

"Yes, they called him a Lieutenant. He spoke very bossy and cross to me,
and hit my jug a welt with his sword. He broke it, and what do you
suppose was in it?"

Hit My Jug a Welt With his Sword 231

"Whisky," said Si and Shorty simultaneously, with a shout of laughter.

"That's jest what it wuz. I wuz never so mortified in my life. I
couldn't say a word. The Lieutenant abused me for being a partner in
sellin' whisky to the soldiers me, Josiah Klegg, Patriarch of the Sons
o' Temperance, and a Deacon. While I wuz tryin' to tell him he jabbed
his sword into the can o' peaches, and what do you suppose was in that?"

"Whisky," yelled Si and Shorty, with another burst of laughter.

"That's jest what it wuz. Then one o' the Lieutenant's men jerked the
chunk o' cheese away and283 broke it open. And what do you suppose was
in that?"

"Whisky, of course," yelled the boys in uncontrollable mirth.

"That's jest what it was. I wuz so dumfounded that I couldn't say a
word. They yanked me around in behind the squad, and told me they'd
shave my head and drum me out o' camp. The Lieutenant took his men up to
the grocery and tore it down, and ketched the feller that wuz keepin'
it. They put him alongside o' me, and tuk us up to the guard house. On
the way he whispered to me that they wuz likely to salt him, 'cause they
knowed him, but I'd likely git off easy. He'd made $500 clean out o' the
business already, and had it in his clothes. He'd pass it over to me to
keep till the racket wuz over, when he'd divide fair and square with me.
I told him that I'd rather burn my hand off than tech a dirty dollar o'
his money, but he dropt it into my overcoat pocket all the same, and I
wuz so excited that I clean forgot about it, and brung it away with me.
When we got to the guard-house they tuk all the rest of his money away,
shaved his head, and drummed him out o' camp."

"Yes, we saw that," answered Si; "but didn't pay no attention to it.
They're drummin' some feller out o' camp nearly every day, for something
or other."

"I don't see that it does any good," said Shorty. "It'd be a heap better
to set 'em to work on the fortifications. That'd take the deviltry out
o' 'em."

"When they'd got through with him," continued the Deacon, "they Burned
their attention to me. I234 never wuz so scared in all my born days. But
luckily, jest in the nick o' time, I ketched sight o' Capt.
McGillicuddy, and hollered to him. He come up and explained things, and
they let me go, with lots o' apologies. When I got back to the house, I
felt for my handkerchief, and found that scalawag's roll o' bills, which
I'd clean forgot. Here it is."

'pulled out a Fat Roll of Greenbacks. 235

He pulled out a fat roll of crisp greenbacks. Si took them, thumbed them
over admiringly, counted them, and handed them to Shorty, who did the
same.

"Yes, there's $500 there," said Si. "What are you goin' to do with it,
Pap?"

"That's jest what's worrying the life out o' me," answered his father.
"By rights I ought to throw the condemned stuff into the fire, only I
hold it a great sin to destroy property of any kind."

"What, burn all that good money up?" said Shorty with a whistle. "You
don't live in an insane asylum when you're at home, do you?"

"'Twouldn't be right to burn it, Pap," said Si, who better understood
the rigidity of his father's principles. "It'd do a mighty sight o' good
somewhere."

"The money don't belong at all to that feller," mused the Deacon. "A man
can't have no property in likker. It's wet damnation, hell's broth, to
nourish murderers, thieves, and paupers. It is the devil's essence, with
which he makes widows and orphans. Every dollar of it is minted with
women's tears and children's cries of hunger. That feller got the money
by violatin' the law on the one hand and swindling the soldiers on the
other, and corruptin' them to their ruin. To give the money back to him
would be rewardin' him for his rascality. It'd be like235 givin' a thief
his booty, or a burglar his plunder, and make me his pardner."

"You're right there, Pap," assented Si. "You'd jest be settin' him up in
business in some other stand. Five hundred dollars'd give him a good
start. His hair'll soon grow agin."

"The worst of it," sighed Shorty, "is that it ain't good likker.
Otherwise it'd be different. But it's pizener than milk-sick or loco-
weed. It's aqua-fortis, fish-berries, tobacco juice and ratsbane. That
stuff'd eat a hole in a tin pan."236

"The Captain turned the rest o' his money over to the hospital,"
continued the Deacon. "I might do that."

"Never do it in the world, Pap," protested Si. "Better burn it up at
once. It'd be the next worst thing to givin' it back to him. It'd jest
be pamperin' and encouragin' a lot o' galoots that lay around the
hospitals to keep out o' fights. None o' the wounded or really sick'd
git the benefit of a cent of it. They wuz all sent away weeks ago to
Nashville, Louisville, and back home. You jest ought to see that bummer
gang. Last week me and Shorty wuz on fatigue duty down by one o' the
hospitals. There wuzzent nobody in the hospital but a few 'shell-fever'
shirks, who're too lazy to work on the fortifications, and we saw a
crowd of civilians and men in uniform set down to a finer dinner than
you kin git in any hotel. Shorty wanted to light some shells and roll in
amongst 'em, but I knowed that it'd jest make a muss that we'd have to
clean up afterward."

"But what am I going to do with it?" asked the Deacon despairingly. "I
don't want no money in my hands that don't belong to me, and especially
sich money as that, which seems to have a curse to every bill. If we
could only find out the men he tuk it from."

"Be about as easy as drivin' a load o' hay back into the field, and
fitting each spear o' grass back on the stalk from which it was cut,"
interjected Shorty.

"Or I might send it anonymously to the Baptist Board o' Missions,"
continued the Deacon.

"Nice way to treat the little heathens," objected Si. "Send them likker
money."237

The Deacon groaned.

"Tell you what we might do, Pap," said Si, as a bright idea struck him.
"There's a widder, a Union woman, jest outside the lines, whose house
wuz burned down by the rebels. She could build a splendid new house with
$100 better'n the one she wuz livin' in before. Send her $100.

"Not a bad idee," said the Deacon approvingly, as he poked the ashes in
his pipe with his little finger.

"And, Pap," continued Si, encouraged by the reception of this
suggestion, "there's poor Bill Ellerlee, who lost his leg in the fight.
He used to drink awful hard, and most of his money went down his throat.
He's got a wife and two small children, and they hain't a cent to live
on, except what the neighbors gives. Why not put up $200 in an express
pack age and send it to him, marked 'from an unknown friend?'"

"Good," accorded the Deacon.

"And Jim Pocock," put in Shorty, seeing the drift. "He's gone home with
a bullet through his breast. His folks are pretty poor. Why not send him
$100 the same way?"

"Excellent idee," said the father.

"That leaves $100 yit," said Si. "If you care to, you kin divide it
between Shorty and me, and we'll use it among the boys that got hurt,
and need some thing."

A dubious look came into the Deacon's face.

"You needn't be afeared of us, Pap," said Si, with a little blush. "I
kin promise you that we won't use a cent ourselves, but give every bit
where it is really needed."238

"I believe you, my son," said the Deacon heartily. "We'll do jest as you
say."

They spent the evening carrying their plan into execution.

At the 9 o'clock roll-call the Orderly-Sergeant announced:

"Co. Q to go out with a forage-train to-morrow morning."

This was joyful news a delightful variation from the toil on the
fortifications. "Taps" found every body getting his gun and traps ready
for an excursion into the country.

"You'd like to go with us, Pap, wouldn't you?" asked Si, as he looked
over his cartridge-box to see what it contained.

"Indeed I would," replied the father. "I'll go any where with you rather
than spend such another day in camp. You don't think you will see any
rebels, do you?" he asked rather nervously.

"Don't know; never kin tell," said Shorty oracularly. "Rebels is
anywhere you find 'em. Sometimes they're seldomer than a chaw of
terbaker in a Sunday school. You can't find one in a whole County. Then,
the first thing you know, they're thicker'n fleas on a dog's back. But
we won't likely see no rebels to-morrow. There ain't no great passel o'
them this side o' Duck River. Still, we'll take our guns along, jest
like a man wears a breast-pin on a dark night, because he's used to it."

"Can't you give me a gun, too? I think it'd be company for me," said the
Deacon.

"Certainly," said Si.

The Deacon stowed himself in the wagons with239 the rest the next
morning, and rode out with them through the bright sunshine, that gave
promise of the soon oncoming of Spring. For miles they jolted over the
execrable roads and through the shiftless, run-down country before they
found anything worth while putting in the wagons.

"Great country, Pap," said Si suggestively.

"Yes; it'd be a great country," said his father disdainfully, "if you
could put a wagonload o' manure on every foot and import some Injianny
men to take care of it. The water and the sunshine down here seem all
right, but the land and the people and the pigs and stock seem to be
cullin's throwed out when they made Injianny."

At length the train halted by a double log house of much more
pretentious character than any they had so far seen. There were a couple
of well-filled corn-cribs, a large stack of fodder, and other evidences
of plenty. The Deacon's practiced eye noticed that there was no stock in
the fields, but Si explained this by saying that everything on hoofs had
been driven off to supply the rebel army. "They're now trying to git a
corn-crib and a fodder-stack with four legs, but hain't succeeded so
far."

The Captain ordered the fence thrown down and the wagons driven in to be
filled. The surrounding horizon was scanned for signs of rebels, but
none appeared anywhere. The landscape was as tranquil, as peace-
breathing as a Spring morning on the Wabash, and the Deacon's mind
reverted to the condition of things on his farm. It was too wet to plow,
but he would like to take a walk over the fields and see how his wheat
had come out, and look over the240 peach-buds and ascertain how they had
stood the Winter. He noticed how some service-trees had already unfolded
their white petals, like flags of truce breaking the long array of green
cedars and rusty-brown oaks.

The company stacked arms in the road, the Captain went to direct the
filling of the wagons, and Si and Shorty started on a private
reconnoissance for something for their larder.

The Deacon strolled around the yard for awhile inspecting the buildings
and farm implements with an eye of professional curiosity, and arrived
at very unfavorable opinions. He then walked up on the porch of the
house, where a woman of about his own age sat in a split-bottom rocking-
chair knitting and viewing the proceedings with frowning eyes.

"Good day, ma'am," said he. "Warm day, ma'am."

"'Tain't as warm as it orter to be for sich fellers as yo'uns," she
snapped. "You'd better be in the brimstone pit if you had your just
deserts."

The Deacon always tried to be good-humored with an angry woman, and he
thought he would try the effect of a little pleasantry. "I'm a Baptist,
ma'am, and they say us Baptists are tryin' to put out that fire with
cold water."

"You a Babtist?" she answered scornfully. "The hot place is full o' jest
sich Babtists as yo'uns air, and they're making room for more. We'uns
air Babtists ourselves, but, thank the Lord, not o' your kind. Babtists
air honest people. Babtists don't go about the country robbin' and
murderin' and stealin' folks' corn. Don't tell me you air a Babtist,241
for I know you air a-lyin', and that's the next thing to killin' and
stealin'."

"But I am a Baptist," persisted the Deacon, "and have bin for 30 year
regular, free-will, close-communion, total-immersion Baptist. We have
some Campbellites, a few Six Principle Baptists, and some Hard Shells,
but the heft of us air jest plain, straight-out Baptists. But, speakin'
o' cold water, kin you give me a drink? I'm powerful dry."

"Thar's water down in the crick, thar," she said, with a motion of her
knitting in that direction. "It's as fur for me as it is for you. Go
down thar and drink all you like. Lucky you can't carry the crick away
with yo'uns. Yo'uns 'd steal it if yo'uns could."

"You don't seem to be in a good humor, ma'am," said the Deacon,
maintaining his pleasant demeanor and tone.

"Well, if you think that a passel o' nasty Yankees is kalkerlated to put
a lady in a good humor you're even a bigger fool than you look. But I
hain't no time to waste jawin' you. If you want a drink thar's the
crick. Go and drink your fill of it. I only wish it was a's'nic, to
pizen you and your whole army."

She suddenly stopped knitting, and bent her eyes eagerly on an opening
in the woods on a hill-top whence the road wound down to the house. The
Deacon's eyes followed hers, and he saw unmistakable signs of men in
butternut clothes. The woman saw that he noticed them, and her manner
changed.

"Come inside the house," she said pleasantly, "and I'll git you a
gourdful of water fresh from the spring."242

"Thankee, ma'am; I don't feel a bit dry," answered the Deacon, with his
eyes fastened on the hill top. "Si, Shorty, Capt. McGillicuddy," he
yelled.

"Shet your head, and come into the house this minit, you nasty Yankee,
or I'll slash your fool head off," ordered the woman, picking up a corn-
cutter the advantage of his position and ran up to him.

The Deacon was inside the railing around the porch, and he had not
jumped a fence for 20 years. But he cleared the railing as neatly as Si
could have done it, and ran bareheaded down the road, yelling at the top
of his voice.

He was not a minute too soon not soon enough. A full company of rebel
cavalry came dashing out of the woods, yelling like demons.

Without waiting to form, the men of Co. Q ran to their guns and began
firing from fence-corners and behind trees. Capt. McGillicuddy took the
first squad that he came to, and, running forward a little way, made a
hasty line and opened fire. Others saw the advantage of his position and
ran up to him.

The Deacon snatched up a gun and joined the Captain.

"I never wuz subject to the 'buck fever,'" he muttered to himself, "and
I won't allow myself to be now. I remember jest how Gineral Jackson told
his men to shoot down to New Orleans. I'm going to salt one o' them
fellers as sure as my name's Josiah Klegg."

He took a long breath, to steady himself, as he joined the Captain,
picked out a man on a bay horse that seemed to be the rebels' Captain,
and caught his breast fully through the hindsight before he243 pulled
the trigger. Through the smoke he saw his man tumble from his horse.

"Got him, anyway," he muttered; "now, how in the world kin I load this
plaguey gun agin?"

At that instant a rebel bullet bit out a piece of his ear, but he paid
no attention to it.

"Gi' me that cartridge," he said to the man next to him, who had just
bitten off the end of one; "I can't do it."

The man handed him the cartridge, which the Deacon rammed home, but
before he could find a cap the fight was over, and the rebels were seek
ing the shelter of the woods.

The Deacon managed to get a cap on his gun in time to take a long-
distance, ineffective shot at the rebels as they disappeared in the
woods.

They hastily buried one rebel who had been killed, and picked up those
who had been wounded and carried them into the house, where they were
made as comfortable as possible. Among them was the man whom the Deacon
had aimed at. He was found to have a wound through the fleshy part of
his hip, and proved to be the son of the woman of the house.

As soon as the fight was over, Si, full of solicitude, sought his
father. He found him wiping the blood from his ear with his bandanna.

"It's nothin', son; absolutely nothin'," said the old gentleman with as
much pride as any recruit. "Don't hurt as much as a scratch from a
briar. Some feller what couldn't write put his mark on me so's he'd know
me agin. But I fetched that feller on the bay hoss. I'm glad I didn't
kill him, but he'll keep out o' devilment for sometime.



CHAPTER XX. THE DEACON BUTTS IN ENFORCES THE EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION.

"PAP," said Si, as they were riding back, comfortably seated on a load
of corn-fodder, "now that it's all over, I'm awfully scared about you. I
can't forgive myself for runnin' you up agin such a scrape. I hadn't no
idee that there wuz a rebel in the whole County. If anything had
happened you it'd just killed mother and the girls, and then I'd never
rested till I got shot myself, for I wouldn't wanted to live a minute."

"Pshaw, my son," responded his father rather testily; "you ain't my
guardeen, and I hope it'll be a good many years yit before you are. I'm
mighty glad that I went. There was something Providential in it. I'm a
good deal of a Quaker. I believe in the movin's of the spirit. The
spirit moved me very strongly to go with you, and I now see the purpose
in it. If I hadn't, them fellers might've got the bulge on you. I seen
them before any o' you did, and I fetched down their head devil, and I
feel that I helped you a good deal."

"Indeed you did," said Shorty earnestly. "You ought to have a brevet for
your 'conspicuous gallantry in action.' I think the Colonel will give
you one. You put an ounce o' lead to particularly good245 use in that
feller's karkiss. I only wish it'd bin a little higher up, where it'd a
measured him for a wooden overcoat."

"I'm awful glad I hit him jest where I did," responded the Deacon. "I
did have his heart covered with my sights, and then I pulled down a
little. He was pizen, I know; but I wanted to give him a chance to
repent."

"He'll repent a heap," said Shorty incredulously. "He'll lay around the
house for the next six months, studyin' up new deviltry, and what he
can't think of that secesh mother o' his'll put him up to. Co. Q, and
particularly the Hoosier's Rest, is the only place you'll find a
contrite heart and a Christian spirit cultivated."

"That reminds me," said Si; "we hain't licked the Wagonmaster yit for
throwin' cartridges down our chimbley."

"Blamed if that ain't so," said Shorty. "I knowed I'd forgotten some
little thing. It's bin hauntin' my mind for days. I'll jest tie a knot
in my handker chief to remember that I must tend to that as soon's we
git back."

"I'm quite sure that I don't want another sich a tussle," meditated the
Deacon. "I never heerd any thing sound so murderin' wicked as them
bullets. A painter's screech on a dark night or a rattler's rattle
wuzzent to be compared to 'em. It makes my blood run cold to think o'
'em. Then, if that feller that shot at me had wobbled his gun a little
to the left, Josiah Klegg's name would 've bin sculped on a slab o'
white marble, and Maria would 've bin the Widder Klegg. I wish the war
wuz over, and Si and Shorty246 safe at home. But their giddy young pates
are so full o' dumbed nonsense that there hain't no room for scare. But,
now that I'm safe through it, I wouldn't 've missed it for the best cow
on my place. After all, Providence sends men where they are needed, and
He certainly sent me out there.

"Then, I'll have a good story to tell the brethren and sisters some
night after prayer meetin's over. It'll completely offset that story
'bout my comin' so near gittin' my head shaved. How the ungodly247
rapscallions would've gloated over Deacon Klegg's havin' his head shaved
an' bein' drummed out o' camp. That thing makes me shiver worse'n the
whistlin' o' them awful bullets. But they can't say nothin' now. Deacon
Klegg's bin a credit to the church."

They were nearing camp. The Captain of Co. Q ordered:

"Corporal Klegg, take your wagon up that right-hand road to the
Quartermaster's corral of mules, and bring me a receipt for it."

Si turned the wagon off, and had gone but a few hundred yards, when he
and Shorty saw a house at a little distance, which seemed to promise to
furnish something eatable. He and Shorty jumped off and cut across the
fields toward it, telling the Deacon they would rejoin him before he
reached the picket-line, a mile or so ahead.

The Deacon jogged on, musing intently of the stirring events of the day,
until he was recalled to the things immediately around him by hearing a
loud voice shout:

"Stop, there, you black scoundrel! I've ketched ye. I'm gwine to blow
your onery head off."

He looked up and saw a man about his own age, dressed in butternut
homespun, and riding a fine horse. He wore a broad-brimmed slouch hat,
his clean-shaven face was cold and cruel, and he had leveled a double-
barreled shotgun on a fine-looking negro, who had leaped over from the
field into the middle of the road, and was standing there regard ing him
with a look of intense disappointment and248 fear.

I'm Gwine Ter Kill Ye, Right Here 246

"You devil's ape," continued the white man, with a torrent of profanity,
"I've ketched ye jest in the nick o' time. Ye wuz makin' for the Yankee
camp, and 'd almost got thar. Ye thought yer 40 acres and a mule wuz
jest in sight, did ye? Mebbe ye reckoned y'd git a white wife, and be an
officer in the Yankee army. I'm gwine to kill ye, right here, to stop
yer deviltry, and skeer off others that air o' the same mind."

"Pray God, don't kill me, massa," begged the negro. "I hain't done
nuffin' to be killed foh."

"Hain't done nothin' to be killed for!" shouted the white man, with more
oaths. "Do ye call sneakin' off to jine the enemy and settin' an example
to the other niggers nothin'? Git down on yer knees and say yer prayers,
if ye know any, for ye ain't a minnit to live."

The trembling negro dropped to his knees and be gan mumbling his
prayers.

"What's the matter here?" asked the Deacon of the teamster.

"O, some man's ketched his nigger tryin' to run away to our lines, an's
goin' to kill him," answered the teamster indifferently.

"Goin' to kill him," gasped the Deacon. "Are we goin' to 'low that?"

"'Tain't none o' my business," said the teamster coolly. "It's his
nigger; I reckon he's a right to do as he pleases."

"I don't reckon nothin' o' the kind," said the Deacon indignantly. "I
won't stand and see it done."

"Better not mix in," admonished the teamster. "Them air Southerners is
pretty savage folks, and249 don't like any meddlin' twixt them and their
niggers. What's a nigger, anyway?"

"Amounts to about as much as a white-livered teamster," said the Deacon
hotly. "I'm goin' to mix in. I'll not see any man murdered while I'm
around. Say, you," to the white man; "what are you goin' ter do with
that man?"

"Mind yer own bizniss," replied the white man, after a casual glance at
the Deacon, and seeing that he did not wear a uniform. "Keep yer mouth
shet if ye know when y're well off."

"O, massa, save me! save me!" said the negro, jumping up and running
toward the Deacon, who had slipped down from the fodder, and was
standing in the road.

"All right, Sambo; don't be scared. He sha'n't kill you while I'm
around," said the Deacon.

"I tell ye agin to mind yer own bizniss and keep yer mouth shet," said
the white man savagely. "Who air ye, anyway? One o' them sblinkin'
nigger-stealin' Abolitionists, comin' down here to rob us Southerners of
our property?"

He followed this with a torrent of profane denunciation of the "whole
Abolition crew."

"Look here, Mister," said the Deacon calmly, reaching back into the
wagon and drawing out a musket, "I'm a member o' the church and a
peaceable man. But I don't 'low no man to call me names, and I object to
swearin' of all kinds. I want to argy this question with you, quietly,
as between man and man."

He looked down to see if there was a cap on the gun.250

"What's the trouble 'twixt you and this man here?"

"That ain't no man," said the other hotly. "That's my nigger bought with
my money. He's my property. I've ketched him tryin' to run away tryin'
to rob me of $1,200 worth o' property and give it to our enemies. I'm
gwine to kill him to stop others from doin' the same thing."

"Indeed you're not," said the Deacon, putting his thumb on the hammer.

"Do you mean to say you'll stop me?" said the master, starting to raise
his shotgun, which he had let fall a little.

"Something like that, if not the exact words," an swered the Deacon
calmly, looking at the sights of the musket with an interested air.

The master resumed his volley of epithets.

The Deacon's face became very rigid, and the musket was advanced to a
more threatening position. "I told you before," he said, "that I didn't
allow no man to call me sich names. I give you warnin' agin. I'm liable
to fall from grace, as the Methodists say, any minnit. I'm dumbed sure
to if you call me an other name."

The master glared at the musket. It was clearly in hands used to guns,
and the face behind it was not that of a man to be fooled with beyond a
certain limit. He lowered his shotgun, and spoke sharply to the negro:

"Sam, git 'round here in front of the hoss, and put for home at once."

"Stay where you are, till I finish talkin' to this man," commanded the
Deacon. "Are you a loyal man?" he inquired of the master.251

"If ye mean loil to that rail-splittin' gorilla in Washington," replied
the master, hotly; "to that low-down, nigger-lovin', nigger-stealin'\x97"

"Shet right up," said the Deacon, bringing up his gun in a flash of
anger. "You sha'n't abuse the President o' the United States any more'n
you shall me, nor half so much. He's your President, whom you must honor
and respect. I won't have him blackguarded by an unhung rebel. You say
yourself you're a rebel. Then you have no right whatever to this man,
and I'm goin' to confiscate him in the name o' Abraham Lincoln,
President o' the United States, an' accordin' to his proclamation of
emancipation, done at Washington, District o' Columbia, in the year of
our Lord eighteen hundred and sixty-three and of our Independence the
87th.

"Now, you jest turn your hoss around and vacate these parts as quick as
you can, and leave me and this colored man alone. We're tired o' havin'
you 'round."

The master was a man of sense. He knew that there was nothing to do but
obey.



CHAPTER XXI. THE PERPLEXED DEACON TROUBLED TO KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH THE
FREEDMAN.

"WHAT is yer a-gwine tub do wid me, mas'r?" asked the negro, with a look
and an attitude curiously like a forlorn stray dog which had at last
found an owner and protector.

"Wish to gracious I knowed," answered the Deacon, knitting his brows in
thought. "I don't know as I've anything to do with you. I've about as
much idee what to do with you as I would with a whale in the Wabash
River. I'm neither John Brown nor a colonization society. I've about as
much use for a nigger, free or slave, as a frog has for a tail. You're
free now that's all there is of it. Nobody's got nothin' to do with you.
You've got to do with yourself that's all. You're your own master. You
go your way and let other folks go theirs."

In the simplicity of his heart the Deacon thought he had covered the
whole ground. What more could the man want, who had youth, health and
strength, than perfect liberty to go where he pleased and strive for
what he wanted?

The negro looked dazed and perplexed.

"Isn't yo' a-gwine tuh take me wid yo', mas'r?" he asked.

"Take you with me!" repeated the Deacon in253 astonishment and some
petulance. "Certainly not. I don't want you. And you mustn't call me
master. You mustn't call any man master. You're no longer a slave.
You're your own master. You're free; don't you understand?"

"But whah'm I tuh go?" reiterated the negro hopelessly.

"Go where you please," repeated the Deacon with impatience. "The whole
world's open to you. Go to the next County; go to Kaintucky, Injianny,
Ohio, Illinoy, Kamskatky, New Guiney, Jericho, or Polkinhorn's tanyard
if you like."

"Afo' God, I don't know what tuh do, or wha tuh go," said the negro
despairingly. "If yo' leab me here, I know dat ole mas'r 'll fin' me an'
done kill me daid."

"Niggers is like mules," remarked Groundhog savagely. "They only know
two places in the whole world: their master's place and somewhere else.
They want to run away from their master, but they hain't nary idee whar
to go when they run away. A hoss has more sense 'n either a nigger or a
mule. When he lights out he's got some idee o' where he wants t' go. I
tell you; jest give that nigger to me. I know what to do with him. I
know a man that'll give me $100 for him, and I'll whack up fair and
square with you."

"Shut up, you mullet-headed mule-whacker," said the Deacon irritably.
"You hain't got sense enough to take care o' mules right, let alone a
man. I wouldn't trust you an hour with the poorest team on my place.
I'll take care o' this man myself, at least, until I kin have a talk
with the boys. Here, you nigger, what's your name?"254

"Dey call me Sam, mas'r," replied the negro.

"Well, we'll change that. You're a free man, and I'll give you another
name. I'm goin' to call you Abraham\x97Abraham Lincoln the grandest name in
the world to-day. For short I'll call you Abe. You must stop callin' me,
or anybody, master, I tell you. You just call be Mister Klegg."

"Mistuh what?" said the negro, puzzled.

"Well, jest call me boss. Now, Abe, climb up into the wagon here, and
come along with me."255

"He can't git into no wagon o' mine," said the teamster surlily.
"Government wagons ain't no passenger coaches for runaway niggers. I
didn't hire to haul niggers on pleasure excursions. That ain't no part
of a white man's bizniss. Let him walk alongside."

"You dumbed citizen," said the Deacon angrily. He had been in camp long
enough to catch the feeling of the men toward the Quartermaster's
civilian employees. "This man shall ride in this wagon along side o' me,
and you'll drive us into camp, or I'll find out the reason why. Now jest
gether up your lines and start."

"I won't take no slack from no old Wabash hayseed like you," responded
the teamster cordially. "You can't boss me. You hain't no right. You
can't ring me in to help you steal niggers, unless you divide with me.
You come out here in the road and I'll punch that old sorrel-top head o'
your'n."

And the teamster pranced out and brandished his blacksnake whip
menacingly.

It had been many years since anybody on the Wabash had dared Deacon
Klegg to a match in fisticuffs. The memory of some youthful performances
of his had secured him respectful immunity. His last affair had been a
severe suppression of a noted bully who attempted to "crowd the
mourners" at a camp-meeting for the good order of which the Deacon felt
himself somewhat responsible. It took the bully six months to get over
it, and he went to the mourner's bench himself at the next revival.

The Deacon looked at the gesticulating teamster a minute, and the
dormant impulse of his youth256 stirred again within him. He laid his
gun down and calmly slid from the fodder to the ground. He pulled off
his coat and hat, and laid them on the wagon. He took the quid of
tobacco from his mouth, carefully selected a place for it on the edge of
the wagon-bed, laid it there on a piece of corn-husk, and walked toward
the teamster, rolling up his sleeves.

The effect upon the monarch of the mules was immediate and marked. He
stopped prancing around, and began to look alarmed.

"Now, don't you hit me," he yelled. "I'm the driver o' this team, and in
Gov'ment employ. If you hit me I'll have you courtmartialed."

Do You Hear? Git on Your Mule at Onct.'

"I'm not goin' to hit you," said the Deacon, raising a fist as big as a
small ham, "if you behave yourself. I want you to shut your mouth, and
git on your mule and start for camp. If you don't 'tend to your bizness,
or give me any more o' your sass, I'll pound the melt out o' you. D' you
hear? Git on your mule at onct."



frontispiecee (114K)

The teamster did as he was bid, and drove on till they came up to where
the boys were sitting on a fence-corner waiting for them.

Si had a brace of chickens tied together by the feet, and Shorty a crock
of honey in the comb, with a bag of saleratus biscuits and one of
cornmeal, and a number of strings of dried apples.

"Bin waitin' for you a good while, Pap. What kep' you so long? Break-
down?" said Si.

"No; had to stop and argy the fugitive slave law with a Southern
gentleman, and then debate niggers' civil rights with the teamster,"
said the Deacon. Then he told them the story. "Here's the257 darky," he
said, as he concluded. "Seems to be a purty fair sort of a farm-hand, if
he has sense enough to come in when it rains, which I misdoubt. What are
we goin' to do with him?"

"Do with him?" said Shorty. "Do everything with him. Take him into camp
first. Hire him out to the Quartermaster. Let him wait on the Captain.
Take him back home with you to help on the farm while Si's away.
Jehosephat, a big buck like that's a mighty handy thing to have about
the house. You kin learn him more tricks in a week than he'd learn with
his owner in a lifetime. Say, boy, what's your name?"

"S s-s," the negro began to say, but he caught the Deacon's eye upon
him, and responded promptly, "Abr'm Lincoln."

"I believe the nigger kin be taught," thought the Deacon. "Probably
this's some more o' Providence's workin's. Mebbe He brung this about
jest to give me my share o' the work o' raisin' the fallen race."

"Boys," said he, "I'm glad you've got something good to eat there. Them
chickens seem tol'ble young and fat. I hope you came by 'em honestly."

"Well, Pap," chuckled Si, "I don't know as a man who's been runnin'
around for another man's nigger, and got him, is jest in shape to ask
questions how other men got chickens and things; but I'll relieve your
mind by sayin' that we came honestly by 'em."

"Yes; thought it would be interestin' to try that way once, for a
change," said Shorty. "Besides, it wuz too near camp for any
hornswogglin'. These fellers right around camp are gettin' on to the
names258 o' the regiments. They're learnin' to notice 200th Ind. on our
caps, and' foller you right into camp, and go up to the Colonel. We're
layin' altogether too long in one place. The Army o' the Cumberland
oughter move."

"We paid full value, C. O. D.," added Si, "and not in Drake's Plantation
Bitters labels nor in busted Kalamazoo bank notes, neither. I think
fellers that pass patent-medicine labels and business-college
advertisements on these folks for money, oughter to be tied up by the
thumbs. It's mean."

"That's what I say, too," added Shorty, with virtuous indignation.
"'Specially when you kin git the best kind o' Confederit money from
Cincinnati for two cents on the dollar. I always lay in enough o' that
to do my tradin' with."

"What's that? What's that?" gasped the Deacon. "Passin' Confederate
money that you buy in Cincinnati at two cents on the dollar? Why, that's
counterfeitin'."

"That's drawin' it a little too fine," said Shorty argumentatively.
"These flabbergasted fools won't take greenbacks. I offered the woman
to-day some, and she said she wouldn't be found dead with 'em. She
wanted Confedrit money. You may call it counterfeitin', but the whole
Southern Confederacy is counterfeit, from its President down to the
lowest Corporil. A dollar or two more or less won't make no difference.
This feller at Cincinnati has got just as much right to print notes as
they have in Richmond."

"He prints 'em on better paper, his pictures are better, and he sells
his notes much cheaper, and I259 don't see why I shouldn't buy o' him
rather than o' them. I believe in patronizin' home industry."

"Si," said his father, in horrified tones, "I hope you hain't bin
passin' none o' the Cincinnati Confederate money on these people."

"I hope not, Pap. But then, you know, I ain't no bank-note detector. I
can't tell the Cincinnati kind from the Richmond kind, and I never try
very hard. All Confedrt money's alike to me, and I guess in the end
it'll be to them. Both kinds say they'll be paid six months after the
conclusion of peace be twixt the Confederate States and the United
States, and I guess one stands jest as good show as the other. The woman
asked me $2 apiece for these chickens, and I paid her in the Confedrit
money I happened to have in my pocket. I didn't notice whether it wuz
printed in Cincinnati or Richmond. I got it from one o' the boys playin'
p\x97\x97. I mean he paid it to see me." He gave Shorty a furtive kick and
whispered: "Come mighty nigh givin' my self away that time."

There was a long hill just before they came in sight of the entrance to
the camp, and they got out and helped the mules up. They walked on ahead
until they came to the top. The Deacon looked at the entrance, and said:

"I declare, if there isn't that owner o' this nigger waitin' for us."

"That so?" said Si, turning his eyes in that direction. "And he's got
some officers with him. There's some officers jest mean enough to help
these rebels ketch their niggers. I'd like to knock their addled heads
off."260

"Jest wait till we git discharged, Si, and then we kin lick 'em as much
as we want to," said Shorty. "But we've got to do somethin' now. They
can't see us yit. Deacon, jest take yer nigger and cut down around
through the crick there until you come to the picket-line. Then wait. Me
and Si'll go on in, and come around and find you."

"All right," assented the Deacon, who was falling into camp ways with
remarkable facility. "But you've got to look out for that teamster. He's
meaner'n dog-fennel. He'll tell everything."

"Good point," said Si. "We must 'tend to him. See here, Groundhog," he
continued, walking back to the teamster; "you don't know nothin' about
that old man and nigger that got on your wagon. They slipped off into
the woods when you wuzn't lookin', while you wuz busy with your mules,
and you don't know whether they went to the right or to the left, up the
road or down it."

"Do you s'pose I'm goin' to help steal a nigger, and then lie about it
to the officers, for you galoots, and all for nothin'?" said the
teamster. "You are blamed fools, that's all I've got to say."

"Look here, Groundhog," said Shorty, coming up close, with a portentious
doubled fist. "You know me, and you know Si. You know that either of us
can maul the head off you in a minute, whenever we've a mind to, and
we're likely any time to have a mind to. We're a durned sight nearer you
all the time than any o' the officers, and you can't git away from us,
though you may from them. They may buck and gag you, as they ought to,
'bout every day, but that won't be nothin' to the welting one of us
'll261 give you. Now, you tell that story, jest as Si said, and stick to
it, or you won't have a whole bone in your carcass by the end o' the
week."

When they came up to the entrance there indeed stood the owner of
Abraham Lincoln, holding his horse, and by him stood the Lieutenant-
Colonel of the 200th Ind., a big, burly man, who had been a drover and
an influential politician before he got his commission, and had a high
reputation at home as a rough-and-tumble fighter. He had not added to
his bellicose fame since entering the field, because for some mysterious
reason he had been absent every time the regiment went into a fight, or
was likely to. Consequently he was all the more blustering and
domineering in camp, in spite of the frequent repressions he got from
the modest, quiet little Colonel.

"Old Blowhard Billings is there," said Si. "Now we'll have a gust o'
wind."

"Didn't know he was in camp," said Shorty. "I've a notion to bust a cap
and scare him back to Nashville agin. Don't let him bluff you, Si, even
if he is the Lieutenant-Colonel."

They rode up to the entrance looking as innocent and placid as if
bringing in a load from the fields on the Wabash.

"Corporal Klegg," said the Lieutenant-Colonel sternly, "bring out that
nigger from the wagon."

"We ain't got no nigger in the wagon, Colonel," said Si, with an
expression of surprise.

"Come, now, don't fool with me, sir, or I'll make you very sorry for it.
I'm no man to be trifled with, sir. If you ain't got a nigger in the
wagon, what 've you done with him."262

"We ain't done nothin' with him, Colonel," persisted Si. "I hain't had
nothin' to do with no nigger since we started out this mornin'; hain't
spoken to one. Sometimes niggers jump on our wagons, ride a little ways,
and then jump off agin. I can't keep track of 'em. I generally make 'em
git off when I notice 'em."

"Corporal Klegg, you're lyin' to me," said the Lieutenant-Colonel
roughly. "I'll settle with you directly. Groundhog, have you got a
nigger in the wagon?"

"No, sir," replied the teamster.

"Didn't you have' one?"

Groundhog looked up and caught Shorty's eye fixed unflinchingly on him.

"I b'lieve that one did git on," he stammered, "but he got off agin
d'rectly. I didn't notice much about him. My mules wuz very bothersome
all the time. They're the durndest meanest mules that ever a man tried
to drive. That there off-swing mule'd\x97"

"We don't want to hear nothin' about your mules. We'll look in the wagon
ourselves."

The search developed nothing. The Lieutenant-Colonel came back to Si,
angrier than ever.

"Look here, Klegg, you're foolin' me, an' I won't stand it. I'll have
the truth out o' you if I have to kill you. Understand?"

There was a dangerous gleam in Si's and Shorty's eyes, but they kept
their lips tightly closed.

"This gentleman here," continued the Lieutenant-Colonel, "says, and I
believe his story, against all that you may say, that the men with this
wagon, which he's bin watchin' all along, took his nigger263 away from
him and drove him off with insults and curses. They threatened his life.
He says he can't reckonize either of you, and likely you have disguised
yourselves. But he reckonizes the wagon and the teamster, and is willin'
to swear to 'em. I know he's tellin' the truth, because I know you
fellers. You're impudent and sassy. You've bin among them that's
hollered at me. You've bin stealin' other things besides niggers to-day,
and have 'em in your possession. You're loaded down with things you've
stolen from houses. I won't command a regiment of nigger-thieves. I
won't have nigger-thieves in my regiment. If I've got any in my regiment
I'll break 'em of it, or I'll break their infernal necks. I believe you
fellers got away with that nigger, and I'll tie you up by the thumbs
till I get the truth out o' you. Sergeant o' the guard, take charge o'
these men, and bring 'em along. Take that stuff that they've stolen away
from them and send it to my tent."

Si and Shorty got very white about the mouth, but Si merely said, as
they handed their guns to the guard:

"Colonel, you may tie us up till doomsday, but you'll git no help out of
us to ketch runaway niggers and put 'em back in slavery."

"Shut up, you scalawag," roared the Lieutenant-Colonel. "If I hear
another word out o' you I'll buck-and-gag you."

They marched to Regimental Headquarters and halted, and the Lieutenant-
Colonel renewed his browbeating, Si and Shorty continued obstinate, and
the Lieutenant-Colonel, getting angrier every minute,264 ordered them
tied up by the thumbs. While the Sergeant of the Guard, who was a friend
of the boys, and had little heart for the work, was dallying with his
preparations, the Colonel himself appeared on the scene.

"Ah, Colonel, you've got back, have you?" said the Lieutenant-Colonel,
little pleased at the interruption. "I've just caught two of the men in
a little job o' nigger-stealin', and I was about to learn them265 a
lesson which will break them of the habit. With your consent I'll go on
with the work."

"Nigger-stealing?" said the Colonel quietly. "You mean helping a slave
to get away? Did you learn whether the owner was a loyal man?"

"I don't know as that makes any difference," replied 'the Lieutenant-
Colonel surlily. "As a matter of fact, I believe he said he had two sons
in the rebel army."

'i'll Invite Your Attention to the Emancipation Proclamation 264 '

"Well, Colonel," said the other, "I'll invite your attention to the
Emancipation Proclamation of President Lincoln, and the orders from the
War Department, which prohibit the return of slaves to disloyal owners,
and make it the duty of officers and men to assist in their escape. You
had better dismiss the men to their quarters."

"If that's the case if I don't resign. I'm no

"Abolitionist. I didn't come into the army to free the niggers."

"I shall take pleasure in forwarding your resignation with a
recommendation of its acceptance for the good of the service," said the
Colonel calmly.

"Men, go to your quarters."

"Altogether, Pap, I consider this a mighty good day's work," remarked Si
that evening after supper, as they sat around the fire smoking, with
Abraham Lincoln snoring vigorously on the floor, in his first night's
sleep as a free man.



CHAPTER XXII. TRYING TO EDUCATE ABRAHAM LINCOLN TOO HIGH-PRESSURE
SCHOOLING\x97THE BOYS ON PICKET.

ALL THREE of the men at once became guardians of Abraham Lincoln, and in
their several ways heartily interested in his welfare.

The Deacon was fired by the missionary spirit of his kind and class.

"No use talkin' no more about the heathen 'On Greenland's icy
mountains,' or any place else," he communed with himself that evening,
as he sat and smoked, and occasionally glanced at the ebon face of the
sleeper in the corner. "Providence has cut out a job for me, and sent it
home. Rather, He sent me where I couldn't help stumblin' upon it, and
reckonizin' it. The responsibility to Him is clear. I've got heathen
enough to last me for a 'coon's age, to lift that poor, ignorant soul
up, and bring it to a knowledge of Christian ways. He's not nice nor
purty; never heard of a pagan that wuz. Wouldn't be pagans if they wuz.
But he's a man and a brother, and the Bible says that I'm my brother's
keeper. I'll keep him agin fifty-'leven o' that old snortin' rebel and
Copperhead Blowhard Billings. I wuzzent brung up in the woods to be
scared by the hootin' of an owl."

"We might take him along with us, Si," said Shorty, in a low tone, with
a nod toward Abraham267 Lincoln. "We could make a bully cook out of him.
We could have no end of fun with him. We could learn him lots o' tricks.
He's as strong as an ox, and after I'd give him a few lessons in puttin'
up his hands, he'd knock out that sassy nigger o' the Colonel's."

"I think so, too," acquiesced Si, with an estimating glance at the
sleeper.

Abraham Lincoln's education began bright and early the next morning,
when Shorty kicked and shook him into wakefulness at the sound of the
reveille.

"Git up; git up," said Shorty. "Wash your hands and face, comb your
hair, cut some wood and put it on the fire, and bring a kettle o' water
from the spring."

"Wash my hands and face," said the negro, in a dazed way. "Wha' fo'?
Don't got nufin on dem. Comb my ha'r? Nebber did dat in my life."

"Well, you've got to do it now every mornin', and be spry about it, too.
Come, don't move around as if sawed out o' basswood. This ain't nigger-
quarters. Git some springs in your feet."

And he emphasized his injunctions with a vigorous push.

The negro's face looked as if he began to have doubts as to whether
freedom was all that had been represented to him. To have to get up
early every morning, and wash his face and hands and comb his hair,
seemed at the moment to be a high price to pay for liberty.

"Does I hab tuh do dat ebbery mornin', Boss?" he said, turning with a
look of plaintive inquiry to the Deacon.268

"Why, certainly," said the Deacon, who had just finished his own
ablutions,' and was combing his hair. "Every man must do that to be
decent."

Abraham Lincoln gave a deep sigh.

"Washes himself as if he's afraid the water'd scald him," said the
Deacon, watching the negro's awkward efforts. "He'll have to take more
kindly to water, if he comes into a Baptist total immersion family.
There's no salvation except by water, and plenty of it, too. Now," he
continued, as the black man had finished, "pick up that ax and cut some
wood to get breakfast with."

Abraham Lincoln took the ax, and began belaboring the wood, while the
Deacon studied him with a critical eye. There was little that the Deacon
prided himself on more than his skill as a wood chopper. People who
think the ax is a simple, skill-less tool, dependent for its efficiency
solely upon the strength and industry with which it is wielded, make a
great mistake. There is as much difference in the way men handle axes,
and in the result they produce, as there is in their playing the violin.
Anybody can chop, it is true, as anybody can daub with a paint brush,
but a real axman of the breed of the Deacon, who had gone into the
wilderness with scarcely any other tool than an ax, can produce results
with it of which the clumsy hacker can scarcely imagine. The Deacon
watched the negro's work with disgust and impatience.

"Hadn't oughter named sich a clumsy pounder as that 'Abraham Lincoln,'"
he mused. "Old Abe could handle an ax with the best of 'em. This feller
handles it as if it was a handspike. If Si couldn't 've269 used an ax
better'n that when he was 10 years old, I'd 'a' felt mortally ashamed o'
him. Gracious, what a job I have before me o' makin' a first-class man
out o' him."

The Deacon Gives Abe a Lesson in Wood Chopping 269

He took the ax from the negro's hand, and patiently showed him how to
hold and strike with it. The man apparently tried his best to learn, but
it270 was a perspiring effort for him and the Deacon. The negro
presently dropped his ax, sat down on the log, and wiped his forehead
with his shirtsleeve.

"'Fore God, Boss, dat's de hardest way ob cuttin' wood dat I ebber seed.
Hit'll kill me done daid to chop wood dat a-way."

"Pshaw!" said the impatient Deacon. "You're simply stupid; that's all.
That's the only way to handle an ax. You kin cut with half the work that
way."

He was discovering what so many of us have found out, that among the
hardest things in life is that of getting people to give up clumsy ways
for those that are better.

In the meantime the boys had gotten breakfast. Then Shorty, who was
dying to train their new acquisition for a winning fight with the
Colonel's negro, took him behind the house for a little private
instruction in boxing. The field-hand had never even heard of such a
thing before, but Shorty was too much in earnest to care for a little
thing like that. He went at his task with a will, making the negro
double his fists just so, strike in a particular way, make a certain
"guard," and hit out scientifically. Shorty was so enthusiastic that he
did not stop to think that it was severe labor for the poor negro, and
when he had to stop his lesson at the end of half an hour to go on
battalion drill he left his pupil in a state of collapse.

Ignorant of the new ordeal through which his charge had been going, the
Deacon went out in search of him. He had just finished reading the news
in the Cincinnati Commercial, ending with an271 editorial on "Our Duty
Toward the Freedmen," which impelled him to think that he could not
begin Abraham Lincoln's education too soon.

"Now, Abe," said he briskly, "you've had a good rest, and it's time that
you should be doin' some thing. You ought to learn to read as soon as
possible, and you might as well begin to learn your letters at once.
I'll give you your first lesson. Here are some nice large letters in
this newspaper head, that you kin learn very easily. Now, the first one
is T. You see it is a cross."

"Afo' de Lawd, Boss," wailed the desperate negro, "I jest can't l'arn no
mo', now, nohow. 'Deed I can't. Hit's bin nuffin but l'arn, l'arn,
ebbery minnit sense I got up dis mawnin', an' my haid's jest bustin', so
hit is. I a'most wisht I wuz back wid my ole mas'r, who didn't want to
l'arn me nuffin."

The astonished Deacon paused and reflected.

"Mebbe we've bin tryin' to force this plant too fast. There's danger
about puttin' new wine into old bottles. It's not the right way to train
anything. The way to break a colt is to hang the bridle on the fence
where he kin see and smell it for a day or two. I'll go a little slow
with him at first. Would you like something more to eat, Abe?"

"Yes, Boss. 'Deed I would," answered the negro with cheerful promptness,
forgetting all about the pangs of the "new birth of freedom."

THE END OF BOOK NO. 2.



SI KLEGG SI AND SHORTY MEET MR. ROSENBAUM, THE SPY, WHO RELATES HIS
ADVENTURES



By John McElroy



BOOK No. 3



PUBLISHED BY

THE NATIONAL TRIBUNE CO.

WASHINGTON, D. C.

SECOND EDITION

COPYRIGHT 1910



THE SIX VOLUMES SI KLEGG, Book I, Transformation From a Raw Recruit SI
KLEGG, Book II, Through the Stone River Campaign SI KLEGG, Book III,
Meets Mr. Rosenbaum, the Spy SI KLEGG, Book IV, On The Great Tullahoma
Campaign SI KLEGG, Book V, Deacon's Adventures At Chattanooga SI KLEGG,
Book VI, Enter On The Atlanta Campaign



Si and Shorty As Mounted Infantry


titlepage (25K)



CONTENTS


SI KLEGG

PREFACE

CHAPTER I. OUT ON PICKET

CHAPTER II. ROSENBAUM, THE SPY

CHAPTER III. THE DEACON GOES HOME

CHAPTER IV. A SPY'S EXPERIENCES

CHAPTER V. THE BOYS GO SPYING

CHAPTER VI. LETTER FROM HOME

CHAPTER VII. CORN PONE AND BUTTERMILK

CHAPTER VIII. A PERIOD OF SELF-DISGUST

CHAPTER IX. SHORTY GETS A LETTER

CHAPTER X. TRADING WITH THE REBS

CHAPTER XI. SHORTY'S CORRESPONDENT

CHAPTER XII. THE BAN ON WET GOODS

CHAPTER XIII. THE JEW SPY WRITES

CHAPTER XIV. SHORTY HAS AN ADVENTURE WITH SI

CHAPTER XV. SHORTY NEARLY GOT MARRIED

CHAPTER XVI. AN UNEXPECTED MARRIAGE

CHAPTER XVII. GATHERING INFORMATION

CHAPTER XVIII.   THE JEW SPY AGAIN



ILLUSTRATIONS


Si and Shorty As Mounted Infantry

Mr. Klegg Enjoys Solid Comfort. 16

"surrender, There, You Dumbed Rebel." 21

Trying to Save his Neck. 30

"i Know You, Unt What You're Here For." 32

The Negroes Merrymaking. 39

Klegg Starts Home. 45

Shorty Settles With the Banker. 51

Close Call for Rosenbaum. 54

The Spy in Custody. 58

Rosenbaum Runs Into Sigel's Pickets. 66

Watching the House. 75

The Surprise 79

Undesirable Acquaintances. 100

The Spoils of War 105

An Uncomfortable Situation 107

Shorty and si Are at Outs. 110

Si and Shorty As Mounted Infantry 117

Bushrod Prays for his Life 119

The Duel. 139

The Overture for Trade. 144

Si Wants a Fight 147

Shorty Wants to Fight Groundhog 157

Shorty Reading the Letter 160

She Whipped out a Long Knife. 189

Take Your Arm from Around That Yank's Neck 203

Jeff Sat up and Rubbed Himself 208

Old Bragg Used to Walk up Unt Down, Growling Unt Cussing. 259



SI KLEGG SI AND SHORTY MEET MR. ROSENBAUM, THE SPY, WHO RELATES HIS
ADVENTURES By John McElroy.



PREFACE

"Si Klegg, of the 200th Ind., and Shorty, his Partner," were born years
ago in the brain of John McElroy, Editor of The National Tribune.

These sketches are the original ones published in The National Tribune,
revised and enlarged somewhat by the author. How true they are to nature
every veteran can abundantly testify from his own service. Really, only
the name of the regiment was invented. There is no doubt that there were
several men of the name of Josiah Klegg in the Union Army, and who did
valiant service for the Government. They had experiences akin to, if not
identical with, those narrated here, and substantially every man who
faithfully and bravely carried a musket in defense of the best
Government on earth had sometimes, if not often, experiences of which
those of Si Klegg are a strong reminder.

The Publishers.

THIS BOOK IS RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED TO THE RANK AND FILE OF THE GRANDEST
ARMY EVER MUSTERED FOR WAR.



CHAPTER I. OUT ON PICKET THE BOYS SHOW THE DEACON A NEW WRINKLE IN THE
CULINARY ART.

SOME days later, Si had charge of a picket-post on the Readyville Pike,
near Cripple Deer Creek. The Deacon went with them, at their request,
which accorded with his own inclinations, The weather was getting warmer
every day, which made him fidgety to get back to his own fields, though
Si insisted that they were still under a foot of snow in Indiana. But he
had heard so much about picket duty that, next to battle, it was the
thing he most wanted to see. Abraham Lincoln was left behind to care for
the "house." He had been a disappointment so far, having developed no
strong qualities, except for eating and sleeping, of which he could do
unlimited quantities.

"No use o' takin' him out on picket," observed Shorty, "unless we kin
git a wagon to go along and haul rations for him. I understand now why
these rebels are so poor; the niggers eat up everything they kin raise.
I'm afraid, Deacon, he'll make the Wabash Valley look sick when you turn
him loose in it."

"I guess my farm kin stand him," said the Deacon proudly. "It stood Si
when he was a growin' boy, though he used, to strain it sometimes."

They found a comfortable fence-corner facing16 south for their "tent,"
which they constructed by making a roof of cedar boughs resting on a
rail running from one angle to another. They laid more boughs down in
the corner, and on this placed their blankets, making a bed which the
Deacon pronounced very inviting and comfortable. They built a fire in
front, for warmth and for cooking, and so set up housekeeping in a very
neat and soldier-like way.

Mr. Klegg Enjoys Solid Comfort. 16

The afternoon passed without special incident. Shorty came in with a
couple of chickens, but the17 Deacon had learned enough to repress any
questions as to where and how he got them. He soon became more
interested in his preparations for cooking them. He had built a big fire
in a hole in the ground, and piled a quantity of dry cedar on this. Then
he cut off the heads and legs of the chickens, and, getting some mud
from the side of the road, proceeded to cover each, feathers and all,
with a coating nearly an inch thick.

"What in the world do you mean by that, Shorty?" asked the Deacon in
surprise.

"He's all right. Pap," assured Si. "He'll show you a new wrinkle in
chicken-fixin' that you kin teach mother when you go home. She knows
more about cookin' than any other woman in the world, but I'll bet she's
not up to this dodge."

The fire had by this time burned down to a heap of glowing embers. The
boys scraped a hole in these, laid on it their two balls of mud, then
carefully covered them with live coals and piled on a little more wood.

"I'll say right now," said the Deacon, "that I don't think much o' that
way. Why didn't you take their feathers off and clean out their innards?
Seems to me that's a nasty way."

"Wait and see," said Shorty sententiously.

Si had mixed some meal into a dough in the half-canteens he and Shorty
carried in their haversacks. He spread this out on a piece of sheet-
iron, and propped it up before the fire. In a little while it was nicely
browned over, when Si removed it from the sheet-iron, turned it over,
and browned the other side. He repeated this until he had a sufficiency
of18 "hoe cakes" for their supper. A kettle of good, strong coffee had
been boiling on the other side of the fire while this was going on. Then
they carefully raked the embers off, and rolled out two balls of hard-
baked clay. Waiting for these to cool a little, they broke them. The
skin and feathers came off with the pieces and revealed deliciously
savory, sweet meat, roasted just to a turn. The intestines had shriveled
up with the heat into little, hard balls, which were thrown away.

"Yum\x97yum\x97yum," said Shorty, tearing one of the chickens in two, and
handing a piece to the Deacon, while Si gave him a sweet, crisp hoe cake
and a cup of strong coffee. "Now, this's what you might call livin'.
Never beat that cookin' in any house that had a roof. Only do that when
you've stars in the roof of your kitchen."

"It certainly is splendid," admitted the Deacon. "I don't think Maria
could've done better."

It was yet light when they finished their supper, filled their pipes,
and adjusted themselves for a comfortable smoke. One of the men came
back and said:

"Corporal, there's a rebel on horseback down the road a little ways who
seems to be spying on us. We've noticed him for some little time. He
don't come up in good range, and we haven't fired at him, hopin' he'd
come closer. Better come and take a look at him."

"Don't do anything to scare him off," said Si. "Keep quiet. Me and
Shorty'll sneak down through the field, out of sight, and git him."

They picked up their guns and slipped out under19 the cover of the
undergrowth to where they could walk along the fence, screened by the
heavy thicket of sumach. Catching the excitement of the occasion, the
Deacon followed them at a little distance.

Without discovery Si and Shorty made their way to a covert within an
easy 50 yards of where the horseman sat rather uneasily on a fine,
mettled animal. They got a good look at him. He was a young, slender
man, below medium hight, with curly, coalblack hair, short whiskers, a
hooked nose, and large, full eyes. He wore a gray suit of rather better
make and material than was customary in the rebel army. He had a
revolver in his belt and a carbine slung to his saddle, but showed no
immediate intention of using either. His right hand rested on his thigh,
and his eyes were intently fixed on the distant picket-post.

"A rebel scout," whispered Si. "Shall we knock him over, and then order
him to surrender, or halt him first, and then shoot?"

"He can't git away," said Shorty. "I have him kivered. You kivver his
hoss's head. Then call him down."

Si drew his sights fine on the horse's head and yelled:

"Surrender, there, you dumbed rebel."

'surrender, There, You Dumbed Rebel.' 21

The man gave a quick start, a swift glance at the blue uniforms, and
instantly both hands went up.

"That is all right, boys. Don't shoot. I'm a friend," he called in a
strong German accent.

"Climb down off o' that boss, and come here, and do it mighty sudden,"
called out Si, with his finger still on the trigger.20

The horse became restive at the sound of strange voices, but the man
succeeded in dismounting, and taking his reins in his hand, led the
horse up to the fence.

"Very glad to see you, boys," said he, surveying their blue garments
with undisguised satisfaction, and putting out his other hand to shake.

"Take off that revolver, and hand it here," ordered the wary Shorty,
following the man with the muzzle of his gun. The man slipped his arm
through the reins, unbuckled his revolver, and handed it to Shorty. Si
jumped over the fence and seized the carbine.

"Who are you, and where did you come from?" asked Si, starting the man
up the road toward the post.

"What rechiment do you belong to?" asked the stranger, warily.

"We belong to Co. Q, 200th Injianny, the best regiment in Gen.
Rosecrans's army," answered Si proudly, that the captive might
understand where the honor of his taking belonged.

"That is all right," said the stranger, with an air of satisfaction.
"The 200th Indianny is a very good regiment. I saw them whip John
Morgan's cavalry at Green River. Clumsy farmer boys, but shoot like born
devils."

"But who are you, and where did you come from?" repeated Si impatiently.

"I'm all right. I'm Levi Rosenbaum of Gen. Rosecrans's secret service. I
got some news for him."

"You have?" said Si suspiciously. "Why didn't you ride right in and tell
it to him? What've you21 bin hangin' around here all afternoon, watchin'
our post for?"

"I wasn't sure you was there. I was told that the Yankee pickets was
going to be pushed out to Cripple Deer Creek to-day, but I didn't know
it for sure. I was afraid that the rebels was there yet. Jim Jones, of
the secret service, had agreed to come out this afternoon and wave a
flag if it was all22 right. I was waiting for his sign. But he is
probably drunk. He always gets so when he reaches camp."

The Deacon joined them in the road, and gave a searching glance at the
prisoner.

"Ain't you a Jew?" he inquired presently. "Ain't your name Rosenbaum?
Didn't you go through Posey County, Ind., a year or two ago, with a
wagon, sellin' packs o' cloth to the farmers?"

"I'm an American citizen," said the man proudly, "the same as the rest
of you. My religion is Hebrew. I don't know and don't care what your
religion is. Every man has the religion that suits him. My name is
Rosenbaum. I did sell cloth in Posey County, unt all over Indianny. It
was good cloth, too, unt I sold it at a bargain."

"It certainly was good cloth, and cheap," admitted the Deacon. "What in
the world are you doin' down here in them clothes?"

"I'm doing just what these men are doing here in their cloze," answered
Rosenbaum. "I'm trying to serve the country. I'm doing it different from
them, because I'm built different from them. I hope I'm doing it well.
But I'm awfully hungry. Got anything to eat? Just a cup of coffee and a
cracker? Don't care for any pork."

"Yes, we'll give you something to eat," said Shorty. "I think there's
some of our chicken left. You'll find that good."

"How did you cook that?" said Rosenbaum, looking at the tempting morsel
suspiciously.

Shorty explained.23

"Thanks; I can't eat it," said Rosenbaum with a sigh. "It ain't kosher."

"What the devil's that?" asked Shorty.

"It's my religion. I can't explain. Send for the Officer of the Guard to
take me to Headquarters," answered Rosenbaum, sipping his coffee.



CHAPTER II. ROSENBAUM, THE SPY THE JEW TELLS THE THRILLING STORY OF HIS
ADVENTURE.

THE Officer of the Guard was a long time in coming, and Mr. Rosenbaum
grew quite chatty and communicative, as they sat around the bright fire
of cedar logs and smoked.

"Yes," he said, "I have been in the secret service ever since the
beginning of the war\x97in fact, before the war, for I began getting news
for Frank Blair in the Winter before the war. They say Jews have no
patriotism. That's a lie. Why should they have no patriotism for
countries where they were treated like dogs? In Germany, where I was
born, they treated us worse than dogs. They made us live in a little,
nasty, pig-pen of an alley; we had to go in at sundown, unt stay there;
we had to wear a different cloze from other folks, unt we didn't dare to
say our souls were our own to any dirty loafer that insulted us.

"Here we are treated like men, unt why shouldn't we help to keep the
country from breaking up? Jews ought to do more than anybody else, unt I
made up my mind from the very first that I was going to do all that I
could. The Generals have told me that I could do much better for the
country in the secret service than as a soldier; they could get plenty
of soldiers unt but few spies."25

"Now you're shoutin'," said Shorty. "They kin git me to soldier as long
as the war lasts, for the askin', but I wouldn't be a spy 10 minutes for
a corn-basket full o' greenbacks. I have too much regard for my neck. I
need it in my business."

"You a spy," said Si derisively. "You couldn't spy for sour apples. Them
big feet o' your'n 'd give you dead away to anybody that'd ever seen you
before."

"Spyin' isn't the business that any straightfor'rd man,"\x97the Deacon
began to say in tones of cold disapproval, and then he bethought him of
courtesy to the stranger, and changed hastily\x97"that I'd like to do. It's
entirely too resky."

"O, it's jest as honorable as anything else. Pap," said Si, divining his
father's thought. "All's fair in love and war. We couldn't git along
without spies. They're as necessary as muskets and cannon."

"Indeed they are," said Mr. Rosenbaum earnestly; "you wouldn't know what
to do with your muskets and cannon if the spies didn't tell you where
the rebels were, unt how many there was of them. I go out unt get
information that it would cost hundreds of lives to get, unt may save
thousands of lives, unt all that it costs is one poor little Jew's neck,
when they drop on to him some day, unt leave him swinging from a tree.
But when that time comes, I shall make no more complaint than these
other poor boys do, who get their heads knockt off in battle. I'm no
better than they are. My life belongs to the country the same as theirs,
unt this free Government is worth all our lives, unt more, too."

His simple, sincere patriotism touched the Deacon26 deeply. "I'd no idee
that there was so much o' the man in a Jew," he said to himself. Then he
asked the stranger:

"How did you come to go into the spy business, Mr. Rosenbaum?"

"Well, I was in St. Louis in the Clothing pizniss, unt you know it was
purty hot there. All the Germans were for the Union, unt most of the
Americans unt Irish seemed to be Secessionists. I sided with the
Germans, but as nobody seemed to think that a Jew had any principles or
cared for anything but the almighty dollar, everybody talked right out
before me, unt by keepin' my ears wide open I got hold of lots of news,
which I took straight to General Lyon. I got well acquainted with him,
and he used to send me here and there to find out things for him. I'd
sell gray uniforms and other things to the Secessionists; they'd talk to
one another right before me as to what was being done, and I'd keep my
ears wide open all the time, though seemed to be only thinking about the
fit and the buttons and the gold lace.

"Then General Lyon wanted to find out just exactly how many men there
was in Camp Jackson\x97no guesswork\x97no suppose. I took 2,000 of my business
cards, printed on white, and 1,000 printed on gray paper. I went through
the whole camp. To every man in uniform I give a white card; to every
man without a uniform, who seemed to be there for earnest, I give a gray
card. When I got back I counted my cards in General Lyon's office, unt
found I'd give out 500 white cards unt 200 gray27 ones. Then General
Lyon took out about 3,000 men, unt brought the whole crowd back with
him."

"Then General Lyon," continued Rosenbaum, "sent me out from Springfield,
Mizzouri, to see how many men old Pap Price unt Ben McCullough had
gathered up against him from Mizzouri, Arkansaw, Texas unt the plains.
Holy Moses, I was scared when I saw the pile of them. The whole world
seemed to be out there, yipping unt yelling for Jeff Davis, drinking raw
sod-corn whisky, making secession speeches, unt shooting at marks.

"I rode right into them, unt pretended that I was looking for Mexican
silver dollars to take to Mexico to buy powder unt lead for the rebel
army. I had a lot of new Confedrit notes that I'd got from my cousin,
who was in the tobacco business in Memphis. They was great curiosities,
unt every man who had a Mexican dollar wanted to trade it for a
Confedrit dollar.

"There was no use tryin' to count the men\x97might as well have tried to
count the leaves on the trees, so I begun to count the regiments. I
stuck a pin in my right lapel for every Mizzouri regiment, one in my
left lapel for every Arkansaw regiment, one in my vest for every one
from Texas. I had black pins for the cannons. I was getting along very
well, when I run across Bob Smiles, a dirty loafer, who had been a
customer in St. Louis. He wouldn't pay me, unt I had to get out a writ
unt levy on his clothes just as he was dressing to go to a quadroon
ball.

"I left him with only a necktie, which was worth nothing to me, as it
had been worn and soiled. He was very sore against me, unt I was not
surprised.28

"It made me sick at my stomach when I saw him come up.

"'Hello, you damn Dutch Jew,' he said. 'What are you doing here?'

"I tried to be very pleasant, unt I put out my hand unt said, with my
best smile:

"'Good gracious. Bob, how glad I am to see you. When did you get here?
Are you well? How are the other boys? Who's here? Where are you
stopping?'

"But I might as well have tried to make friends with a bull dog in front
of a farm house where all the people had gone away.

"'Go to blazes,' he said. 'None of your bizniss how I am, how I got
here, or how the other boys are. Better not let them find out you're
here. They'll take it out of your Jew hide for the way you used to skin
them in St. Louis. I want to know what the devil you are doing here?'

"'Now, Mister Smiles,' I said, pleasant as a May morning, 'that's not
the way to talk to me. You know I got up the stylishest clothes unt the
best fits in St. Louis. We had a little trouble, it is true. It was
nothing, though. Just a little business dispute. You know I always
thought you one of the very nicest men in St. Louis, unt I said so, even
to the Squire unt to the Constable.'

"'Go to the devil, you Savior-killing Jew,' said he. 'Shut up your
mouth, or I'll stuff a piece of pork in it. I want to know at once what
you are doing here? Where did you come from?'

"'I come from Memphis,' said I. 'I'm in the service of the Southern
Confedrisy. General Pillow sent29 me to gather up all the Mexican
dollars I could find, to send to Mexico to buy ammunition.'

"'It's a lie, of course,' said he. 'A Jew'd rather lie than eat, any
day. Then you're one of them St. Louis Dutch\x97them imported Hessians.
They're all dead against us. They all ought to be killed. I ought to
kill you myself for being so cussed mean to me.'

"He put his hand on his revolver in a way that made my breakfast sour in
my stomach, but then I knew that Bob Smiles was a great blowhard, unt
his bark was much worse than his bite. In St. Louis he was always going
to fight somebody unt kill somebody, but he never done neither. Quite a
crowd gathered around, unt Bob blew off to them, unt they yelled, 'Hang
the Jew spy. Kill the damn rascal,' and other things that made me
unhappy. But what made my flesh crawl was to see a man who wasn't saying
much, go to a wagon, pull out a rope, unt begin making a noose on the
end. Bob Smiles caught hold of my collar unt started to drag me toward a
tree. Just as I was giving up everything for lost, up comes Jim
Jones\x97the same man I'm going to meet here\x97he come runnin' up. He was
dressed in full uniform as a rebel officer\x97gray coat unt pants, silver
stars on his collar, high boots, gray slouched hat with gold cord, unt
so on.

"'Here, what is the matter? What's all this fuss in camp?' he said.

"'We've ketched one of them Dutch Jews from St. Louis spying our camp,
Major,' said Bob Smiles, letting loose of my collar to salute the
Major's silver stars. 'And we are going to hang him.'30

"'A spy? How do you know he's a spy?'" asked Jim Jones.

"'Well, he's Dutch; he's a Jew, unt he's from St. Louis. What more do
you want?'" asked Bob Smiles.

Trying to Save his Neck. 30

The crowd yelled, unt de man with the rope went to the tree unt flung
one end over a limb.

"'His being a St. Louis Dutchman is against him,'31 said Jim Jones, 'but
his being a Jew is in his favor. A Jew don't care a blame for politics.
He hain't got no principles. He'd rather make a picayune off you in a
trade than have a wagon-load of principles. But you fellers have got
nothing to do with spies, anyway. That's headquarters' bizniss. I'm an
officer at General Price's headquarters. I'll take him up there unt
examine him. Bring him along.'

"'Go along, Jew,' said two of three of them, giving me kicks, as Bob
Smiles started with me. The man with the rope stood by the tree looking
very disappointed.

"When we got near General Price's tent, Jim Jones says to the rest:

"'You stop there. Come along with me, Jew.'

"He took me by the collar, unt we walked toward General Price's tent. He
whispered to me as we went along: 'You're all right, Rosenbaum. I know
you, unt I know what you're here for. Just keep a stiff upper lip, tell
your story straight, unt I'll see you through.'

'i Know You, Unt What You're Here For.' 32

"That scared me worse than ever, but all that I could do was to keep up
my nerve, unt play my cards coolly. We went into the General's tent, but
he was busy, unt motioned us with his hand to the Adjutant-General.

"'What's the matter?' asked the Adjutant-General, motioning me to sit
down, while he went on making tally marks on a sheet of paper, as a man
called off the regiments that had reported. Then he footed them all up,
unt, turning to another officer, read from it so many Arkansaw
regiments, so many32 Louisianny, so many Mizzouri, so many Texas, so
many batteries of artillery, unt he said to another officer as he laid
the paper face down among the other papers on his table: 'Just as I told
you, Colonel. We have fully 22,000 men ready for battle.' Then to us:
'Well, what can I do for you?'

"'The boys had picked up this Jew for a spy, Colonel,' said Jim Jones,
pointing to me, 'unt they33 were about to hang him, just to pass away
the afternoon more than for anything else. I took him away from them,
telling them that it was your privilege to hang spies, unt you could do
it according to the science of war. I brung him up here to get him away
from them. After they're gone away or got interested in something else
I'll take him unt put him outside of camp.'

"'All right," said de Adjutant-General, without taking much interest in
the matter. 'Do with him as you please. A Jew more or less isn't of any
consequence. Probably he deserves hanging, though, but it isn't well to
encourage the boys to hang men on sight. They're quite too ready to do
that, anyway.'

"He talked to the other man a little, unt then when he went away he
turned to me, unt said, sort of lazy like, as if he didn't care anything
about it:

"'Where are you from?'

"'From Memphis,' said I.

"'Great place, Memphis,' said he; 'one of the thriving suburbs of
Satan's Kingdom. Had lots of fun there. I know every faro bank in it,
which speaks well for my memory, if not for my morals. What bizniss was
you in?'

"'Clothing,' said I.

"'What a fool question to ask a Jew,' said he, yawning. 'Of course, you
was in the clothing trade. You was born in it. All Jews have been since
they gambled for the Savior's garments.'

"'They wasn't Jews what gambled for Christ's clothes,' said I, picking
up a little courage. 'They vass Romans\x97Italians\x97Dagoes.'34

"'Was they?' said he. 'Well, mebbe they was. I haven't read my Bible for
so long that I've clean forgot. Say, what are you doing with all them
pins?'

"The question come so unexpected that it come nearly knocking me off my
base. I had calculated on almost every other possible thing, unt was
ready for it, except that fool question. I thought for a minit that
disappointed man by the tree with the rope was going to get his job,
after all. But I gathered myself together with a jerk, unt calmly said
with a smile:

"'O, that's some of my foolishness. I can't get over being a tailor, and
sticking all the pins what I find in my lapel. I must pick up every one
I see.'

"'Queer where you found them all,' said he. 'Must've brung them from
Memphis with you. I can't find one in the whole camp. Our men use nails
unt thorns instead of pins. I've been wanting a lot of pins for my
papers. Let me have all you got. I wish you had a paper of them.'

"I did have two or three papers in my pockets, unt first had a fool idea
of offering them to him. Then I remembered that disappointed man with
the rope by the tree, unt pulled the pins out of my lapels one by one
unt give them to him, trying to keep count in my head as I did so.

"'What are you doing here, anyway?' he asked as he gathered up the pins
unt put them in a pasteboard box.

"'I come here at General Pillow's orders, to pick up some Mexican silfer
dollars, to buy ammunition in Mexico.

"'Another of old blowhard Pillow's fool schemes,'35 said he. 'I know old
Pillow. I served with him in Mexico, when he dug his ditch on the wrong
side of his fortification. He's probably going to do some-thing else
with the dollars than buy ammunition. Old Gid Pillow's a mighty slick
one, I tell you, when it comes to filling his own pockets. He's no fool
there, whatever he may be in other ways. He's working some scheme to
skin our men, unt making you his partner, then he'll turn around unt
skin you. I'll stop it going any further by turning you out of camp, unt
I ought to take away from you all the money you've gathered up, but I
won't do it on one condition.'

"'What is your condition?' said I, trying not to speak too quick.

"'You say you are in the clothing pizniss. I want awfully a nice
uniform, just like the Major's there. What's such a uniform worth?'

"'About $75,' said I.

"'I paid $65 for this in St. Louis,' said Jim Jones.

"'Well, $10 is not much of a skin for a Memphis Jew,' laughed the
Adjutant-General. 'I tell you what I'll do, if you'll swear by the book
of Deuteronomy, unt Moses, Abraham unt Isaac, to have me inside of two
weeks just such a uniform as the Major's there, I'll let you off with
all the money you have made already, unt when you come back with it I'll
give you written permission to trade for every silver dollar in camp.'

"'It is a bargain,' said I.

"'Unt it'll be a perfect fit," said he.

"'Just like the paper on the wall,' said I. 'Let me36 take your
measure.'

"I had my eye all the time on the paper he had laid carelessly down unt
forgotten. I pulled my tapemeasure out. The old idee of the tailor come
up. I forgot about the disappointed man with the rope by the tree, unt
was my old self taking the measure of a customer. I put all the figures
down on his piece of paper, without his noticing what I was using. I
asked him about the lining, the trimming, unt the pockets, unt wrote
them down. Then I folded up the paper unt stuck it in my breast pocket,
unt my heart gave a big thump, though I kept my face straight, unt went
on talking about buttons unt silk braid unt gold lace for the sleeves. I
promised him he should have the uniform in the army in two weeks' time.
Just then some officers come in, unt Jim Jones hurried me out. I could
not understand Jim Jones. He hurried me across to a place behind the
woods, where we found some horses.

"'Untie that one unt get on quick,' he said. 'My God, you've got the
thing dead to rights; you've got everything on that piece of paper. My
God, what luck! Smartest thing I ever saw done. Get that paper in
General Lyon's hands before midnight if you kill yourself unt horse in
doing it. I'll take you out past part of the guards, unt show you how to
avoid the rest. Then ride as if the devil was after you, until you reach
General Lyon's tent.'

"I was dumfounded. I looked at Jim Jones. His eyes was like fire. Then
it suddenly occurred to me that Jim Jones was a spy, too.

"As I mounted I looked back across the camp. I saw the rope still
hanging from a limb of the tree,37 and the disappointed man sitting down
beside it patiently waiting.

"That night the paper was in General Lyon's hands, unt the next night
the army moved out to fight the battle of Wilson's Creek.

"The Adjutant-General is still waiting for that uniform."

"Halt, who comes there?" called out Shorty, whose quick ears caught the
sound of approaching footsteps.

"The Officer of the Guard," responded from the bank of darkness in the
rear.

"Advance, Officer of the Guard, and give the countersign," commanded
Shorty, lowering his musket to a charge bayonets.

The officer advanced, leaned over the bayonet's point, and whispered the
countersign.

"Countersign's correct," announced Shorty, bringing his gun to a
present. "Good evening. Lieutenant. We have got a man here who claims to
belong to the Secret Service."

"Yes," answered the officer. "We've been expecting him all afternoon,
but thought he was coming in on the other road. I'd have been around
here long ago only for that. This is he, is it? Well, let's hurry in.
They want you at Headquarters as soon as possible."

"Good night, boys," called out Mr. Rosenbaum as he disappeared; "see you
again soon."

38



CHAPTER III. THE DEACON GOES HOME SHORTY FALLS A VICTIM TO HIS GAMBLING
PROPENSITIES.

THE BOYS did not finish their tour of picket duty till the forenoon of
the next day, and it was getting toward evening when they reached their
own camp.

"What in the world's going on at the house?" Si asked anxiously, as they
were standing on the regimental parade ground waiting to be dismissed.
Strange sounds came floating from that direction. The scraping of a
fiddle was mingled with yells, the rush of feet, and laughter.

"I'll go over there and see," said the Deacon, who had sat down behind
the line on a pile of the things they had brought back with them. He
picked up the coffee-pot, the frying-pan, and one of the haversacks, and
walked in the direction of the house. As he turned into the company
street and came in sight of the cabin he looked for an instant, and then
broke out:

"I'm blamed if they don't seem to be havin' a nigger political rally
there, with the house as campaign headquarters. Where in time could they
have all come from? Looks like a crow-roost, with some o' the crows
drunk."

Apparently, all the negro cooks, teamsters, officers' servants, and
roustabouts from the adjoining camps39 had been gathered there, with
Groundhog, Pilgarlic, and similar specimens of the white teamsters among
them and leading them.

The Negroes Merrymaking. 39

Seated on a log were three negroes, one sawing on an old fiddle, one
picking a banjo, and one playing the bones. Two negroes were in the
center of a ring, dancing, while the others patted "Juba." All were more
or less intoxicated. Groundhog and Pilgarlic were endeavoring to get up
a fight between Abraham Lincoln and another stalwart, stupid negro, and
were plying them with whisky from a canteen and egging them on with
words.40

The Deacon strode up to Groundhog and, catching him by the arm, demanded
sternly:

"What are you doing, you miserable scoundrel? Stop it at once."

Groundhog, who had drunk considerable himself, and was pot-valiant,
shook him off roughly, saying:

"G'way from here, you dumbed citizen. This hain't none o' your bizniss.
Go back to your haymow and leave soldiers alone."

The Deacon began divesting himself of his burden to prepare for action,
but before he could do so, Shorty rushed in, gave Groundhog a vigorous
kick, and he and Si dispersed the rest of the crowd in a hurry with
sharp cuffs for all they could reach. The meeting broke up without a
motion to adjourn.

The Deacon caught Abraham Lincoln by the collar and shook him
vigorously.

"You black rascal," he said, "what've you bin up to?"

"Didn't 'spect you back so soon. Boss," gasped the negro. "Said you
wouldn't be back till termorrer."

"No matter when you expected us back," said the Deacon, shaking him
still harder, while Si winked meaningly at Shorty. "What d'ye mean by
sich capers as this? You've bin a-drinkin' likker, you brute."

"Cel'bratun my freedom," gasped the negro. "Groundhog done tole me to."

"I'd like to celebrate his razzled head offen him," exploded the Deacon.
"I'll welt him into dog's meat hash if I kin lay my hands on him. He's
too mean and wuthless to even associate with mules. If I'd a41 dog on my
place as onery as he is I'd give him a button before night. He's not
content with bein' a skunk himself; he wants to drag everybody else down
to his level. Learnin' you to drink whisky and fight as soon as you're
out o' bondage. Next thing he'll be learnin' you to steal sheep and vote
for Vallandigham. I'd like to put a stone around his neck and feed him
to the catfish."

There was something so strange and earnest about the Deacon's wrath that
it impressed the negro more than any of the most terrible exhibitions of
wrath that he had seen his master make. He cowered down, and began
crying in a maudlin way and begging:

"Pray God, Boss, don't be so hard on a poor nigger."

Si, who had learned something more of the slave nature than his father,
ended the unpleasant scene by giving Abraham Lincoln a sharp slap across
the hips with a piece of clapboard and ordering:

"Pick up that camp-kettle, go to the spring and fill it, and git back
here in short meter."

The blow came to the negro as a welcome relief. It was something that he
could understand. He sprang to his feet, grinned, snatched up the
campkettle, and ran to the spring.

"I must get that man away from here without delay," said the Deacon.
"The influences here are awful. They'll ruin him. He'll lose his soul if
he stays here. I'll start home with him to-morrow."

"He'll do worse'n lose his soul," grumbled Shorty, who had been looking
over the provisions. "He'll lose the top of his woolly head if he brings
another42 gang o' coons around here to eat us out o' house and home.
I'll be gosh durned if I don't believe they've eat up even all the salt
and soap. There ain't a crumb left of anything. Talk about losin' his
soul. I'd give six bits for something to make him lose his appetite."

"I'll take him home to-morrow," reiterated the Deacon. "I raised over
'leven hundred bushels o' corn last year, 'bout 500 o' wheat, and just
an even ton o' pork. I kin feed him awhile, anyway, but I don't know as
I'd chance two of him."

"What'll you do if you have him and the grasshoppers the same year,
Pap?" inquired Si.

That night the Deacon began his preparations for returning home. He had
gathered up many relics from the battlefield to distribute among his
friends at home and decorate the family mantlepiece. There were
fragments of exploded shells, some canister, a broken bayonet, a smashed
musket, a solid 12-pound shot, and a quart or more of battered bullets
picked up in his walks over the scenes of the heavy fighting.

"Looks as if you were going into the junk business. Pap," commented Si,
as the store was gathered on the floor.

The faithful old striped carpetsack was brought out, and its handles
repaired with stout straps. The thrifty Deacon insisted on taking home
some of Si's and Shorty's clothes to be mended. The boys protested.

"We don't mend clothes in the army, Pap," said Si. "They ain't wuth it.
We just wear 'em out throw 'em away, and draw new ones."

The Deacon held out that his mother and sisters43 would take great
pleasure in working on such things, from the feeling that they were
helping the war along. Finally the matter was compromised by putting in
some socks to be darned and shirts to be mended. Then the bullets,
canister, round-shot, fragments of shell, etc., were filled in.

"I declare," said the Deacon dubiously, as he hefted the carpetsack.
"It's goin' to be a job to lug that thing back home. Better hire a mule-
team. But I'll try it. Mebbe it'll help work some o' the stupidity out
o' Abraham Lincoln."

The whole of Co. Q and most of the regiment had grown very fond of the
Deacon, and when it was noised around that he was going, they crowded in
to say good-by, and give him letters and money to take home. The
remaining space in the carpetsack and all that in the Deacon's many
pockets were filled with these.

The next morning the company turned out to a man and escorted him to the
train, with Si and his father marching arm-in-arm at the head, the
company fifers playing,

"Ain't I glad to get out of the Wilderness, Way down in Tennessee,"

and Abraham Lincoln, laden with the striped carpetsack, the smashed
musket and other relics, bringing up the rear, under the supervision of
Shorty. Tears stood in the old man's eyes as he stood on the platform of
the car, and grasped Si's and Shorty's hands in adieu. His brief
farewell was characteristic of the strong, self-contained Western44 man:

"Good-by, boys. God bless you. Take care of yourselves. Be good boys.
Come home safe after the war."

Klegg Starts Home. 45

The boys stood and watched the train with sorrowful eyes until it had
passed out of sight in the woods beyond Overall's Creek, and then turned
to go to their camp with a great load of homesickness weighing down
their hearts.

"Just think of it; he's going straight back to God's country," said
someone near.

A sympathetic sigh went up from all.

"Shet up," said Shorty savagely. "I don't want to hear a word o' that
kind. He pulled his hat down over his eyes, rammed his hands deep in his
pockets, and strode off, trying to whistle

"When this cruel war is over,"

but the attempt was a dismal failure. Si separated from the crowd and
joined him. They took an unfrequented and roundabout way back to camp.

"I feel all broke up. Si," said Shorty. "I wish that we were goin' into
a fight, or something to stir us up."

Si understood his partner's mood, and that it was likely to result in an
outbreak of some kind. He tried to get him over to the house, so that he
could get him interested in work there.

They came to a little hidden ravine, and found it filled with men
playing that most fascinating of all gambling games to the average
soldier\x97chucka-luck. There were a score of groups, each gathered around
as45 many "sweat-boards." Some of the men "running" the games were
citizens, and some were in uniform. Each had before him a small board on
which was sometimes painted, sometimes rudely marked with charcoal,
numbers from 1 to 6.

On some of the boards the numbers were indicated by playing-cards, from
ace to six-spot, tacked down. The man who "ran" the game had a dice-box,
with three dice. He would shake the box, turn it upside46 down on the
board, and call upon the group in front of him to make their bets.

The players would deposit their money on the numbers that they fancied,
and then, after the inquiry, "All down?" the "banker" would raise the
box and reveal the dice. Those who had put their money on any of the
three numbers which had turned up, would be paid, while those who bet on
the other three would lose.

Chuck-a-luck was strictly prohibited in camp, but it was next to
impossible to keep the men from playing it. Citizen gamblers would gain
admittance to camp under various pretexts and immediately set up boards
in secluded places, and play till they were discovered and run out, by
which time they would have made enough to make it an inducement to try
again whenever they could find an opportunity. They followed the army
incessantly for this purpose, and in the aggregate carried off immense
sums of the soldiers' pay. Chuck-a-luck is one of the fairest of
gambling games, when fairly played, which it rarely or never is by a
professional gambler. A tolerably quick, expert man finds little
difficulty in palming the dice before a crowd of careless soldiers so as
to transfer the majority of their bets to his pocket. The regular
citizen gamblers were reinforced by numbers of insatiable chuck-a-
luckers in the ranks, who would set up a "board" at the least chance,
even under the enemy's fire, while waiting the order to move.

Chuck-a-luck was Shorty's greatest weakness. He found it as difficult to
pass a chuck-a-luck board as an incurable drunkard does to pass a dram-
shop.47

Si knew this, and shuddered a little as he saw the "layouts," and tried
to get his partner past them. But it was of no use. Shorty was in an
intractable mood. He must have a strong distraction. If he could not
fight he would gamble.

"I'm goin' to bust this feller's bank before I go another step," said
he, stopping before one. "I know him. He's the same feller that, you
remember, I busted down before Nashville. I kin do it agin. He's a bum
citizen gambler. He thinks he's the smartest chuck-a-lucker in the Army
o' the Cumberland, but I'll learn him different."

"Don't risk more'n a dollar," begged Si as a final appeal.

"All down?" called the "banker."

"Allow doublin'?" inquired Shorty.

"Double as much as you blamed please, so long's you put your money
down," answered the "banker" defiantly.

"Well, then, here goes a dollar on that five-spot," said Shorty,
"skinning" a bill from a considerable roll.

"Don't allow more'n 25 cents bet on single cards, first bet," said the
"banker," dismayed by the size of the roll.

"Thought you had some sand," remarked Shorty contemptuously. "Well,
then, here's 25 cents on the five-spot, and 25 cents on the deuce," and
he placed shin-plasters on the numbers. "Now, throw them dice straight,
and no fingerin'. I'm watchin' you."

"Watch and be durned," said the "banker" surlily. "Watch your own
business, and I'll watch mine. I'm as honest as you are any day."48

The "banker" lifted the box, and showed two sixes and a tray up. He
raked in the bets on the ace, deuce, four and five-spots, and paid the
others.

"Fifty cents on the deuce; 50 cents on the five," said Shorty, laying
down the fractional currency.

Again they lost.

"A dollar on the deuce; a dollar on the five," said Shorty.

The same ill luck.

"Two dollars on the deuce; two dollars on the five," said Shorty, though
Si in vain plucked his sleeve to get him away.

The spots remained obstinately down.

"Four dollars on the deuce; four dollars on the five," said Shorty.

No better luck.

"Eight dollars on the deuce; eight dollars on the five," said Shorty.

"Whew, there goes more'n a month's pay," said the other players,
stopping to watch the dice as they rolled out, with the deuce and five-
spot down somewhere else than on top. "And his roll's beginning to look
as if an elephant had stepped on it. Now we'll see his sand."

"Come, Shorty, you've lost enough. You've lost too much already. Luck's
agin you," urged Si. "Come away."

"I ain't goin'," said Shorty, obstinately. "Now's my chance to bust him.
Every time them spots don't come up increases the chances that they'll
come up next time. They've got to. They're not loaded; I kin tell that
by the way they roll. He ain't fingerin' 'em; I stopped that when I made
him49 give 'em a rollin' throw, instead o' keep in' 'em kivvered with
the box."

"Sixteen dollars on the deuce; sixteen dollars on the five-spot. And I
ain't takin' no chances o' your jumpin' the game on me, Mr. Banker. I
want you to plank down $32 alongside o' mine."

Shorty laid down his money and put his fists on it. "Now put yours right
there."

"O, I've got money enough to pay you. Don't be skeered," sneered the
"banker," "and you'll git it if you win it."

"You bet I will," answered Shorty. "And I'm goin' to make sure by havin'
it right on the board alongside o' mine. Come down, now."

The proposition met the favor of the other players, and the "banker" was
constrained to comply.

"Now," said Shorty, as the money was counted down, "I've jest $20 more
that says that I'll win. Put her up alongside."

The "banker" was game. He pulled out a roll and said as he thumbed it
over:

"I'll see you $20, and go you $50 better that I win."

Shorty's heart beat a little faster. All his money was up, but there was
the $50 which the Deacon had intrusted to him for charitable purposes.
He slipped his hand into his bosom, felt it, and looked at Si. Si was
not looking at him, but had his eyes fixed on a part of the board where
the dice had been swept after the last throw. Shorty resisted the
temptation for a moment, and withdrew his hand.

"Come down, now," taunted the "banker." "You've blowed so much about
sand. Don't weaken over a50 little thing like $50. I'm a thoroughbred,
myself, I am. The man don't live that kin bluff me."

The taunt was too much for Shorty. He ran his hand into his bosom in
desperation, pulled out the roll of the Deacon's money, and laid it on
the board.

Si had not lifted his eyes. He was wondering why the flies showed such a
liking for the part of the board where the dice were lying. Numbers of
them had gathered there, apparently eagerly feeding. He was trying to
understand it.

He had been thinking of trying a little shy at the four-spot himself, as
he had noticed that it had never won, and two or three times he had
looked for it before the dice were put in the box, and had seen the
"banker" turn it down on the board before picking the dice up. A thought
flashed into his mind.

The "banker" picked up the dice with seeming carelessness, dropped them
into the box, gave them a little shake, and rolled them out. Two threes
and a six came up. The "banker's" face lighted up with triumph, and
Shorty's deadened into acute despair.

"I guess that little change is mine," said the "banker" reaching for the
pile.

"Hold on a minnit. Mister," said Si, covering the pile with his massive
hands. "Shorty, look at them dice. He's got molasses on one side. You
kin see there where the flies are eatin' it."

Shorty snatched up the dice, felt them and touched his tongue to one
side. "That's so, sure's you're a foot high," said he sententiously.

Just then someone yelled:

"Scatter! Here come the guards!"51

All looked up. A company coming at the doublequick was almost upon them.
The "banker" made a final desperate claw for the money, but was met by
the heavy fist of Shorty and knocked on his back. Shorty grabbed what
money there was on the board, and he and Si made a burst of speed which
took them out of reach of the "provos" in a few seconds. Looking back
from a safe distance they could see the "bankers" and a lot of the more
luckless ones being gathered together to march to the guard-house.
"Another detachment of horny-handed laborers for the fortifications,"
said Shorty grimly, as he52 recovered his breath, watched them, and sent
up a yell of triumph and derision. "Another contribution to the charity
fund," he continued, looking down at the bunch of bills and fractional
currency in his hands.

Shorty Settles With the Banker. 51

"Shorty," said Si earnestly, "promise me solemnly that you'll never bet
at chuck-a-luck agin as long as you live."

"Si, don't ask me impossibilities. But I want you to take every cent o'
this money and keep it. Don't you ever give me more'n $5 at a time,
under any consideration. Don't you do it, if I git down on my knees and
ask for it. Lord, how nigh I come to losin' that $50 o' your father's."



CHAPTER IV. A SPY'S EXPERIENCES MR. ROSENBAUM TELLS THE BOYS MORE OF HIS
ADVENTURES.

MR. ROSENBAUM became a frequent visitor to the Hoosier's Rest, and
generally greatly interested Si and Shorty with his stories of
adventure.

"How did you happen to come into the Army of the Cumberland?" asked Si.
"I'd a-thought you'd staid where you knowed the country and the people."

"That was just the trouble," replied Rosenbaum. "I got to know them very
well, but they got to know me a confounded sight better. When I was in
the clothing pizniss in St. Louis I tried to have everybody know me. I
advertised. I wanted to be a great big sunflower that everybody noticed.
But when I got to be a spy I wanted to be a modest little violet that
hid under the leaves, unt nobody saw. Then every man what knew me become
a danger, unt it got so that I shuddered every time that I see a limb
running out from a tree, for I didn't know how soon I might be hung from
it. I had some awful narrow escapes, I tell you.

"But what decided me to leave the country unt skip over de Mississippi
River was something that happened down in the Boston Mountains just
before the battle of Pea Ridge. I was down there watching Van Dorn unt
Ben McCullough for General Curtis, unt54 was getting along all right. I
was still playing the old racket about buying up Mexican silver dollars
to buy ammunition. One night I was sitting at a campfire with two or
three others, when a crowd of Texans come up. They was just drunk enough
to be devilish, unt had a rope with a noose on the end, which I noticed
first thing. I had begun to keep a sharp lookout for such things. My
flesh creeped when I saw them. I tried to think what had stirred them up
all at once, but couldn't for my life recollect, for everything had been
going on all right for several days. The man with the rope\x97a big, ugly
brute, with red hair unt one eye\x97says:

"'You're a Jew, ain't you?'

"'Yes,' says I; 'I was born that way.'

"'Well,' says he, 'we're going to hang you right off.' Unt he put the
noose around my neck unt began trying to throw the other end over a
limb."

Close Call for Rosenbaum. 54

"'What for?' I yelled, trying to pull the rope off my neck. 'I ain't
done nothing.'

"'Hain't eh?' said the man with one eye. 'You hook-nosed Jews crucified
our Savior.'

"'Why, you red-headed fool,' said I, catching hold of the rope with both
hands, 'that happened more as 1,800 years ago. Let me go.'

"'I don't care if it did,' said the one-eyed man, getting the end of the
rope over the limb, 'we didn't hear about it till the Chaplain told us
this morning, unt then the boys said we'd kill every Jew we come across.
Catch hold of the end here, Bowers.'

"The other fellers around me laughed at the Texans so that they finally
agreed to let me go if I'd promise not to do it again, holler for Jeff
Davis, unt treat all around. It was a fool thing, but it scared me
worse'n anything else, unt I resolved to get out of there unt go where
the people read their Bibles unt the newspapers."

"How did you manage to keep Gen. Curtis posted as to the number of
rebels in front of him?" asked Si. "You couldn't always be running back
and forth from one army to the other."

"O, that was easy enough. You see. General56 Curtis was advancing, unt
the rebels falling back most of the time. There was cabins every little
ways along the road. All these have great big fireplaces, built of
smooth rocks, which they pick up out of the creek unt wherever they can
find them.

"I'd go into these houses unt talk with the people unt play with the
children. I'd sit by the fire unt pick up a dead coal unt mark on these
smooth rocks. Sometimes I'd draw horses unt wagons unt men to amuse the
children. Sometimes I'd talk to the old folks about how long they'd been
in the country, how many bears unt deers the man had killed, how far it
was to the next place, how the roads run, unt so on, unt I'd make marks
on the jam of the fireplace to help me understand.

"The next day our scouts would come in unt see the marks unt understand
them just as well as if I'd wrote them a letter. I fixed it all up with
them before I left camp. I kin draw very well with a piece of charcoal.
I'd make pictures of men what would make the children unt old folks open
their eyes. Our scouts would understand which one meant Ben McCullough,
which one Van Dorn, which one Pap Price, unt so on. Other marks would
show which way each one was going unt how many men he hat with him. The
rebels never dropt on to it, but they came so close to it once or twice
that my hair stood on end."

"That curly mop of yours'd have a time standing on end," ventured
Shorty. "I should think it'd twist your neck off tryin' to."

"Well, something gave me a queer feeling about the throat one day when I
saw a rebel Colonel stop57 unt look very hard at a long letter which I'd
wrote this way on a rock.

"'Who done that?' he asked.

"'This man here,' says the old woman, 'He done it while he was gassing
with the old man unt fooling with the children. Lot o' pesky nonsense,
marking up de walls dat a-way.'

"'Looks like very systematic nonsense,' said the Colonel very stern unt
sour. 'There may be something in it. Did you do this?' said he, turning
to me.

"'Yes, sir,' said I, 'I have a bad habit of marking when I'm talking. I
always done it, even when I was a child. My mother used to often slap me
for spoiling the walls, but she could never break me of it.'

"'Humph,' said he, not at all satisfied with my story, unt looking at
the scratches harder than ever. 'Who are you, unt what are you doing
here?'

"I told him my story about buying Mexican silver dollars, unt showed him
a lot of the dollars I'd bought.

"'Your story ain't reasonable,' said he. 'You haven't done bizniss
enough to pay you for all the time you've spent around the army. I'll
put you under guard till I can look into your case.'

"He called to the Sergeant of the Guard, unt ordered him to take charge
of me. The Sergeant was that same dirty loafer. Bob Smiles, that I had
the trouble with by Wilson's Creek. He kicked me unt pounded me, unt put
me on my horse, with my hands tied behind me, unt my feet tied under the
horse's belly. I was almost dead by night, when we reached Headquarters.
They gave me something to58 eat, unt I laid down on the floor of the
cabin, wishing I was Pontius Pilate, so that I could crucify every man
in the Southern Confedrisy, especially Bob Smiles. An hour or two later
I heard Bob Smiles swearing again."

The Spy in Custody. 58

"'Make out the names of all the prisoners I have,' he was saying, 'with
where they belong unt the charges against them. I can't. Do they take me
for a counter-jumping clerk? I didn't come into the army to be a white-
faced bookkeeper, I sprained59 my thumb the other day, unt I can't write
even a Httle bit. What am I to do?'

"That was all moonshine about his spraining his thumb. He vas ignorant
as a jackass. If he had 40 thumbs he couldn't write even his own name
so's anybody could read it.

"'I don't believe these's a man in a mile of here that can make out such
a list,' he went on. They're all a set of hominy-eating blockheads.
Perhaps that hook-nosed Jew might. He's the man. I'll make him do it, or
break his swindling head.'

"He come in, kicked me, unt made me get up, unt then took me out unt set
me down at a table, where he had paper, pen unt ink, unt ordered me to
take down the names of the prisoners as he brought them up. He'd look
over my shoulder as I wrote, as if he was reading what I set down, but I
knowed that he couldn't make out a letter. I was tempted to write all
sorts of things about him, but I didn't, for I was in enough trouble
already. When I come to my own name, he said:

"'Make de charge a spy, a thief, unt a Dutch traitor to the Southern
Confedrisy.'

"I just wrote: 'Levi Rosenbaum, Memphis, Tenn. Merchant. No charge.'

"He scowled very wisely at it, unt pretended to read it, unt said:

"'It's lucky for you that you wrote it just as I told you. I'd 'a' broke
every bone in your body if you hadn't.'

"I'd just got done when an officer come down from Headquarters for it.
He looked it over unt said:

"'Who made this out?'

"'Why, I made it out,' said Bob Smiles, bold as brass.

"'But who wrote it?" said de officer.

"'O, I sprained my thumb, so I couldn't write very well, unt I made a
Jew prisoner copy it,' said Bob Smiles.

"'It's the best writing I have seen,' said the officer. 'I want the man
what wrote it to go with me to Headquarters at once. I have some copying
there to be done at once, unt not one of them corn-crackers that I have
up there can write anything fit to read. Bring that man out here unt I
will take him with me."

"Bob Smiles hated to let me go, but he couldn't help himself, unt I went
with the officer. I was so tired I could hardly move a step, unt I felt
I could not write a word. But I seemed to see a chance at Headquarters,
unt I determined to make every effort to do something. They gave me a
stiff horn of whisky unt set me to work. They wanted me to make out unt
copy a consolidated report of the army.

"I almost forgot I was tired when I found out what they wanted, for I
saw a chance to get something of great value. They'd been trying to make
up a report from all sorts of scraps unt sheets of paper sent in from
the different Headquarters, unt they had spoiled a half-dozen big sheets
of paper after they'd got them partly done. If I do say it myself, I can
write better and faster and figure quicker than most any man you ever
saw. Those rebels thought they had got hold of a wonder\x97a61 lightning
calculator unt lightning penman together.

"As fast as I could copy one paper, unt it would prove to be all right,
I would fold it up unt stick it into a big yaller envelope. I also
folded up the spoiled reports, unt stuck them in the envelope, saying
that I wanted to get rid of them\x97put them where seeing them wouldn't
bother me. I carefully slipped the envelope under the edge of a pile of
papers near the edge of the table. I had another big yaller envelope
that looked just like it lying in the middle of the table, into which I
stuck papers that didn't amount to nothing. I was very slick about it,
unt didn't let them see that I had two envelopes.

"It was past midnight when I got the consolidated report made out, unt
the rebels was tickled to death with it. They'd never seen anything so
well done before. They wanted a copy made to keep, unt I said I'd make
one, though I was nearly dead for sleep. I really wasn't, for the
excitement made me forget all about being tired.

"I was determined, before I slept, to have that yellow envelope, with
all those papers, in General Curtis's hands, though he was 40 miles
away. How in the world I was going to do it I could not think, but I was
going to do it, if I died a trying. The first thing was to get that
envelope off the table into my clothes; the next, to get out of that
cabin, away from Bob Smiles unt his guards, through the rebel lines, unt
over the mountains to General Curtis's camp. It was a dark, windy night,
unt things were in confusion about the camp\x97just the kind of a time
when62 anybody might kill a Jew pedler, unt no questions would be asked.

"I had got the last copy finished, unt the officers was going over it.
They had their heads together, not 18 inches from me, across the table.
I had my fingers on the envelope, but I didn't dare slip it out, though
my fingers itched. I was in hopes that they'd turn around, or do
something that'd give me a chance.

"Suddenly Bob Smiles opened the door wide, unt walked in, with a
dispatch in his hand. The wind swept in, blew the candles out, unt sent
de papers flying about the room. Some went into the fire. The officers
yelled unt swore at him, unt he shut the door, but I had the envelope in
my breast-pocket.

"Then to get away. How in the name of Moses unt the ten commandments was
I to do that?

"One of the officers said to Bob Smiles: 'Take this man away unt take
good care of him until to-morrow. We'll want him again. Give him a good
bed, unt plenty to eat, unt treat him well. We'll need him to-morrow.'

"'Come on, you pork-hating Jew,' said Bob Smiles crabbedly. 'I'll give
you a mess of spare-ribs unt corn-dodgers for supper.'

"'You'll do nothing of the kind,' said the officer. 'I told you to treat
him well, unt if you don't treat him well, I'll see about it. Give him a
bed in that house where de orderlies stay.'

"Bob Smiles grumbled unt swore at me, unt we vent out, but there was
nothing to do but to obey orders. He give me a good place, unt some
coffee unt bread, unt I lay down pretending to go to sleep.63

"I snored away like a good feller, unt presently I heard some one come
in. I looked a little out the corner of my eye, unt see by the light of
the fire that Bob Smiles was sneaking back. He watched me for a minute,
unt then put his hand on me.

"I was scared as I never was, for I thought he vas after my precious
yaller envelope. But I thought of my bowie knife, which I always carried
out of sight in my bosom, unt resolved dat I vould stick it in his
heart, if he tried to take away my papers. But I never moved. He felt
over me until he come to de pocket where I had the silver dollars, unt
then slipped his fingers in, unt pulled them out one by one, just as
gently as if he vas smoothing the hair of a cat. I let him take them
all, without moving a muscle. I was glad to haf him take them. I knowed
that he was playing poker somewhere, unt had run out of cash, unt would
take my money unt go back to his game.

"As soon as I heard his footsteps disappear in the distance, I got up
unt sneaked down to where the Headquarters horses were tied. I must get
a fresh one, because my own vas played nearly out. He would never do to
carry me over the rough roads I must ride before morning. But when I got
there I saw a guard pacing up unt down in front of them. I had not
counted on this, unt for a minit my heart stood still. There were no
other horses anywheres around.

"I hesitated, looked up at Headquarters, unt saw de lights still
burning, unt made up my mind at once to risk everything on one desperate
chance. I remembered that I had put in my envelope some64 blank sheets
of paper, with Headquarters, Army of the Frontier,' unt a rebel flag on
dem. There was a big fire burning ofer to the right mit no one near. I
went up in de shadow of a tree, where I could see by the firelight, took
out one of the sheets of paper unt wrote on it an order to have a horse
saddled for me at once. Then I slipped back so that it would look as if
I was coming straight from Headquarters, unt walked up to the guard unt
handed him the order. He couldn't read a word, but he recognized the
heading on the paper, unt I told him the rest. He thought there was
nothing for him to do but obey.

"While he was getting the horse I wrote out, by the fire, a pass for
myself through the guards. I was in a hurry, you bet, unt it was all
done mighty quick, unt I was on the horse's back unt started. I had lost
all direction, but I knowed that I had to go generally to the northeast
to get to General Curtis. But I got confused again, unt found I was
riding around unt around the camp without getting out at all. I even
come up again near the big fire, just where I wrote out the pass.

"Just then what should I hear but Bob Smiles's voice. He had lost all
his money\x97all my money\x97at poker, unt was damning the fellers he had been
playing with as cheats. He was not in a temper to meet, unt I knowed he
would see me if I went by the big fire; but I was desperate, unt I stuck
the spurs into my horse unt he shot ahead. I heard Bob Smiles yell:

"'There is that Jew. Where is he going? Halt, there! Stop him!'65

"I knowed that if I stopped now I would be hung sure. The only safety
was to go as fast as I could. I dashed away, where, I didn't know.
Directly a guard halted me, but I showed him my pass, unt he let me go
on. While he was looking at it I strained my ears, unt could hear horses
galloping my way. I knowed it was Bob Smiles after me. My horse was a
good one, unt I determined to get on the main road unt go as fast as I
could. I could see by the campfires that I was now getting away from the
army, unt I began to hope that I was going north. I kept my horse
running.

"Pretty soon the pickets halted me, but I didn't stop to answer them. I
just bolted ahead. The chances of their shooting me wasn't as dreadful
as of Bob Smiles catching me. They fired at me, but I galloped right
through them, unt through a rain of bullets that they sent after me. I
felt better then, for I was confident I was out in the open country, but
I kept my horse on the run. It seemed to me that I went a hundred miles.

"Just as the day was breaking in the east, I heard a voice, with a
strong German accent call out the brush:

"'Halt! Who comes there?'

Rosenbaum Runs Into Sigel's Pickets. 66

"I was so glad that I almost fainted, for I knowed that I'd reached
General Sigel's pickets. I couldn't get my lips to answer.

"There came a lot of shots, unt one of them struck my horse in the head,
unt he fell in the road, throwing me over his head. The pickets run out
unt picked me up. The German language sounded the sweetest I ever heard
it.66

"As soon as I could make myself talk, I answered them in German, unt
told them who I was. Then they couldn't do enough for me. They helped me
back to where they could get an ambulance, in which they sent me to
Headquarters, for I was top weak to ride or walk a step. I handed my
yellow envelope to General Curtis, got a dram of whisky to keep me up
while I answered his questions, unt then went to67 sleep, unt slept
through the whole battle of Pea Ridge.

"After the battle, General Curtis wanted to know how much he ought to
pay me, but I told him that all I wanted was to serve the country, unt I
was already paid many times over, by helping him win a victory.

"But I concluded that there was too much Bob Smiles in that country for
me, unt I had better leave for some parts where I was not likely to meet
him. So I crossed the Mississippi River, unt joined General Rosecrans's
Headquarters."



CHAPTER V. THE BOYS GO SPYING ON AN EXPEDITION WITH ROSENBAUM THEY MAKE
A CAPTURE.

MR. ROSENBAUM'S stories of adventure were not such as to captivate the
boys with the career of a spy. But the long stay in camp was getting
very tedious, and they longed for something to break the monotony of
camp guard and work on the interminable fortifications. Therefore, when
Mr. Rosenbaum came over one morning with a proposition to take them out
on an expedition, he found them ready to go. He went to Regimental
Headquarters, secured a detail for them, and, returning to the Hoosier's
Rest, found the boys lugubriously pulling over a pile of homespun
garments they had picked up among the teamsters and campfollowers.

"I suppose we've got to wear 'em, Shorty," said Si, looking very
disdainfully at a butternut-colored coat and vest. "But I'd heap rather
wear a mustard plaster. I'd be a heap comfortabler."

"I ain't myself finicky about clothes," answered Shorty. "I ain't no
swell\x97never was. But somehow I've got a prejudice in favor of blue as a
color, and agin gray and brown. I only like gray and brown on a corpse.
They make purty grave clothes. I always like to bury a man what has
butternut clothes on."69

"What are you doing with them dirty rags, boys?" asked Rosenbaum, in
astonishment, as he surveyed the scene.

"Why, we've got to wear 'em, haven't we, if we go out with you?" asked
Si.

"You wear them when you go out with me\x97you disguise yourselves," said
Rosenbaum, with fine scorn. "You'd play the devil in disguise. You can't
disguise your tongues. That's the worst. Anybody'd catch on to that
Indianny lingo first thing. You've got to speak like an educated
man\x97speak like I do\x97to keep people from finding out where you're from. I
speak correct English always. Nobody can tell where I'm from."

The boys had hard work controlling their risibles over Mr. Rosenbaum's
self-complacency.

"What clothes are we to wear, then?" asked Si, much puzzled.

"Wear what you please; wear the clothes you have on, or anything else.
This is not to be a full-dress affair. Gentlemen can attend in their
working clothes if they want to."

"I don't understand," mumbled Si.

"Of course, you don't," said Rosenbaum gaily. "If you did, you would
know as much as I do, unt I wouldn't have no advantage."

"All right," said Shorty. "We've decided to go it blind. Go ahead. Fix
it up to suit yourself. We are your huckleberries for anything that you
kin turn up. It all goes in our $13 a month."

"O. K.," answered Rosenbaum. "That's the right way. Trust me, unt I will
bring you out all straight. Now, let me tell you something. When you70
captured me, after a hard struggle, as you remember (and he gave as much
of a wink as his prominent Jewish nose would admit), I was an officer on
General Roddey's staff. It was, unt still is, my business to keep up
express lines by which the rebels are supplied with quinine, medicines,
gun-caps, letters, giving information, unt other things. Unt I do it."

The boys opened their eyes wide, and could not restrain an exclamation
of surprise.

"Now, hold your horses; don't get excited," said Rosenbaum calmly. "You
don't know as much about war as I do\x97not by a hundred per cent. These
things are always done in every war, unt General Rosecrans understands
the tricks of war better as any man in the army. He beats them all when
it comes to getting information about the enemy. He knows that a dog
that fetches must carry, unt that the best way is to let a spy take a
little to the enemy, unt bring a good deal back.

"The trouble at the battle of Stone River was that the spies took more
to General Bragg than they brought to General Rosecrans. But General
Rosecrans was new to the work then. It won't be so in future. He knows a
great deal more about the rebels now than they know about him, thanks to
such men as me."

"I don't know as we ought to have anything to do with this, Shorty,"
said Si dubiously. "At least, we ought to inquire of the Colonel first."

"That's all right\x97that's all right," said Rosenbaum quickly. "I've got
the order from the Colonel which will satisfy you. Read it yourself."

He handed the order to Si, who looked carefully71 at the printed
heading, "Headquarters, 200th Ind., near Murfreesboro', Tenn.," and then
read the order aloud to Shorty: "Corporal Josiah Klegg and one private,
whom he may select, will report to Mr. Levi Rosenbaum for special duty,
and will obey such orders and instructions as he may give, and on return
report to these Headquarters. By order of the Colonel. Philip Blake,
Adjutant."

"That seems all straight. Shorty," said Si, folding up the order, and
putting it in his pocket.

"Straight as a string," assented Shorty. "I'm ready, anyway. Go ahead,
Mr. Cheap Clothing. I don't care much what it is, so long's it ain't
shovelin' and diggin' on the fortifications. I'll go down to Tullahoma
and pull old Bragg out of his tent rather than handle a pick and shovel
any longer."

"Well, as I was going to tell you, I have been back to Tullahoma several
times since you captured me, unt I have got the express lines between
here unt there running pretty well. I have to tell them all sorts of
stories how I got away from the Yankees. Luckily, I have a pretty good
imagination, unt can furnish them with first-class narratives.

"But there is one feller on the staff that I'm afraid of. His name is
Poke Bolivar, unt he is a terrible feller, I tell you. Always full of
fight, unt desperate when he gets into a fight. I've seen him bluff all
those other fellers. He is a red-hot Secessionist, unt wants to kill
every Yankee in the country. Of late he has seemed very suspicious of
me, unt has said lots of things that scared me. I want to settle him,
either kill him or take him prisoner, unt keep him away, so's I can feel
greater ease when I'm in72 General Bragg's camp. I can't do that so long
as I know he's around, for I feel that his eyes are on me, unt that he's
hunting some way to trip me up.

"I'm going out now to meet him, at a house about five miles from the
lines. I have my pockets unt the pockets on my saddles full of letters
unt things. Just outside the lines I will get some more. He will meet me
unt we will go back to Tullahoma together\x97that is, if he don't kill me
before we get there. I have brought a couple of revolvers, in addition
to your guns, for Poke Bolivar's a terrible feller to fight, unt I want
you to make sure of him. I'd take more'n two men out, but I'm afraid
he'd get on to so many.

"I guess we two kin handle him," said Shorty, slipping his belt into the
holster of the revolver and buckling it on. "Give us a fair show at him,
and we don't want no help. I wouldn't mind having it out with Mr.
Bolivar all by myself."

"Well, my plan is for you to go out by yourselves to that place where
you were on picket. Then take the right-hand road through the creek
bottom, as if you were going foraging. About two miles from the creek
you will see a big hewed-log house standing on the left of the road. You
will know it by its having brick outside chimneys, unt de doors painted
blue unt yaller. There's no other house in that country like it.

"You're to keep out of sight as much as you can. Directly you will see
me come riding out, follered by a nigger riding another horse. I will go
up to the house, jump off, tie my horse, go inside, unt presently come
out unt tie a white cloth to73 a post on the porch. That will be a
signal to Poke Bolivar, who will be watching from the hill a mile ahead.
You will see him come in, get off his horse, unt go into the house.

"By this time it will be dark, or nearly so. You slip up as quietly as
you can, right by the house, hiding yourselves behind the lilacs. If the
dogs run at you bayonet them. You can look through the windows, unt see
me unt Bolivar sitting by the fire talking, unt getting ready to start
for Tullahoma as soon as the nigger who is cooking our supper in the
kitchen outside gets it ready unt we eat it. You can wait till you see
us sit down to eat supper, unt then jump us. Better wait until we are
pretty near through supper, for I'll be very hungry, unt want all I can
get to keep me up for my long ride.

"You run in unt order us to surrender. I'll jump up unt blaze away with
my revolver, but you needn't pay much attention to me\x97only be careful
not to shoot me. While you are 'tending to Bolivar I'll get on my horse
unt skip out. You can kill Bolivar, or take him back to camp with you,
or do anything that you please, so long's you keep him away from
Tullahoma. You understand, now?"

"Perfectly," said Shorty. "I think we can manage it, and it looks like a
pretty good arrangement. You are to git away, and we're to git Mr.
Bolivar. Those two things are settled. Any change in the evening's
program will depend on Mr. Bolivar. If he wants a fight he kin git whole
gobs of it."

Going over the plan again, to make sure that the boys understood it, and
cautioning them once more as to the sanguinary character of Polk
Bolivar,74 Mr. Rosenbaum started for his horse. He had gone but a little
ways when he came back with his face full of concern.

"I like you boys better than I can tell you," he said, taking their
hands affectionately, "unt I never would forgive myself if you got hurt.
Do you think that two of you'll be able to manage Poke Bolivar? If
you're not sure I'll get another man to help you. I think that I had
better, anyway."

"O, go along with you," said Shorty scornfully. "Don't worry about us
and Mr. Bolivar. I'd stack Si Klegg up against any man that ever wore
gray, in any sort of a scrimmage he could put up, and I'm a better man
than Si. You just favor us with a meeting with Mr. Bolivar, and then git
out o' the way. If it wasn't for dividing up fair with my partner here
I'd go out by myself and tackle Mr. Bolivar. You carry out your share of
the plan, and don't worry about us."

Rosenbaum's countenance brightened, and he hastened to mount and away.
The boys shouldered their guns and started out for the long walk. They
followed Rosenbaum's directions carefully, and arrived in sight of the
house, which they recognized at once, and got into a position from which
they could watch its front. Presently they saw Rosenbaum come riding
along the road and stop in front of the house. He tied his horse to a
scraggy locust tree, went in, and then reappeared and fastened the
signal to a post supporting the roof of the porch.

Watching the House. 75

They had not long to wait for the answer. Soon a horseman was seen
descending from the distant hill. As he came near he was anxiously
scanned,75 and appeared a cavalier so redoubtable as to fully justify
Rosenbaum's apprehensions. He was a tall, strongly-built young man, who
sat on his spirited horse with easy and complete mastery of him. Even at
that distance it could be seen that he was heavily armed.

"Looks like a genuine fighter, and no mistake," said Si, examining the
caps on his revolver. "He'll be a stiff one to tackle."76

"We must be very careful not to let him get the drop on us," said
Shorty. "He looks quicker'n lightnin', and I've no doubt that he kin
shoot like Dan'l Boone. We might drop him from here with our guns," he
added suggestively.

"No," said Si, "that wouldn't be fair. And it wouldn't be the way
Rosenbaum wants it done. He's got his reasons for the other way.
Besides, I'd be a great deal better satisfied in my mind, if I could
have it out with him, hand-to-hand. It'd sound so much better in the
regiment."

"Guess that's so," assented Shorty. "Well, let's sneak up to the house."

When they got close to the house they saw that it had been deserted;
there were no dogs or other domestic animals about, and this allowed
them to get under the shade of the lilacs without discovery. The only
inmates were Rosenbaum and Bolivar, who were seated before a fire, which
Rosenbaum had built in the big fireplace in the main room. The negro was
busy cooking supper in the outbuilding which served as a kitchen. The
glass was broken out the window, and they could hear the conversation
between Rosenbaum and Bolivar.

It appeared that Rosenbaum had been making a report of his recent
doings, to which Bolivar listened with a touch of disdain mingled with
suspicion.

The negro brought in the supper, and the men ate it sitting by the fire.


077 (80K)

"I declare," said Bolivar, stopping with a piece of bread and meat in
one hand and a tin-cup of coffee in the other, "that for a man who is
devoted to the77 South you can mix up with these Yankees with less
danger to yourself and to them than any man I ever knew. You never get
hurt, and you never hurt any of them. That's a queer thing for a
soldier. War means hurting people, and getting hurt yourself. It means
taking every chance to hurt some of the enemy. I never miss any
opportunity of killing a Yankee, no matter what I may be doing, or what
the risk is to me. I can't help myself. Whenever I see a Yankee in range
I let him have it. I never go near their lines without killing at
least78 one."

Shorty's thumb played a little with his gunlock, but Si restrained him
with a look.

"Well," said Rosenbaum, "I hates the enemy as badly as any one can, but
I always have business more important at the time than killing men. I
want to get through with what I have to do, unt let other men do the
killing. There's enough gentlemen like you for that work."

"No, there's not enough," said Bolivar savagely. "It's treasonable for
you to say so. Our enemies outnumber us everywhere. It is the duty of
every true Southern man to kill them off at every chance, like he would
rattlesnakes and wolves. You are either not true to the South, or you
hain't the right kind of grit. Why, you have told me yourself that you
let two Yankees capture you, without firing a shot. Think of it; a
Confederate officer captured by two Yankee privates, without firing a
shot."

"They had the dead drop on me," murmured Rosenbaum. "If I had moved
they'd killed me sure."

"Dead drop on you!" repeated Bolivar scornfully. "Two men with muskets
have the dead drop on you! And you had a carbine and a revolver. Why, I
have ridden into a nest of 10 or 15 Yankees, who had me covered with
their guns. I killed three of them, wounded three others, and run the
rest away with my empty revolver. If I'd had another revolver, not one
would've got away alive. I always carry two revolvers now."

"I think our guns'll be in the way in that room," said Shorty, sotting
his down. His face bore a look of stern determination. "They're too
long. I'm itching to have it out with that feller hand-to-hand.79 We'll
rush in. You pretend to be goin' for Rosenbaum and leave me to have it
out with Mr. Bolivar. Don't you mix in at all. If I don't settle him he
ought to be allowed to go."

"No," said Si decisively. "I'm your superior officer, and it's my
privilege to have the first shy at him. I'll 'tend to him. I want a
chance singlehanded at a man that talks that way. You take care of
Rosenbaum."

"We mustn't dispute," said Shorty, stooping down and picking up a couple
of straws. "Here, pull. The feller that gits the longest 'tends to
Bolivar; the other to Rosenbaum."

Si drew and left the longer straw in Shorty's hand. They drew their
revolvers and rushed for the room, Shorty leading, Rosenbaum and Bolivar
sprang up in alarm at the sound of their feet on the steps, and drew
their revolvers.

"Surrender, you infernal rebels," shouted the boys, as they bolted
through the door.

With the quickness of a cat, Rosenbaum had sidled near the door through
which they had come. Suddenly he fired two shots into the ceiling, and
sprang through the door so quickly that Si had merely the chance to fire
a carefully-aimed shot through the top of his hat. Si jumped toward the
door again, and fired a shot in the air, for still further make-believe.
He would waste no more, but reserve the other four for Bolivar, if he
should need them.

Shorty confronted Bolivar with fierce eyes and leveled revolver, eagerly
watching every movement and expression. The rebel was holding his pistol
pointed upward, and his eyes looked savage. As his eyes met Shorty's the
latter was amazed to see him close the left with a most emphatic wink.
Seeing this was recognized, the rebel fired two shots into the ceiling,
and motioned with his left hand to Si to continue firing. Without quite
understanding. Si fired again. The rebel gave a terrific yell and fired
a couple of shots out the window.

"Do the same," he said to Shorty, who complied, as Si had done, in half-
comprehension. The rebel handed his revolver to Shorty, stepped to the
window and listened.

The Surprise 79

There came the sounds of two horses galloping away on the hard, rocky
road.

"He's gone, and taken the nigger with him," he said contentedly, turning
from the window, and giving another fierce yell. "Better fire the other
two shots out of that pistol, to hurry him along."

Shorty fired the remaining shots out of the rebel's revolver.

"What regiment do you belong to, boys?" asked Bolivar calmly.

"The 200th Ind.," answered Si, without being able to control his
surprise.

"A very good regiment," said the rebel. "What's your company?"

"Co. Q," answered Si.

"Who's your Colonel?"

"Col. Duckworth."

"Who's your Captain?"

"Capt. McGillicuddy."

"All right," said the rebel, with an air of satisfaction. "I asked those
questions to make sure you were genuine Yankees. One can't be too
careful in my business. I'm in the United States Secret Service, and
have to be constantly on the watch to keep it from being played on me by
men pretending to be Yankees when they are rebels, and rebels when they
are Yankees. I always make it the first point to ask them the names of
their officers. I know almost all the officers in command on both
sides."

"You in the Secret Service?" exploded the boys.82

They were on the point of adding "too," but something whispered to them
not to betray Rosenbaum.

"Yes," answered Bolivar. "I've just come from Tullahoma, where I've been
around Bragg's Headquarters. I wanted to get inside our lines, but I was
puzzled how to do it. That Jew you've just run off bothered me. I wish
to the Lord you'd killed him. I'm more afraid of him than any other man
in Bragg's army. He's smart as a briar, always nosing around where you
don't want him, and anxious to do something to commend him to
Headquarters, Jew like. I've thought he suspected me, for he'd been
paying special attention to me for some weeks. Two or three times I've
been on the point of tailing him into the woods somewhere and killing
him, and so get rid of him. It's all right now. He'll go back to
Tullahoma with a fearful story of the fight I made against you, and that
I am probably killed. I'll turn up there in a week or two with my own
story, and I'll give him fits for having skipped out and left me to
fight you two alone. Say, it's a good ways to camp. Let's start at once,
for I want to get to Headquarters as soon as possible."

"You've got another revolver there," said Si, who had prudently reloaded
his own weapon.

"That's so," said Bolivar, pulling it out. "You can take and carry it or
I'll take the cylinder out, if you are not convinced about me."

"You'd better let me carry it," said Shorty, shoving the revolver in his
own belt. "These are queer times, and one can't be too careful with
rebels who83 claim to be Yankees, and Yankees who claim to be rebels."

They trudged back to camp, taking turns riding the horse. When the rebel
rode, however, one of the boys walked alongside with the bridle in his
hand. All doubts as to Bolivar's story were dispelled by his instant
recognition by the Provost-Marshal, who happened to be at the picket-
post when they reached camp.

"The longer I live," remarked Shorty, as they made their way along to
the Hoosier's Rest, "and I seem to live a little longer every day, the
less I seem to understand about this war."

Shorty spoke as if he had had an extensive acquaintance with wars.

"The only thing that I've come to be certain about," assented Si, "is
that you sometimes most always can't generally tell."

And they proceeded to get themselves some supper, accompanying the work
of denunciations of the Commissary for the kind of rations he was
drawing for the regiment, and of the Orderly-Sergeant for his letting
the other Orderlies eucher him out of the company's fair share.



CHAPTER VI. LETTER FROM HOME THE DEACON'S TROUBLES IN GETTING HOME WITH
ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

ONE MORNING the Orderly-Sergeant handed Si the following letter:

Deer Son: I got hoam safely a weke ago, thanks 2 all-protecting
Providens; likewise 2 about 175 pound of tuff & helthy Josiah Klegg.
Providens helpt rite along, but it tuk 50-year-old Injianny hickory &
whit-leather 2 pull through sum ov the tite plasis.

Abraham Lincoln is as strong as an ox, but I never thought that anything
that diddent wear horns or chew the cud could be so measly dumb. He kin
eat as much as Buck, our off-steer, & I declare I don't believe he knows
any more.

We had only bin on the train long enuff for Abe to finish up the whole
of the 3 days rations you provided us with 2 last us home, when I notist
that Blowhard Billings was on board. He was still dressed in full
uniform, & playin off officer yit, but I happened 2 recolleck that he
was no officer no more, & it wuz lucky that I done so. He wuz lookin at
me & Abe hard with them mean, fatfish ize ov hizn.

Jest as a matter ov precaushon. I make Abe change seats with me & taik
the inside. Billings85 caim up. You know what I thought ov him ov old, &
there's never bin any love lost betwixt us sence I stopped him cheatin
poor Eli Mitchell outen his plow-team. I told him then that the coppers
on a dead nigger's eyes wuzzent saif when he wuz around, & I woulddent
trust him ez fur ez I could sling a bull by the tale. He got mad at this
& never got over it. I never encouraged him to. I woulddent feel
satisfied with myself if he wuzzent mad at me. I coulddent change my
opinion, even when he tried to steal into respectability by goin into
the army. I knowed he'd do anything but fite, & woulddent've bin
supprized any day by hearing that him and the other mules in camp had
disappeared together.

Presently Billings he cum up very corjil like & says:

"Howdy, Deacon. I hope you air very well."

I told him I wuz tollable peart, and he says:

"I see a man in the third car forward that wuz inquiring for you, and
wanted to see you powerful bad."

"That so?" says I, unconcernedlike.

"Yes," says he. "He wuz awful anxious to see you, and I said I'd send
you to him if I cum acrost you."

Somehow, I dropped onto it in a minnit that he wuz schemin' to git me
away from Abraham Lincoln\x97

"Well," says I, "it's about ez fur for me forward to him as it is for
him back here to me. I don't know as I want to see him at all. If he
wants to see me so bad let him cum back here."86

"I think I'd go forward and see him," said Billings, sort ov impatient-
like. "You'll have no trouble finding him. He's in the third car from
here, up at the front end, right-hand side, next to the watercooler. He
inquired most partickerlerly for you."

"Probably he wants 2 borry money," says I, without stirrin'. "Men that
want particularly 2 see me always do. Well, I hain't got none 2
lend\x97hain't got no more'n 'll talk me hoam."

"You'd better go forward & see him," he said very bossy like, as if he
was orderin me.

"I'd better stay right here, & I'm goin' to stay," says I, so decided
that Billings see that it was no use.

His patience gave clean away.

"Look here, Klegg," said he, mad as a hornet, "I'm after that ere nigger
you're trying to steal away into Injianny, and by the holy poker I'm
goin' to have him! Come along here, you black ape," and he laid his hand
on Abe Lincoln's collar. Abe showed the white ov his eyes as big as
buckeyes, put his arm around the piece betwixt the winders, and held on
for deer life. I see by the grip he tuk that the only way 2 git him wuz
2 tear out the side of the car, and I thought I'd let them tussle it out
for a minnit or 2.

The others in the car who thought it grate fun to see a Lieutenant-
Kurnol wrastlin' with a nigger, laffed and yelled:

"Go it, nigger,"

"Go it, Kurnel,"

"Grab a root,"

"I'l bet on the nigger if the car is stout onuf,"87 and sich. Jest then
Groundhog cum runnin' up to help Billings, and reached over and ketched
Abe, but I hit him a good biff with the musket that changed his mind.
Billings turned on me, and called out to the others:

"Men, I order you to arrest this man and tie him up."

Sum ov them seemed a-mind to obey, but I sung out:

"Feller-citizens, he ain't no officer\x97no more'n I am. He ain't got no
right to wear shoulder-straps, and he knows it as well as I do."

At this they all turned agin him & began yellin at him 2 put his head in
a bag. He turned 2 me savage as a meat-ax, but I ketched him by the
throat, & bent him back over the seat. The Provo-Guard cum up, & I
explained it 2 them, & showed my passes for me & Abe. So they made us
all sit down & keep quiet.

Bimeby we got to Nashville. Abe Lincoln wuz hungry, & I stopped 2 git
him something to eat. My gracious, the lot ov ham & aigs at 50 cents a
plate & sandwiches at 25 cents a piece that contraband kin eat. He never
seemed 2 git full. He looked longingly at the pies, but I let him look.
I wuzzent runnin no Astor House in connexion with the Freedmen's buro.

We walked through the city, crost on the ferry, & wuz jest gittin in the
cars which wuz about ready 2 start, when up comes Billings agin, with 2
or 3 other men in citizen's cloze. One ov these claps his hand on my
shoulder & says:

"I'm a Constable, & I arrest you in the name ov88 the State ov Tennessee
for abductin a slave. Make no trubble, but come along with me."

I jest shook him off, & clumb onto the platform, pullin Abe after me.
The Constable & his men follered us, but I got Abe Lincoln inside the
door, shet it & made him put his shoulders agin it. The Constable & his
2 assistants wuz buttin away at it, & me grinnin at them when the train
pulled off, & they had 2 jump off. I begin 2 think there wuz something
good in Abe Lincoln, after all, & when we stopped at an eatin-plais,
about half-way 2 Louisville, & Abe looked at the grub as if he haddent
had a mouthful sence the war begun, I busted a $2-bill all 2 pieces
gittin' him a little supper. If I wuz goin into the bizniss ov freein
slaves I'd want 2 have a mule train haulin grub follering me at every
step.

Abe wuz awful hungry agin when we reached Louisville, but I found a
place where a dollar would buy him enuf pork & beans 2 probably last him
over the river.

But I begun 2 be efeard that sum nosin pryin Mike Medler might make
trubble in gitting Abe safely acrost the Ohio. I tuk him 2 a house, &
laid it down strong 2 him that he must stay inside all day, and 2 make
sure I bargained with the woman 2 keep him eating as much as she could.
I ruined a $5 bill, & even then Abe looked as if he could hold some
more. I've always made it a pint 2 lend 2 the Lord for the benefit ov
the heathen as much as my means would allow, but I begun 2 think that my
missionary contribushions this year would beat what I was layin out on
my family.89

After it got dark, me & Abe meandered down through the streets 2 the
ferry. There wuzzent many people out, except soljers, & I've got 2 feel
purty much at home with them. They seem more likely 2 think more nearly
my way than folks in every-day clothes.

There wuz quite a passel ov soljers on the wharf boat waitin' for the
ferry when we got there. They saw at wuns that I had probably bin down 2
the front 2 see my son, & sum ov them axed me 2 what rigiment he
belonged. When I told them the 200th Injianny Volunteer Infantry they
all made friends with me at wunst, for they said they knowed it wuz a
good rigiment.

Bimeby a big, important-lookin' man, with a club with a silver head for
a cane, cum elbowin through the crowd & scowling at everybody as if he
owned the wharf-boat & all on it. He stopped in frunt ov Abraham Lincoln
& says very sharp & cross:

"Boy, where did you come from?"

Abe diddent say nothin'. His ize got all white, he grinned sort ov
scared like, showed his white teeth, & looked sickly over at me. I spoke
up & says:

"I brung him along with me from Murfreesboro'."

"So I sposed," said he. "He's a slave you're tryin 2 steal from his
master. You can't do it. I'll jest take charge ov him myself. That's my
dooty here," & he ketched hold ov Abraham Lincoln's collar. Abe, in his
scare, put out his arms to ketch hold ov something, & throwed them
around the big important man, & lifted him clean offen his feet. I never
before realized how strong Abe wuz. The soljers gethered around, purty
mad, and then laffin and90 yellin when they see the man in Abe's arms.
Suddenly sum one hollered:

"Throw him overboard; throw him in the river." Abe was wuss scared than
ever when he found he had the man in his arms. He wuz afeared 2 hold on
& still more afeared 2 let go. He heard them hollerin, & thought he had
2 do jest as they said, & begun edgin toward the river.

The man got more scared than Abe. He began kickin & wrigglin & hollerin:

"Don't let him do it. Help me. I can't swim a lick."

At this the men hollered worsen ever:

"Throw him in the river! Duck him! Baptize him! Drown him!"

I'm a Baptist, but I don't believe in immersion onless the convert has
bin prepared for it, & is willin, which neither this man wuz. I stepped
forward 2 make Abe let him down, but before T could do anything Abe had
got 2 the edge of the wharfboat & let go, & plunk went the man into
about 10 foot ov water. Abe, scared now nearly 2 death, stood there with
his ize biggern sassers & whitern goose-eggs.

In a minnit the man cum up, sputterin & hollerin. A big Sergeant, with
his left arm in a sling, reached over & ketchod him by the collar & held
his head above water.

"If I pull you out will you promis 2 go out ov the niggor-kotchin
bizniss forever?" axed the Sergeant.

"Pull me out & then I'll talk 2 you," says the man grabbin for the
slippery sides ov the wharfboat.91

"No, I won't," said the Sergeant, sousin him under water agin.

"Yes, yes, I'll promise," says the man, when he come up agin.

"Will you swear it?" axed the Sergeant.

"Yes, I'll swear it before a Justice ov the Peace."

"Will you swear 2 support the Constitution ov the United States agin all
enemies & opposers whatsumever, & vote for Abraham Lincoln every time?"
axed the Sergeant.

"I'll take the oath ov allegiance," says the man, sputterin the water
out ov his mouth, "but I'll never vote for that Abolition ape as long as
I live."

"Then down you go," says the Sergeant, sousin him again.

"Yes, yes, I'll vote for Abe Lincoln, & anybody else, if you'll only
pull me out," said the man, in a tired tone of voice, when he cum up
agin. I begin 2 see that immersion had a great deal ov good in it, even
if a man isn't prepared & willin.

"Will you swear 2 always love a nigger as a man & a brother, until death
do you part, & aid & comfort all them who are tryin 2 git away from
slavery?" axed the Sergeant.

"Damned if I will," says the man. "No nigger kin ever be a brother 2 me.
I'll die first."

"Then you'll die right now," says the Sergeant, sendin him down as far
as his long arm would reach & holding him there until I wuz scared for
fear he wuz really goin 2 drown the man. When he brung him up the man
whimpered:

"Yes, only pull me out\x97save my life\x97& I'll do anything you want."92

By this time the ferryboat had cum up. We got aboard & crost over to
Injianny, & I felt so glad at bein on my nativ soil wuns more that I
took Abe up 2 the eatin stand, & blowed in a dollar filin up the vacant
plasis in his hide.

When we tried 2 git on the train there cum another trubble: The
conductor woulddent let him ride in the car with white folks\x97not even in
the smokin-car. He made him go into the baggage-car. Abe wuz so scared
about leavin me for a minnit in' that strange country that I tried 2 go
into the baggage-car with him, but the conductor woulddent let me. He
said it wuz agin the rules for passengers to ride in the baggage-cars,
but Abe could go in there, same as dogs, prize poultry, & household
pets. I tried 2 joke with him, tellin him that in sum plasis I wuz
considered a household pet, but he said Ide have 2 git another mug on me
before he could believe it.

One of Zeke Biltner's hogs ditched the train jest before we got home, &
turned the baggage-car over. Sum crates ov aigs wuz smashed over Abraham
Lincoln, & he wuz a sight to behold. He wuz awfully scared, though, &
begged me 2 let him go the rest ov the way on foot. He said he wuz a
thousand years older than when he left his ole massa, & I could
understand what he meant.

I found your mother & the girls bright & chipper & jest tickled 2 death
to see me safe back. They axed me so many questions about you & Shorty
that my head buzzed like a bee-hive. It is hard 2 git away from them 2
tend 2 my Spring work, but I've made an arrangement 2 giv em an hour
mornin93 & evenin 2 answerin questions. I think this will keep me purty
busy till the snow flise agin.

Wheat is lookin surprisinly well, though I found sum bare plasis in the
north field. I think we'll have a fair crop ov apples and peaches. Your
colt is growin up the purtiest thing that ever went on four legs, &
jumped an eight-rail fence. My hogs wintered in good shape, & pork is
risin. They have the measles over on the Crick, & school's broke up.
Bill Scripp's out agin for Sheriff, & I spose I'le have 2 turn 2 agin &
beat him. Singler, that he'll never know when he's got enuff.

If anything, Abraham Lincoln's appetite has bin improved by Wabash air.
I wuzzent goin 2 have the wimmen folks wear theirselves out cookin for
him. So I fix-ed up a place for him in the old log house, & took him
over some sides ov meat, a few bushel ov pertaters, a jug ov sorghum
molasses, & every time mother bakes she sends over some leaves ov bread.
I jest turned him loose there. He seems 2 be very happy, & we hear him
singin & yellin most all the time when he's by hisself. He's a good
worker when I stand right over him, & he'll lift & dig as patient as an
ox. But he hain't no more sense about goin ahead by hisself than a steer
has, & the moment my back's turned he stops work. Ime af eared I've got
a job on my hands makin a firstclass farmer out ov him. But if that's my
share ov the work that Providens has chalked out for me, there's nothin
left for me but 2 go ahead & do it in fear & tremblin.

No more from your affeckshionate father.

P. S. Give my best respects 2 Shorty.



CHAPTER VII. CORN PONE AND BUTTERMILK SI AND SHORTY GO FORAGING AND ARE
CAPTURED AND ROBBED

SI AND SHORTY got the common feeling of men of some months' service,
that they had fully mastered the art of war, and that there was little,
if anything, left for them to learn. It did not take some men even so
long as months to acquire this pleasant idea of themselves. Some entered
the army feeling quite capable of giving advice to the oldest General in
it, and they were not slow about offering their opinions.

Si and Shorty had had successes enough since their enlistment to develop
a self-confidence which might be pardoned if it expanded into self-
sufficiency and vanity.

The 200th Ind. had been sent out on a reconnoissance toward Shelbyville.
No sign of rebels in force developed in any direction, and Si and Shorty
got permission to go off on a little scout of their own.

"No use o' huntin' rebels with a brass band," said Si, who, since his
association with Mr. Rosenbaum, had gotten some idea that stealth and
cunning were efficient war powers. "We kin jest slip around out here
somewhere, and if there is any rebels, find 'em, and git more
information than the whole regiment kin."

"I'm not so thirsty for information and rebels95 as I am for some fresh
buttermilk," said Shorty. "Somehow, I've been hankering for buttermilk
and cornpone for days. I hain't had any for a coon's age, and it'd go
mighty good as a change from camp rations. Buttermilk and rebels
sometimes grow near together. You look for one, I'll look for the other.
Mebbe we kin git both."

"I wouldn't mind havin' some buttermilk an' cornpone myself," said Si.
"But I'd like much better to drop on some rebels somewhere, and bring
'em into camp, and show that we kin git more information than the whole
regiment kin."

"All right," assented Shorty; "ask the Captain to let us go. I'll be
bound we'll find something worth goin' for, if it's no more'n a chicken
for the Captain's supper. I'd like to take in one for him. He's been
mighty good to me and you in several ways, and I'd like to show him that
we appreciate it."

As the regiment had gone as far as ordered without discovering anything
that in the least threatened the peace in that portion of Tennessee, it
would start on its return, after the men had rested and had dinner. Si
and Shorty, consequently, had no difficulty in securing the desired
permission.

They cut off through a side-road, which gave promise of leading into a
better-settled part of the country than that they had been traversing. A
mile or so of walking brought them in sight of the substantial chimneys
of a farmhouse showing above the trees. A glimpse of a well-fenced field
roused warm hopes in Shorty's heart.

"Now, I think we're comin' to a better thing than we've ever struck
before," said he, as they stopped96 and surveyed the prospect. "We've
got out o' the barren plateaus and into the rich farming country. That's
likely a farm jest like they have up in Injianny, and it's way off where
they hain't knowed nothin' o' the war. No soljer's ever anigh 'em, and
they've jest got lots and plenty o' everything. They've got a great big
barnyard full o' chickens and turkeys, pigs and geese and guineas.
There, you kin hear the guineas hollerin' now. There's cows layin' in
the shade chawin' the cud, while their calves are cavortin' around in
the sun, hogs rootin' in the woods-pasture, horses and sheep in the
medder, and everything like it is at home. And down a little ways from
the house there's a cool springhouse, with clear, cold water wellin' up
and ripplin' out over the clean, white sand, with crocks o' fresh milk
setting in it with cream half an inch thick, and big jars o' buttermilk
from the last churnin', and piggins o' fresh butter, and mebbe a big
crock full o' smearkase. Si, do you like smearkase?"

"'Deed I do," answered Si, his mouth watering at the thought. "My
goodness, you jest orter eat some o' mother's smearkase. She jest lays
over all the women in the country for smearkase. Many's the time I've
come in hot and sweatin from the field, and got a thick slice o' bread
clear acrost the loaf from one o' the girls, and went down to our
spring-house and spread it with fresh butter, and then put a thick layer
o' smearkase on top o' that, and then got about a quart o' cool milk,
that was half cream, from ono o' the crocks, and then\x97"

"Shot up, Si," shouted Shorty, desperately. "Do you want me to bang you
over the head with my97 musket? Do you s'pose I kin stand everything?
But I believe there's jest sich a spring-house down there, and we'll
find it plumb-full o' all them sort o' things. Le's mosey on."

"Do you think there's any rebels around here?" said Si, the caution
which experience had taught him making a temporary reassertion of
itself.

"Naw," said Shorty, contemtpuously, "there ain't no rebel this side o'
the Duck River, unless some straggler, who'd run if he saw us. If we
ketch sight o' one we'll take him into camp, jest to gratify you. But I
ain't lookin' for none. Buttermilk and cornpone's what I want."

The scene was certainly peaceful enough to justify Shorty's confidence.
A calmer, quieter landscape could not have been found in the whole
country. A negro was plowing in a distant field, with occasional
sonorous yells to his team. He did not seem to notice the soldiers, nor
did a gray-haired white man who was sitting on the fence superintending
him. A couple of negresses were washing the family linen by a fire under
a large kettle on the creek bank, at some distance from the house, and
spreading the cleansed garments out on the grass to dry and bleach.
Cattle and horses were feeding on the fresh Spring grass and sheep
browsing on the bushes on the hillside. Hens cackled and roosters
crowed; the guineas, ever on the lookout, announced their approach with
shrill, crackling notes. Two or three dogs waked up and barked lazily at
them as they walked up the path to where an elderly, spectacled woman
sat on the porch knitting. She raised98 her eyes and threw her
spectacles on top of her head, and looked curiously at them.

Whatever faint misgivings Si might have had vanished at the utter
peacefulness of the scene. It was so like the old home that he had left
that he could not imagine that war existed anywhere near. It seemed as
if the camp at Murfreesboro' and the bloody field of Stone River must be
a thousand miles away. The beds of roses and pinks which bordered the
walk were the same as decorated the front yard at home. There were the
same clumps of snowballs and lilacs at the corners of the house.

"Howdy, gentlemen?" said the woman, as they came up.

It seemed almost a wrong and insult to be carrying deadly arms in the
presence of such a woman, and Si and Shorty let their guns slip down, as
if they were rather ashamed of them.

"Good day, ma'am," said Shorty, taking off his hat politely and wiping
his face. "We're lookin' around to git some cornpone and buttermilk, and
didn't know but what you might let us have some. We're willin' to pay
for it."

"If you want suthin' to eat," said the woman promptly, "I kin gin it to
ye. I never turn no hungry man away from my door. Wait a minnit and I'll
bring ye some."

She disappeared inside the house, and Si remarked to Shorty:

"Your head's level this time, as it generally is. We'll git something
that's worth while comin' after."

The woman reappeared with a couple of good-size corn-dodgers in her
hand.99

"This appears to be all the bread that's left over from dinner," she
said. "And the meat's all gone. But the wenches 'll be through their
washin' purty soon, and then I'll have them cook ye some more, if ye'll
wait."

"Thankee, ma'am," said Shorty; "we can't wait. This'll be a plenty, if
we kin only git some buttermilk to go with it. We don't want no meat. We
git plenty o' that in camp."

"You can have all the buttermilk you want to drink," she answered, "if
you'll go down to the spring-house thar and git it. It's fresh, and
you'll find a gourd right beside o' the jar. I'd go with you, but it
allers gives me rheumatiz to go nigh the spring-house."

"Don't bother, ma'am, to go with us," said Shorty politely. "We are very
much obliged to you, indeed, and we kin make out by ourselves. How much
do we owe you?" And he pulled a greenback dollar from his pocket.

"Nothin', nothin' at all," said the woman hastily. "I don't sell
vittels. Never thought o' sich a thing. Ye're welcome to all ye kin eat
any time."

"Well, take the money, and let us ketch a couple of them chickens
there," said Shorty, laying down the bill on the banister rail.

After a little demur the woman finally agreed to this, and picked up the
money. The boys selected two fat chickens, ran them down, wrung their
necks, and, after repeating their thanks, took their bread and started
for the spring-house. They found it the coolest and most inviting place
in the world on a hot, tiresome day\x97just such a spot as Shorty had100
described. It was built of rough stones, and covered with a moss-grown
roof. A copious spring poured out a flood of clear, cool water, which
flowed over white pebbles and clean-looking sand until it formed a
cress-bordered rivulet just beyond the house. In the water sat crocks of
fresh milk, a large jar of buttermilk, and buckets of butter. The looks,
the cool, pure freshness of the place, were delightful101 contrasts from
the tiresome smells and appearances of the camp kitchens. The boys
reveled in the change. They forgot all about war's alarms, stood their
rifles up against the side of the spring-house, washed their dust-grimed
faces and hands in the pure water, dried them with their handkerchiefs,
and prepared to enjoy their meal. How good the buttermilk tasted along
with the cornpone. The fresh milk was also sampled, and some of the
butter spread upon their bread.

Si even went to the point of declaring that it was almost as good as the
things he used to eat at home, which was the highest praise he could
possibly give to any food. Si never found anywhere victuals or cooking
to equal that of his mother.

He was pointing out to Shorty, as they munched, the likenesses and
unlikenesses of this spring-house to that on the Wabash, when they were
startled by the stern command:

"Surrender, there, you infernal Yankees!"

Undesirable Acquaintances. 100

They looked up with startled eyes to stare into a dozen muskets leveled
straight at their heads from the willow thickets. Corn-dodgers and milk-
gourds dropped into the water as they impulsively jumped to their feet.

"If yo'uns move we'uns 'll blow the lights outen yo'uns," shouted the
leader of the rebels. "Hold up yer hands."

It was a moment of the most intense anguish that either of them had ever
known. Their thoughts were lightning-like in rapidity. The rebel muzzles
were not a rod away, their aim was true, and it102 would be madness to
risk their fire, for it meant certain death.

The slightest move toward resistance was suicide.

Si gave a deep groan, and up went his hands at the same moment with
Shorty's.

The rebels rushed out of the clump of willows behind which they had
crept up on the boys, and surrounded them. Two snatched up their guns,
and the others began pulling off their haversacks and other personal
property as their own shares of the booty. In the midst of this, Si
looked around, and saw the woman standing near calmly knitting.

"You ain't so afeared o' rheumatism all at once," he said bitterly.

"My rheumatiz has spells, young man, same ez other people's," she
answered, pulling one of the needles out, and counting the stitches with
it. "Sometimes it is better, and sometimes it is wuss. Jest now it is a
great deal better, thankee. I only wisht I could toll the whole Yankee
army to destruction ez easy ez you wuz. My, but ye walked right in, like
the fly to the spider. I never had nothin' do my rheumatiz so much
good."

And she cackled with delight. "When you git through," she continued,
addressing the leader of the rebels, "come up to the house, and I'll
have some dinner cooked for ye. I know ye're powerful tired an' hungry.
I s'pose nothin' need be cooked for them," and she pointed her knitting-
needle contemptuously at Si and Shorty. "Ole Satan will be purvidin' fur
them. I'll take these along to cook fur ye."103

She gathered up the dead chickens and stalked back to the house.

"Ef we're gwine t' shoot they'uns le's take they'uns over thar on the
knoll, whar they'uns won't spile nothin'," said one evil-looking man,
who had just ransacked Si's pockets and appropriated everything in them.
"Hit'd be too bad t' kill they'uns here right in sight o' the house."

"Le'me see them letters, Bushrod;" said the leader, snatching a package
of letters and Annabel's picture out of the other's hand. "Mebbe thar's
some news in them that the Captain'd like to have."

Si gnashed his teeth as he saw the cherished missives rudely torn open
and scanned, and especially when the ambrotype case was opened and
Annabel's features made the subject of coarse comment. The imminent
prospect of being murdered had a much lighter pang.

While the letters and ambrotype were being looked over the process of
robbery was going on. One had snatched Si's cap, another had pulled off
his blouse, and there was a struggle as to who should have possession of
his new Government shoes, which were regarded as a great prize. Si had
resisted this spoliation, but was caught from behind and held, despite
his kicks and struggles, while the shoes were pulled off. Shorty was
treated in the same way.

The Spoils of War 105

In a few minutes both, exhausted by their vigorous resistance, were
seated on the ground, with nothing left on them but their pantaloons,
while their captors were quarreling over the division of their personal
effects, and as to what disposition was to be made of them. In the
course of the discussion104 the boys learned that they had been captured
by a squad of young men from the immediate neighborhood, who had been
allowed to go home on furlough, had been gathered together when the
regiment appeared, and had been watching every movement from safe
coverts. They had seen Si and Shorty leave, and had carefully dogged
their steps until such moment as they could pounce on them.

"Smart as we thought we wuz," said Si bitterly, "we played right into
their hands. They tracked us down jest as if we'd bin a couple o'
rabbits, and ketched us jest when they wanted us."

He gave a groan which Shorty echoed.

Bushrod and two others were for killing the two boys then and there and
ending the matter.

"They orter be killed, Ike, right here," said Bushrod to the leader.
"They deserve it, and we'uns hain't got no time to fool. We'uns can't
take they'uns back with we'uns, ef we wanted to, and I for one don't
want to. I'd ez soon have a rattlesnake around me."

But Ike, the leader, was farther-seeing. He represented to the others
the vengeance the Yankees would take on the people of the neighborhood
if they murdered the soldiers.

This developed another party, who favored taking the prisoners to some
distance and killing them there, so as to avoid the contingency that Ike
had set forth. Then there were propositions to deliver them over to the
guerrilla leaders, to be disposed of as they pleased.

Finally, it occurred to Ike that they were talking entirely too freely
before the prisoners, unless they105 intended to kill them outright, for
they were giving information in regard to the position and operations of
rebel bands that might prove dangerous. He drew his squad off a little
distance to continue the discussion. At first they kept their eyes on
the prisoners and their guns ready to fire, but as they talked they lost
their watchful attitude in the eagerness of making their points.

Si looked at Shorty, and caught an answering gleam. Like a flash both
were on their feet and started on a mad rush for the fence. Bushrod
saw106 them start, and fired. His bullet cut off a lock of Si's auburn
hair. Others fired as fast as they could bring their guns up, and the
bullets sang viciously around, but none touched the fugitives. Their
bare feet were torn by the briars as they ran, but they thought not of
these. They plunged into the blackberry briars along the fence, climbed
it, and gained the road some distance ahead of their pursuers, who were
not impelled by the fear of immediate death to spur them on. Up the road
went Si and Shorty with all the speed that will-power could infuse into
their legs. Some of the rebels stopped to reload; the others ran after.
A score of noisy dogs suddenly waked up and joined in the pursuit. The
old white man mounted his horse and came galloping toward the house.

On the boys ran, gaining, if anything, upon the foremost of the rebels.
The dogs came nearer, but before they could do any harm the boys halted
for an instant and poured such a volley of stones into them that they
ran back lamed and yelping. The fleetest-footed of the rebels, who was
the sanguinary Bushrod, also came within a stone's throw, and received a
well-aimed bowlder from Si's muscular hand full in his face. This
cheered the boys so that they ran ahead with increased speed, and
finally gained the top of the hill from which they had first seen the
farmhouse.

They looked back and saw their enemies still after them. Ike had taken
the old man's horse and was coming on a gallop. They knew he had a
revolver, and shivered at the thought. But both stooped and selected the
best stones to throw, to attack him with107 as soon as he came within
range. They halted a minute to get their breath and nerve for the good
effort. Ike had reached a steep, difficult part of the road, where his
horse had to come down to a walk and pick his way.

An Uncomfortable Situation 107

"Now, Si," said Shorty, "throw for your life, if you never did before.
I'm goin' to git him. You take his horse's head. Aim for that white
blaze in his forehead."

Si concentrated his energy into one supreme effort.108

He could always beat the rest of the boys in throwing stones, and now
his practice was to save him. He flung the smooth, round pebble with
terrific force, and it went true to its mark. The horse reared with his
rider just at the instant that a bowlder from Shorty's hand landed on
Ike's breast. The rebel fell to the ground, and the boys ran on.

At the top of the next hill they saw the regiment marching leisurely
along at the foot of the hill. It was so unexpected a deliverance that
it startled them. It seemed so long since they had left the regiment
that it might have been clear back to Nashville. They yelled with all
their remaining strength, and tore down the hill. Co. Q saw them at
once, and at the command of the Captain came forward at the double-
quick. The rebels had in the meanwhile gained the top of the hill. A few
shots were fired at them as they turned from the chase.

The Colonel rode back and questioned the boys. Then he turned to the
Captain of Co. Q and said:

"Captain, take your company over to that house. If you find anything
that you think we need in camp, bring it back with you. Put these boys
in the ambulance."

The exhausted Si and Shorty were helped into the ambulance, the Surgeon
gave them a reviving drink of whisky and quinine, and as they stretched
themselves out on the cushioned seats Si remarked:

"Shorty, we ain't ez purty ez we used to be, but we know a durned sight
more."

"I doubt it," said Shorty surlily. "I think me and you'll be fools as
long as we live. We won't be fools the same way agin, you kin bet your
life, but we'll find some other way."



CHAPTER VIII. A PERIOD OF SELF-DISGUST SI AND SHORTY HAVE AN ATTACK OF
IT, FOLLOWED BY RECOVERY.

IT TOOK many days for the boys' lacerated feet to recover sufficiently
to permit their going about and returning to duty. They spent the period
of enforced idleness in chewing the cud of bitter reflection. The thorns
had cut far more painfully into their pride than into their feet. The
time was mostly passed in moody silence, very foreign to the customary
liveliness of the Hoosier's Rest. They only spoke to one another on the
most necessary subjects, and then briefly. In their sour shame at the
whole thing they even became wroth with each other. Shorty sneered at
the way Si cleaned up the house, and Si condemned Shorty's cooking.
Thenceforth Shorty slept on the floor, while Si occupied the bed, and
they cooked their meals separately. The newness of the clothes they drew
from the Quartermaster angered them, and they tried to make them look as
dirty and shabby as the old.

Once they were on the point of actually coming to blows.

Si had thoughtlessly flung some dishwater into the company street. It
was a misdemeanor that in ordinary times would have been impossible to
him. Now almost anything was.

Shorty instantly growled:110

"You slouch, you ought to go to the guard-house for that."

Si retorted hotly:

"Slouch yourself! Look where you throwed them coffee-grounds this
morning," and he pointed to the tell-tale evidence beside the house.

Shorty and si Are at Outs. 110

"Well, that ain't near so bad," said Shorty crustily. "That at least
intended to be tidy."

"Humph," said Si, with supreme disdainfulness. "It's the difference
betwixt sneakin' an' straightout. I throwed mine right out in the
street. You tried to hide yours, and made it all the nastier. But111
whatever you do's all right. Whatever I do's all wrong. You're a pill."

"Look here, Mister Klegg," said Shorty, stepping forward with doubled
fist, "I'll have you understand that I've took all the slack and
impudence from you that I'm a-goin' to."

"Shorty, if you double your fist up at me," roared the irate Si, "I'll
knock your head off in a holy minute."

The boys of Co. Q were thunderstruck. It seemed as if their world was
toppling when two such partners should disagree. They gathered around in
voiceless sorrow and wonderment and watched, developments.

Shorty seemed in the act of springing forward, when the sharp roll of
the drum at Headquarters beating the "assembly" arrested all attention.
Everyone looked eagerly toward the Colonel's tent, and saw him come out
buckling on his sword, while his Orderly sped away for his horse.
Apparently, all the officers had been in consultation with him, for they
were hurrying away to their several companies.

"Fall in, Co. Q," shouted the Orderly-Sergeant. "Fall in promptly."

Everybody made a rush for his gun and equipments.

"Hurry up. Orderly," said Capt. McGillicuddy, coming up with his sword
and belt in hand. "Let the boys take what rations they can lay their
hands on, but not stop to cook any. We've got to go on the jump."

All was rush and hurry. Si and Shorty bolted for their house, forgetful
of their mangled feet. Si112 got in first, took his gun and cartridge-
box down, and buckled on his belt. He looked around for his rations
while Shorty was putting on his things. His bread and meat and Shorty's
were separate, and there was no trouble about them. But the coffee and
sugar had not been divided, and were in common receptacles. He opened
the coffee-can and looked in. There did not seem to be more than one
ration there. He hesitated a brief instant what to do. It would serve
Shorty just right to take all the coffee. He liked his coffee even
better than Shorty did, and was very strenuous about having it. If he
did not take it Shorty might think that he was either anxious to make up
or afraid, and he wanted to demonstrate that he was neither. Then there
was a twinge that it would be mean to take the coffee, and leave his
partner, senseless and provoking as he seemed, without any. He set the
can down, and, turning as if to look for something to empty it in,
pretended to hear something outside the house to make him forget it, and
hurried out.

Presently Shorty came out, and ostentatiously fell into line at a
distance from Si. It was the first time they had not stood shoulder to
shoulder.

The Orderly-Sergeant looked down the line, and called out:

"Here, Corp'l Klegg, you're not fit to go. Neither are you, Shorty. Step
out, both of you."

"Yes, I'm all right," said Shorty. "Feet's got well. I kin outwalk a Wea
Injun."

"Must've bin using some Lightning Elixir Liniment," said the Orderly-
Sergeant incredulously.. "I saw you both limping around like string-
halted113 horses not 15 minutes ago. Step out, I tell you."

"Captain, le' me go along," pleaded Si. "You never knowed me to fall
out, did you?"

"Captain, I never felt activer in my life," asserted Shorty; "and you
know I always kept up. I never played sore-foot any day."

"I don't believe either of you're fit to go," said Capt. McGillicuddy,
"but I won't deny you. You may start, anyway. By the time we get to the
pickets you can fall out if you find you can't keep up."

"The rebel calvary's jumped a herd of beef cattle out at pasture, run
off the guard, and are trying to get away with them," the Orderly-
Sergeant hurriedly explained as he lined up Co. Q. "We're to make a
short cut across the country and try to cut them off. Sir, the company's
formed."

"Attention, Co. Q!" shouted Capt. McGillicuddy. "Right face!\x97Forward,
file left!\x97March!"

The company went off at a terrific pace to get its place with the
regiment, which had already started without it.

Though every step was a pang. Si and Shorty kept up unflinchingly. Each
was anxious to outdo the other, and to bear off bravery before the
company. The Captain and Orderly-Sergeant took an occasional look at
them until they passed the picket-line, when other more pressing matters
engaged the officers' attention.

The stampeded guards, mounted on mules or condemned horses, or running
on foot, came tearing back, each with a prodigious tale of the numbers
and ferocity of the rebels.114

The regiment was pushed forward with all the speed there was in it,
going down-hill and over the level stretch at a double-quick. Si felt
his feet bleeding, and it seemed at times that he could not go another
step, but then he would look back down the line and catch a glimpse of
Shorty keeping abreast of his set of fours, and he would spur himself to
renewed effort. Shorty would long to throw himself in a fence-corner and
rest for a week, until, as they went over some rise, he would catch
sight of Si's sandy hair, well in the lead, when he would drink in fresh
determination to keep up, if he died in the attempt.

Presently they arrived at the top of the hill from which they could see
the rebel cavalry rounding up and driving off the cattle, while a
portion of the enemy's horsemen were engaged in a fight with a small
squad of infantry ensconced behind a high rail fence.

Si and Shorty absolutely forgot their lameness as Co. Q separated from
the column and rushed to the assistance of the squad, while the rest of
the regiment turned off to the right to cut off the herd. But they were
lame all the same, and tripped and fell over a low fence which the rest
of the company easily leaped. They gathered themselves up, sat on the
ground for an instant, and glared at one another.

"Blamed old tangle-foot," said Shorty derisively.

"You've got hoofs like a foundered hoss," retorted Si.

After this interchange of compliments they staggered painfully to their
feet and picked up their115 guns, which were thrown some distance from
their hands as they fell.

By this time Co. Q was a quarter of a mile away, and already beginning
to fire on the rebels, who showed signs of relinquishing the attack.

"Gol darn the luck!" said Si with Wabash emphasis, beginning to limp
forward.

"Wish the whole outfit was a mile deep in burnin' brimstone," wrathfully
observed Shorty.

A couple of lucky shots had emptied two of the rebel saddles. The
frightened horses turned away from the fighting line, and galloped down
the road to the right of the boys. The leading one suddenly halted in a
fence-corner about 30 yards away from Si, threw up his head and began
surveying the scene, as if undecided what to do next. The other, seeing
his mate stop, began circling around.

Hope leaped up in Si's breast. He began creeping toward the first horse,
under the covert of the sumach. Shorty saw his design and the advantage
it would give Si, and, standing still, began swearing worse than ever.

Si crept up as cautiously as he had used to in the old days when he was
rabbit-hunting. The horse thrust his head over the fence, and began
nibbling at a clump of tall rye growing there. Si thrust his hand out
and caught his bridle. The horse made one frightened plunge, but the
hand on his bridle held with the grip of iron, and he settled down to
mute obedience.

Si set his gun down in the fence-corner and climbed into the saddle.

Shorty made the Spring air yellow with profanity116 until he saw Si ride
away from his gun toward the other horse. When the latter saw his mate,
with a rider, coming toward him he gave a whinney and dashed forward. In
an instant Si had hold of his bridle and was turning back. His face was
bright with triumph. Shorty stopped in the middle of a soul-curdling
oath and yelled delightedly:

"Bully for old Wabash! You're my pardner after all Si."

He hastened forward to the fence, grabbed up Si's gun and handed it to
him and then climbed into the other saddle.

The rebels were now falling back rapidly before Co. Q's fire. A small
part detached itself and started down a side road.

Si and Shorty gave a yell, and galloped toward them, in full sight of
Co. Q. who raised a cheer. The rebels spurred their horses, but Si and
Shorty gained on them.

"Come on. Shorty." Si yelled. "I don't believe they've got a shot left.
They hain't fired once since they started."

He was right. Their cartridge-boxes had been emptied.

At the bottom of the hill a creek crossing the road made a deep, wide
quagmire. The rebels were in too much hurry to pick out whatever road
there might have been through it. Their leaders plunged in, their horses
sank nearly to the knees, and the whole party bunched up.

"Surrender, you rebel galoots." yelled Si reining up at a little
distance, and bringing his gun to bear.117

"Surrender, you off-scourings of secession," added Shorty.

Si and Shorty As Mounted Infantry 117

The rebels looked back, held up their hands, and said imploringly:

"Don't shoot, Mister. We'uns give up. We'uns air taylored."

"Come back up here, one by one," commanded Si,118 "and go to our rear.
Hold on to your guns. Don't throw 'em away. We ain't afraid of 'em."

One by one the rebels extricated their horses from the mire with more or
less difficulty and filed back. Si kept his gun on those in the
quagmire, while Shorty attended to the others as they came back. Co. Q
was coming to his assistance as fast as the boys could march.

What was the delight of the boys to recognize in their captives the
squad which had captured them. The sanguinary Bushrod was the first to
come back, and Si had to restrain a violent impulse to knock him off his
horse with his gun-barrel. But he decided to settle with him when
through with the present business.

By the time the rebels were all up, Co. Q had arrived on the scene. As
the prisoners were being disarmed and put under guard, Si called out to
Capt. McGillicuddy:

"Captain, one o' these men is my partickler meat. I want to 'tend to
him."

"All right. Corporal," responded the Captain, "attend to him, but don't
be too rough on him. Remember that he is an unarmed prisoner."

Si and Shorty got down off their horses, and approached Bushrod, who
turned white as death, trembled violently, and began to beg.

"Gentlemen, don't kill me," he whined. "I'm a poor man, an' have a
fambly to support. I didn't mean nothin' by what I said. I sw'ar't' Lord
A'mighty I didn't."

"Jest wanted to hear yourself talk\x97jest practicin' your voice," said
Shorty sarcastically, as he took the119 man by the shoulder and pulled
him off into the bush by the roadside. "Jest wanted to skeer us, and see
how fast we could run. Pleasant little pastime, eh?" "And them things
you said about a young lady up in Injianny," said Si, clutching him by
the throat.

Bushrod Prays for his Life 119

"I want to wring your neck jest like a chicken's. What'd you do with her
picture and letters?"

Si thrust his hand unceremoniously into Bushrod's pocket and found the
ambrotype of Annabel. A brief glance showed him that it was all right,
and he gave a sigh of satisfaction, which showed some amelioration of
temper toward the captive.120

"What'd you do with them letters?" Si demanded fiercely.

"Ike has 'em," said Bushrod.

"You've got my shoes on, you brindle whelp," said Shorty, giving him a
cuff in bitter remembrance of his own smarting feet.

"If we're goin' to shoot him, let's do it right off," said Si, looking
at the cap on his gun. "The company's gittin' ready to start back."

"All right," said Shorty, with cheerful alacrity. "Johnny, your ticket
for a brimstone supper's made out. How'd you rather be shot\x97standin' or
kneelin'?"

"O, gentlemen, don't kill be. Ye hadn't orter. Why do ye pick me out to
kill? I wuzzent no wuss'n the others. I wuzzent rayly half ez bad. I
didn't rayly mean t' harm ye. I only talked. I had t' talk that-a-way,
for I alluz was a Union man, and had t' make a show for the others. I
don't want t' be shot at all."

"You ain't answerin' my question," said Shorty coolly and inexorably. "I
asked you how you preferred to be shot. These other things you mention
hain't nothin' to do with my question."

He leveled his gun at the unhappy man and took a deliberate sight.

"O, for the Lord A'mighty's sake, don't shoot me down like a dog,"
screamed Bushrod. "Le'me have a chance to pray, an' make my peace with
my Maker."

"All right," conceded Shorty, "go and kneel down there by that
cottonwood, and do the fastest prayin* you ever did in all your born
days, for you have need of it. We'll shoot when I count three. You'd121
better make a clean breast of all your sins and transgressions before
you go. You'll git a cooler place in the camp down below."

Unseen, the rest of Co. Q were peeping through the bushes and enjoying
the scene.

Bushrod knelt down with his face toward the Cottonwood, and began an
agonized prayer, mingled with confessions of crimes and malefactions,
some flagrant, some which brought a grin of amusement to the faces of
Co. Q.

"One!" called out Shorty in stentorian tones.

"O, for the love o' God, Mister, don't shoot me," yelled Bushrod,
whirling around, with uplifted arms. "I'm too wicked to die, an' I've
got a fambly dependin' on me."

"Turn around there, and finish your prayin'," sternly commanded Shorty,
with his and Si's faces down to the stocks of their muskets, in the act
of taking deliberate aim.

Bushrod flopped around, threw increased vehemence into his prayer, and
resumed his recital of his misdeeds.

"Two!" counted Shorty.

Again Bushrod whirled around with uplifted hands and begged for mercy.

"Nary mercy," said Shorty. "You wouldn't give it to us, and you hain't
given it to many others, according to your own account. Your light's
flickerin', and we'll blow it out at the next count. Turn around,
there."

Bushrod made the woods ring this time with his fervent, tearful appeals
to the Throne of Grace. He was so wrought up by his impending death that
he122 did not hear Co. Q quietly move away, at a sign from the Captain,
with Si and Shorty mounting their horses and riding off noiselessly over
the sod.

For long minutes Bushrod continued his impassioned appeals at the top of
his voice, expecting every instant to have the Yankee bullets crash
through his brain. At length he had to stop from lack of breath.
Everything was very quiet\x97deathly so, it seemed to him. He stole a
furtive glance around. No Yankees could be seen out of the tail of his
eye on either side. Then he looked squarely around. None was visible
anywhere. He jumped up, began cursing savagely, ran into the road, and
started for home. He had gone but a few steps when he came squarely in
front of the musket of the Orderly-Sergeant of Co. Q, who had placed
himself in concealment to see the end of the play and bring him along.

"Halt, there," commanded the Orderly-Sergeant; "face the other way and
trot. We must catch up with the company."

Si and Shorty felt that they had redeemed themselves, and returned to
camp in such good humor with each other, and everybody else, that they
forgot that their feet were almost as bad as ever.

They went into the house and began cooking their supper together again.
Shorty picked up the coffeecan and said:

"Si Klegg, you're a gentleman all through, if you was born on the
Wabash. A genuine gentleman is knowed by his never bein' no hog under no
circumstances. I watched you when you looked into this coffee-can, and
mad as I was at you, I said you was a thorobred when you left it all to
me."

123



CHAPTER IX. SHORTY GETS A LETTER BECOMES ENTANGLED IN A HIGHLY IMPORTANT
CORRESPONDENCE.

A LIGHT spring wagon, inscribed "United States Sanitary Commission,"
drove through the camp of the 200th Ind., under the charge of a
dignified man with a clerical cast of countenance, who walked alongside,
looking at the soldiers and into the tents, and stopping from time to
time to hand a can of condensed milk to this one, a jar of jam to
another, and bunches of tracts to whomsoever would take them.

Shorty was sitting in front of the house bathing his aching feet. The
man stopped before him, and looked compassionately at his swollen
pedals.

"Your feet are in a very bad way, my man," he said sadly.

"Yes, durn 'em," said Shorty impatiently. "I don't seem to git 'em well
nohow. Must've got 'em pizened when I was runnin' through the briars."

"Probably some ivy or poison-oak, or nightshade among the briars.
Poison-oak is very bad, and nightshade is deadly. I knew a man once that
had to have his hand amputated on account of getting poisoned by
something that scratched him\x97nightshade, ivy, or poison-oak. I'm afraid
your feet are beginning to mortify."

"Well, you are a Job's comforter," thought Shorty.124

"You'd be nice to send for when a man's sick. You'd scare him to death,
even if there was no danger o' his dyin'."

"My friend," said the man, turning to his wagon, "I've here a nice pair
of home-made socks, which I will give you, and which will come in nicely
if you save your legs. If you don't, give them to some needy man. Here
are also some valuable tracts, full of religious consolation and advice,
which it will do your soul good to peruse and study."

Shorty took the gift thankfully, and turned over the tracts with
curiosity.

"On the Sin of Idolatry," he read the title of the first.

"Now, why'd he give that? What graven image have I bin worshipin'? What
gods of wood and stone have I bin bowin' down before in my blindness?
There've bin times when I thought a good deal more of a Commissary tent
then I did of a church, but I got cured of that as soon as I got a
square meal. I don't see where I have bin guilty of idolatry.

"On the Folly of Self-Pride," he read from the next one. "Humph, there
may be something in that that I oughter read. I am very liable to git
stuck on myself, and think how purty I am, and how graceful, and how
sweetly I talk, and what fine cloze I wear. Especially the cloze. I'll
put that tract in my pocket an' read it after awhile."

"On the Evils of Gluttony," he next read. "Well, that's a timely tract,
for a fact. I'm in the habit o' goin' around stuffin' myself, as this
says, with delicate viands, and drinkin' fine wines\x97'makin' my belly a
god.' The man what wrote this must've bin125 intimately acquainted with
the sumptuous meals which Uncle Sam sets before his nephews. He must've
knowed all about the delicate, apetizin' flavor of a slab o' fat pork
four inches thick, taken off the side of the hog that's uppermost when
he's laying on his back. And how I gormandize on hardtack baked in the
first place for the Revolutioners, and kept over ever since. That feller
knows jest what he's writin' about. I'd like to exchange photographs
with him."

"Thou Shalt Not Swear." Shorty read a few words, got red in the face,
whistled softly, crumpled the tract up, and threw it away.

"On the Sin of Dancing," Shorty yelled with laughter. "Me dance with
these hoofs! And he thinks likely mortification'll set in, and I'll lose
'em altogether. Well, he oughter be harnessed up with Thompson's colt.
Which'd come out ahead in the race for the fool medal? But these seem to
be nice socks. Fine yarn, well-knit, and by stretching a little I think
I kin get 'em on. I declare, they're beauties. I'll jest make Si sick
with envy when I show 'em to him. I do believe they lay over anything
his mother ever sent him. Hello, what's this?"

He extracted from one of them a note in a small, white envelope, on one
end of which was a blue Zouave, with red face, hands, cap and gaiters,
brandishing a red sword in defense of a Star Spangled Banner which he
held in his left hand.

"Must belong to the Army o' the Potomac," mused Shorty, studying the
picture. "They wear all sorts o' outlandish uniforms there. That red-
headed woodpecker'd be shot before he'd git a mile o' the rebels out
here. All that hollyhock business'd jest be meat126 for their
sharpshooters. And what's he doin' with that 'ere sword? I wouldn't give
that Springfield rifle o' mine for all the swords that were ever
hammered out. When I reach for a feller 600 or even 800 yards away I kin
fetch him every time. He's my meat unless he jumps behind a tree. But as
for swords, I never could see no sense in 'em except for officers to put
on lugs with. I wouldn't pack one a mile for a wagonload of 'em."

He looked at the address on the envelope. Straight lines had been
scratched across with a pin. On these was written, in a cramped, mincing
hand:

"To the brave soljer who Gits these Socks."

"Humph," mused Shorty, "that's probably for me. I've got the socks, and
I'm a soldier. As to whether I'm brave or not's a matter of opinion.
Sometimes I think I am; agin, when there's a dozen rebel guns pinted at
my head, not 10 feet away, I think I'm not. But we'll play that I'm
brave enough to have this intended for me, and I'll open it."

On the sheet of paper inside was another valorous red-and-blue Zouave
defending the flag with drawn sword. On it was written:

"Bad Ax, Wisconsin,

"Janooary the 14th, 1863.

"Braiv Soljer: I doant know who you air, or whair you may bee; I only
know that you air serving your country, and that is enuf to entitle to
the gratitude and afl'ection of every man and woman who has the breath
of patriotism in their bodies.

"I am anxious to do something all the time, very little though it may
be, to help in some way the men127 who air fiting the awful battles for
me, and for every man and woman in the country.

"I send these socks now as my latest contribution. They aint much, but
I've put my best work on them, and I hoap they will be useful and
comfortable to some good, braiv man.

"How good you may be I doant know, but you air sertingly a much better
man than you would be if you was not fiting for the Union. I hoap you
air a regler, consistent Christian. Ide prefer you to be a Methodist
Episcopal, but any church is much better than none.

"He be glad to heer that you have received these things all rite.

"Sincerely your friend and well-wisher,

"Jerusha Ellen Briggs."

Although Shorty was little inclined to any form of reading, and disliked
handwriting about as much as he did work on the fortifications, he read
the letter over several times, until he had every word in it and every
feature of the labored, cramped penmanship thoroughly imprinted on his
mind. Then he held it off at arm's length for some time, and studied it
with growing admiration. It seemed to him the most wonderful epistle
that ever emanated from any human hand. A faint scent of roses came from
it to help the fascination.

"I'll jest bet my head agin a big red apple," he soliloquized, "the
woman that writ that's the purtiest girl in the State o' Wisconsin. I'll
bet there's nothin' in Injianny to hold a candle to her, purty as Si
thinks his Annabel is. And smart\x97my! Jest look at that letter. That
tells it. Every word spelled correckly,128 and the grammar away up in G.
Annabel's a mighty nice girl, and purty, too, but I've noticed she makes
mistakes in spelling, and her grammar's the Wabash kind\x97home-made."

He drew down his eyebrows, pursed his lips, and assumed a severely
critical look for a reperusal of the letter and judgment upon it
according to the highest literary standards.

"No, sir," he said, with an air of satisfaction, "not a blamed mistake
in it, from beginnin' to end. Every word spelled jest right, the grammar
straight as the Ten Commandments, every t crossed and i dotted accordin'
to regulashuns and the Constitushun of the United States. She must be a
school-teacher, and yit a school-teacher couldn't knit sich socks as
them. She's a lady, every inch of her. Religious, too. Belongs to the
Methodist Church. Si's father's a Baptist, and so's my folks, but I
always did think a heap o' the Methodists. I think they have a little
nicer girls than the Baptists. I think I'd like to marry a Methodist
wife."

Then he blushed vividly, all to himself, to think how fast his thoughts
had traveled. He returned to the letter, to cover his confusion.

"Bad Ax, Wis. What a queer name for a place. Never heard of it before.
Wonder where in time it is? I'd like awfully to know. There's the 1st
and 21st Wis. in Rousseau's Division, and the 10th Wis. Battery in
Palmer's Division. I might go over there and ask some o' them. Mebbe
some of 'em are right from there. I'll bet it's a mighty nice place."

He turned to the signature with increased interest.

"Jerusha Ellen Briggs. Why, the name itself is129 reg'lar poetry.
Jerusha is awful purty. Your Mollies and Sallies and Emmies can't hold a
candle to it. And Annabel\x97pshaw! Ellen\x97why that's my mother's name.
Briggs? I knowed some Briggses once away-up, awfully nice people. Seems
to me they wuz Presbyterians, though, and I always thought that
Presbyterians wuz stuck-up, but they wuzzent stuck-up a mite. I wonder
if Miss Jerusha Ellen Briggs\x97she must be a Miss\x97haint some beau? But she
can't have. If he wuzzent in the army she wouldn't have him; and if he
was in the army she'd be sending the socks to him, instead of to whom it
may concern."

This brilliant bit of logic disposed of a sudden fear which had been
clutching at his heart. It tickled him so much that he jumped up,
slapped his breast, and grinned delightedly and triumphantly at the
whole landscape.

"What's pleasin' you so mightily. Shorty?" asked Si, who had just come
up. "Got a new system for beatin' chuck-a-luck, or bin promoted?"

"No, nothin'! Nothin's happened," said Shorty curtly, as he hastily
shoved the letter into his blouse pocket. "Will you watch them beans
bilin' while I go down to the spring and git some water?"

He picked up the camp-kettle and started. He wanted to be utterly alone,
even from Si, with his new-born thought. He did not go directly to the
spring, but took another way to a clump of pawpaw bushes, which would
hide him from the observation of everyone. There he sat down, pulled out
the letter again, and read it over carefully, word by word.

"Wants me to write whether I got the socks," he130 mused. "You jest bet
I will. I've a great mind to ask for a furlough to go up to Wisconsin,
and find out Bad Ax. I wonder how fur it is. I'll go over to the
Suiter's and git some paper and envelopes, and write to her this very
afternoon."

He carried his camp-kettle back to the house, set it down, and making
some excuse, set off for the Sutler's shop.

"Le'me see your best paper and envelopes," he said to the pirate who had
license to fleece the volunteers.

"Awfully common trash," said Shorty, looking over the assortment
disdainfully, for he wanted something superlatively fine for his letter.
"Why don't you git something fit for a gentleman to write to a lady on?
Something with gold edges on the paper and envelopes, and perfumed? I
never write to a lady except on gilt-edged paper, smellin' o' bergamot,
and musk, and citronella, and them things. I don't think it's good
taste."

"Well, think what you please," said the Sutler. "That's all the kind I
have, and that's all the kind you'll git. Take it or leave it."

Shorty finally selected a quire of heavy letter paper and a bunch of
envelopes, both emblazoned with patriotic and warlike designs in
brilliant red and blue.

"Better take enough," he said to himself. "I've been handlin' a pick and
shovel and gun so much that I'm afeared my hand isn't as light as it
used to be, and I'll have to spile several sheets before I git it just
right."

On his way back he decided to go by the camp of131 one of the Wisconsin
regiments and learn what he could of Bad Ax and its people.

"Is there a town in your State called Bad Ax?" he asked of the first man
he met with "Wis." on his cap.

"Cert'," was the answer. "And another one called Milwaukee, one called
Madison, and another called Green Bay. Are you studying primary
geography, or just getting up a postoffice directory?"

"Don't be funny, Skeezics," said Shorty severely. "Know anything about
it? Mighty nice place, ain't it?"

"Know anything about it? I should say so. My folks live in Bad Ax
County. It's the toughest, ornerist little hole in the State. Run by
lead-miners. More whisky-shanties than dwellings. It's tough, I tell
you."

"I believe you're an infernal liar," said Shorty, turning away in wrath.

Not being fit for duty, he could devote all his time to the composition
of the letter. He was so wrought up over it that he could not eat much
dinner, which alarmed Si.

"What's the matter with your appetite. Shorty?" he asked. "Haint bin
eatin' nothin' that disagreed with you, have you?

"Naw," answered Shorty impatiently; "nothin' wuss'n army rations. They
always disagree with me when I'm layin' around doin' nothin'. Why, in
the name of goodness, don't the army move? I've got sick o' the sight o'
every cedar and rocky knob in Middle Tennessee. We ought to go down and
take a look at things around Tullahoma, where Mr. Bragg132 is."

It was Si's turn to clean up after dinner, and, making an excuse of
going over into another camp to see a man who had arrived there, Shorty,
with his paper and envelopes concealed under his blouse, and Si's pen
and wooden ink-stand furtively conveyed to his pocket, picked up the
checkerboard when Si's back was turned, and made his way to the pawpaw
thicket, where he could be unseen and unmolested in the greatest
literary undertaking of his life.

He took a comfortable seat on a rock, spread the paper on the
checkerboard, and then began vigorously chewing the end of the penholder
to stimulate his thoughts.

It had been easy to form the determination to write; the desire to do so
was irresistible, but never before had he been confronted with a task
which seemed so overwhelming. Compared with it, struggling with a mule-
train all day through the mud and rain, working with pick and shovel on
the fortifications, charging an enemy's solid line-of-battle, appeared
light and easy performances. He would have gone at either, on the
instant, at the word of command, or without waiting for it, with entire
confidence in his ability to master the situation. But to write a half-
dozen lines to a strange girl, whom he had already enthroned as a lovely
divinity, had more terrors than all of Bragg's army could induce.

But when Shorty set that somewhat thick head of his upon the doing of a
thing, the thing was tolerably certain to be done in some shape or
another.

"I believe, if I knowed whore Bad Ax was, I'd git a furlough, and walk
clean there, rather than write a line," he said, as he wiped from his
brow the sweat133 forced out by the labor of his mind. "I always did
hate writin'. I'd rather maul rails out of a twisted elm log any day
than fill up a copy book. But it's got to be done, and the sooner I do
it the sooner the agony 'll be over. Here goes."

He began laboriously forming each letter with his lips, and still more
laboriously with his stiff fingers, adding one to another, until he had
traced out:

"Headquarters Co. Q, 200th Injianny Volunteer Infantry, Murfreesboro,
Aprile the 16th eighteen hundred & sixty three."

The sweat stood out in beads upon his forehead after this effort, but it
was as nothing compared to the strain of deciding how he should address
his correspondent. He wanted to use some term of fervent admiration, but
fear deterred him. He debated the question with himself until his head
fairly ached, when he settled upon the inoffensive phrase:

"Respected Lady."

The effort was so exhausting that he had to go down to the spring, take
a deep drink of cold water, and bathe his forehead. But his
determination was unabated, and before the sun went down he had produced
the following:

"i talk mi pen in hand 2 inform U that ive reseeved the SOX U so kindly
cent, & i thank U 1,000 times 4 them. They are boss sox & no mistake.
They are the bossest sox that ever wuz nit. The man is a lire who sez
they aint. He dassent tel Me so. U are a boss nitter. Even Misses
Clinkun can't hold a candle 2 U.

"The sox fit me 2 a t, but that is becaws they are nit so wel, &
stretch."134

"I wish I knowed some more real strong words to praise her knitting,"
said Shorty, reading over the laboriously-written lines. "But after I
have said they're boss what more is there to say? I spose I ought to say
something about her health next. That's polite." And he wrote:

"ime in fair helth, except my feet are" locoed, & i weigh 156 pounds, &
hope U are injoying the saim blessing."

"I expect I ought to praise her socks a little more," said he, and
wrote:

"The SOX are jest boss. They outrank anything in the Army of the
Cumberland."

After this effort he was compelled to take a long rest. Then he communed
with himself:

"When a man's writin' to a lady, and especially an educated lady, he
should always throw in a little poetry. It touches her."

There was another period of intense thought, and then he wrote:

"Dan Elliott is my name, & single is my station, Injianny is mi dwelling
place, & Christ is mi salvation."

"Now," he said triumphantly, "that's neat and effective. It tells her a
whole lot about me, and makes her think I know Shakspere by heart.
Wonder if I can't think o' some more? Hum\x97hum. Yes, here goes:

"The rose is red, the vilet's blue; ime 4 the Union, so are U."

Shorty was so tickled over this happy conceit that he fairly hugged
himself, and had to read it over135 several times to admire its beauty.
But it left him too exhausted for any further mental labor than to close
up with:

"No moar at present, from yours til death.

"Dan Elliott,

"Co. Q, 200th injianny Volunteer Infantry."

He folded up the missive, put it into an envelope, carefully directed to
Miss Jerusha Ellen Briggs, Bad Ax, Wis., and after depositing it in the
box at the Chaplain's tent, plodded homeward, feeling more tired than
after a day's digging on the fortifications. Yet his fatigue was
illuminated by the shimmering light of a fascinating hope.



CHAPTER X. TRADING WITH THE REBS THE BOYS HAVE SOME FRIENDLY COMMERCE
WITH THE REBEL PICKETS.

THE 200th Ind. Volunteer Infantry had been pushed out to watch the
crossings of Duck River and the movements of the rebels on the south
bank of that narrow stream. The rebels, who had fallen into the
incurable habit of objecting to everything that the "Yankees" did,
seemed to have especial and vindictive repugnance to being watched.

Probably no man, except he be an actor or a politician, likes to be
watched, but few ever showed themselves as spitefully resentful of
observation as the rebels.

Co. Q was advanced to picket the north bank of the river, but the moment
it reached the top of the hill overlooking the stream it had to deploy
as skirmishers, and Enfield bullets began to sing viciously about its
ears.

"Looks as if them fellers think we want to steal their old river and
send it North," said Shorty, as he reloaded his gun after firing at a
puff of smoke that had come out of the sumach bushes along the fence at
the foot of the hill. "They needn't be so grouchy. We don't want their
river\x97only to use it awhile. They kin have it back agin after we're
through with it."

"Blamed if that feller didn't make a good line137 shot," said Si,
glancing up just above his head to where a twig had been clipped off the
persimmon tree behind which he was standing. "He put up his sights a
little too fur, or he'd 'a' got me."

Si took careful aim at where he supposed the lurking marksman to be and
fired.

There was a waving of the tops of the bushes, as if the men concealed
there had rushed out.

"Guess we both landed mighty close," said Shorty triumphantly. "They
seem to have lost interest in this piece o' sidehill, anyway."

He and Si made a rush down the hill, and gained the covert of the fence
just in time to see the rails splintered by a bunch of shots striking
them.

"Lay down, Yanks!" called out Shorty cheerily, dropping into the weeds.
"Grab a root!"

To the right of them they could see the rest of Co. Q going through
similar performances.

Si and Shorty pushed the weeds aside, crawled cautiously to the fence,
and looked through. There was a road on the other side of the fence, and
beyond it a grove of large beech trees extending to the bank of the
river. Half concealed by the trunk of one of these stood a tall, rather
good-looking young man, with his gun raised and intently peering into
the bushes. He had seen the tops stir, and knew that his enemies had
gained their cover. He seemed expecting that they would climb the fence
and jump down into the road. At a little distance to his right could be
seen other men on the sharp lookout.

Shorty put his hand on Si to caution and repress138 him.

With his eyes fixed on the rebel, Shorty drew his gun toward him. The
hammer caught on a trailing vine, and, forgetting himself, he gave it an
impatient jerk. It went off, the bullet whistling past Shorty's head and
the powder burning his face.

The rebel instantly fired in return, and cut the leaves about four feet
above Shorty.

"Purty good shot that, Johnny," called out Shorty as he reloaded his
gun; "but too low. It went between my legs. You hain't no idee how tall
I am."

"If I couldn't shoot no better'n you kin on a sneak," answered the
rebel, his rammer ringing in his gun-barrel, "I wouldn't handle
firearms. Your bullet went a mile over my head. Must've bin shootin' at
an angel. But you Yanks can't shoot nary bit\x97you're too skeered."

"I made you hump out o' the bushes a few minutes ago," replied Shorty,
putting on a cap. "Who was skeered then? You struck for tall timber like
a cotton-tailed rabbit."

"I'll rabbit ye, ye nigger-lovin' whelp," shouted the rebel. "Take
that," and he fired as close as he could to the sound of Shorty's voice.

Shorty had tried to anticipate his motion and fired first, but the limbs
bothered his aim, and his bullet went a foot to the right of the rebel's
head. It was close enough, however, to make the rebel cover himself
carefully with the tree.

"That was a much better shot, Yank," he called out. "But ye orter do a
powerful sight better'n that on a sneak. Ye'd never kill no deer, nor
rebels nuthor, with that kind o' shootin'. You Yanks are139 great on the
sneak, but that's all the good it does, yet ye can't shoot fer a handful
o' huckleberries."

"Sneaks! Can't shoot!" roared Shorty. "I kin outshoot you or any other
man in Jeff Davis's kingdom. I dare you to come out from behind your
tree, and take a shot with me in the open, accordin' to Hardee's
tactics. Your gun's empty; so's mine. My chum here'll see fair play; and
you kin bring your chum with you. Come out, you skulkin' brindle pup,
and shoot man fashion, if you dare."140

"Ye can't dare me, ye nigger-stealin' blue-belly," shouted the rebel in
return, coming out from behind his tree. Shorty climbed over the fence
and stood at the edge of the road, with his gun at order arms. Si came
out on Shorty's left, and a rebel appeared to the right of the first.
For a minute all stood in expectancy. Then Shorty spoke:

"I want nuthin' but what's fair. Your gun's empty; so's mine. You
probably know Hardee's tactics as well as I do."

"I'm up in Hardee," said the rebel with a firm voice.

"Well, then," continued Shorty, "let my chum here call off the orders
for loadin' and firin', and we'll both go through 'em, and shoot at the
word."

"Go ahead\x97I'm agreed," said the rebel briefly.

Shorty nodded to Si.

"Carry arms," commanded Si.

Both brought their guns up to their right sides.

"Present arms."

Both courteously saluted.

"Load in nine times\x97Load," ordered Si.

Both guns came down at the same instant, each man grasped his muzzle
with his left hand, and reached for his cartridge-box, awaiting the next
order.

"Handle cartridges."

"Tear cartridges."

"Charge cartridges," repeated Si slowly and distinctly. The rebel's
second nodded approval of his knowledge of the drill, and sang out:

"Good soldiers, all of yo'uns."

"Draw rammer," continued Si,141

"Turn rammer."

"Ram cartridge."

Shorty punctiliously executed the three blows on the cartridge exacted
by the regulations, and paused a breath for the next word. The rebel had
sent his cartridge home with one strong thrust, but he saw his
opponent's act and waited.

"Return rammer," commanded Si. He was getting a little nervous, but
Shorty deliberately withdrew his rammer, turned it, placed one end in
the thimbles, deliberately covered the head with his little finger,
exactly as the tactics prescribed, and sent it home with a single
movement. The rebel had a little trouble in returning rammer, and Shorty
and Si waited.

"Cast about,"

"Prime!"

Both men capped at the same instant.

"Ready!"

Shorty cocked his piece and glanced at the rebel, whose gun was at his
side.

"Aim!"

Both guns came up like a flash.

The Duel. 139

Si's heart began thumping at a terrible rate. He was far more alarmed
about Shorty than he had ever been about himself. Up to this moment he
had hoped that Shorty's coolness and deliberation would "rattle" the
rebel and make him fire wildly. But the latter, as Si expressed it
afterward, "seemed to be made of mighty good stuff," and it looked as if
both would be shot down.

"Fire!" shouted Si, with a perceptible tremor in his voice.142

Both guns flashed at the same instant. Si saw Shorty's hat fly off, and
him stagger and fall, while the rebel dropped his gun, and clapped his
hand to his side. Si ran toward Shorty, who instantly sprang up again,
rubbing his head, from which came a faint trickle of blood.

"He aimed at my head, and jest scraped my scalp," he said. "Where'd I
hit him? I aimed at his heart, and had a good bead."

"You seem to have struck him in the side," answered Si, looking at the
rebel. "But not badly, for he's still standin' up. Mebbe you broke a rib
though."

"Couldn't, if he's still up. I must file my trigger Gun pulls too hard.
I had a dead aim on his heart, but I seem to've pulled too much to the
right."

"Say, I'll take a turn with you," said Si, picking up his gun and
motioning with his left hand at the other rebel.

"All right," answered the other promptly. "My gun ain't loaded, though."

"I'll wait for you," said Si, looking at the cap on his gun. A loud
cheer was heard from far to the right, and Co. Q was seen coming forward
on a rush, with the rebels in front running back to the river bank.
Several were seen to be overtaken and forced to surrender.

The two rebels in front of the boys gave a startled look at their
comrades, then at the boys, and turned to run. Si raised his gun to
order them to halt.

"No," said Shorty. "Let 'em go. It was a fair bargain, and I'll stick to
it. Skip out Johnnies, for every cent you're worth."143

The rebels did not wait for the conclusion of the sentence, but followed
their comrades with alacrity.

The boys ran forward through the woods to the edge of the bank, and saw
their opponents climbing up the opposite bank and getting behind the
sheltering trees. Si waited till his particular one got good shelter
behind a large sycamore, and then sent a bullet that cut closely above
his head.

This was the signal for a general and spiteful fusillade from both sides
of the river and all along the line. The rebels banged away as if in
red-hot wrath at being run across the stream, and Co. Q retorted with
such earnestness that another company was sent forward to its
assistance, but returned when the Irish Lieutenant, who had gone forward
to investigate, reported:

"Faith, its loike the divil shearing a hog\x97all cry and no wool at all."

So it was. Both sides found complete shelter behind the giant trunks of
the trees, and each fired at insignificant portions of the anatomy
allowed to momentarily protrude beyond the impenetrable boles.

After this had gone on for about half an hour those across the river
from Si and Shorty called out:

"Say, Yanks, ye can't shoot down a beech tree with a Springfield musket,
nohow ye kin do it. If we'uns hain't killin' more o' yo'uns than yo'uns
is a-killin' o' we'uns, we'uns air both wastin' a powerful lot o' powder
an' lead and good shootin'. What d' yo'uns say to King's excuse for
awhile?"

"We're agreed," said Si promptly, stepping from144 behind the tree, and
leaving his gun standing against it.

"Hit's a go," responded the rebels, coming out disarmed. "We'uns won't
shoot no more till ordered, an' then'll give yo'uns warnin' fust."

The Overture for Trade. 144

"All right; we'll give you warning before we shoot," coincided Si.

"Say, have yo'uns got any Yankee coffee that145 you'll trade for a good
plug o' terbacker?" inquired the man whom Si had regarded as his
particular antagonist.

"Yes," answered Si. "We've got a little. We'll give you a cupful for a
long plug with none cut off."

"What kind of a cupful?" asked the bartering "Johnny."

"A big, honest cupful. One o' this kind," said Si, showing his.

"All right. Hit's to be strike measure," said the rebel. "Here's the
plug," and he held up a long plug of "natural leaf."

"O. K.," responded Si. "Meet me half way."

The truce had quickly extended, and the firing suspended all along the
line of Co. Q. The men came out from behind their trees, and sat down on
the banks in open view of one another.

Si filled his cup "heaping-full" with coffee, climbed down the bank and
waded out into the middle of the water. The rebel met him there, while
his companion and Shorty stood on the banks above and watched the trade.

"Y're givin' me honest measure, Yank," said the rebel, looking at the
cup. "Now, if ye hain't filled the bottom o' yer cup with coffee that's
bin biled before, I'll say y're all right. Some o' yo'uns air so dod-
gasted smart that y' poke off on we'uns coffee that's bin already biled,
and swindle we'uns."

"Turn it out and see," said Si.

The rebel emptied the cup into a little bag, carefully scrutinizing the
stream as it ran in. It was all fine, fragrant, roasted and ground
coffee.146

"Lord, thar's enough t' last me a month with keer," said the rebel,
gazing unctuously at the rich brown grains. "I won't use more'n a
spoonful a day, an' bile hit over twice. Yank, here's yer terbacker.
I've made a good trade. Here's a Chatanooga paper I'll throw in to boot.
Got a Northern paper about ye anywhar?"

Si produced a somewhat frayed Cincinnati Gazette.

"I can't read myself," said the rebel, as he tucked the paper away.
"Never l'arned to. Pap wuz agin hit. Said hit made men lazy. He got
erlong without readin', and raised the biggest fambly on Possum Crick.
But thar's a feller in my mess kin read everything but the big words,
and I like t' git a paper for him to read to the rest o' we'uns."

"Was your pardner badly hurt by mine's shot?" asked Si.

"No. The bullet jest scraped the bone. He'll be likely to have a stitch
in his side for awhile, but he's a very peart man, and won't mind that.
I'm s'prised he didn't lay your pardner out. He's the best shot in our
company."

"Well, he was buckin' agin a mighty good shot, and I'm surprised your
pardner's alive. I wouldn't 've given three cents for him when Shorty
drawed down on him; but Shorty's bin off duty for awhile, and his gun's
not in the best order. Howsumever, I'm awful glad that it come out as it
did. His life's worth a dozen rebels."

"The blazes you say. I'd have you know, Yank, that one Confederit is
wuth a whole rijimint o' Lincoln hirelings. I'll\x97"147

"O, come off\x97come off\x97that's more o' your old five-to-one gas," said Si
irritatingly. "I thought we'd walloped that dumbed nonsense out o' your
heads long ago. We've showed right along that, man for man, we're a
sight better'n you. We've always licked you when we've had anything like
a fair show. At Stone River you had easy two men to our one, and yit we
got away with you."

"'Tain't so. It's a lie. If hit wuzzent for the148 Dutch and Irish you
hire, you couldn't fight we'uns at all."

"Look here, reb," said Si, getting hot around the ears, "I'm neither a
Dutchman nor an Irishman; we hain't a half dozen in our company. I'm a
better man than you've got in your regiment. Either me or Shorty kin
lick any man you put up; Co. Q kin lick your company single-handed and
easy; the 200th Injianny kin lick any regiment in the rebel army. To
prove it, I kin lick you right here."

Si Wants a Fight 147

Si thrust the plug of tobacco into his blouse pocket and began rolling
up his sleeves.

The rebel did not seem at all averse to the trial and squared off at
him. Then Shorty saw the belligerent attitude and yelled:

"Come, Si. Don't fight there. That's no place. If you're goin' to fight,
come up on level ground, where it kin be fair and square. Come up here,
or we'll go over there."

"O, come off," shouted the rebel on the other side. "Don't be a fool,
Bill. Fist-foutin' don't settle nothin'. Come back here and git your gun
if ye want to fout. But don't le's fout no more to-day. Thar's plenty of
it for ter-morrer. Le's keep quiet and peaceful now. I want powerfully
to take a swim. Air you fellers agreed?"

"Yes; yes," shouted Shorty. "You fellers keep to your side o' the river,
and we will to ours."

The agreement was carried into instantaneous effect, and soon both sides
of the stream were filled with laughing, romping, splashing men.

There was something very exhilarating in the cool, clear, mountain water
of the stream. The boys149 got to wrestling, and Si came off victorious
in two or three bouts with his comrades.

"Cock-a-doodle-doo," he shouted, imitating the crow of a rooster. "I kin
duck any man in the 200th Injianny."

The challenge reached the ears of the rebel with whom Si had traded. He
was not satisfied with the result of his conference.

"You kin crow over your fellers, Yank," he shouted; "but you dassent
come to the middle an' try me two falls outen three."

Si immediately made toward him. They surveyed each other warily for a
minute to get the advantages of the first clinch, when a yell came from
the rebel side:

"Scatter, Confeds! Hunt yer holes, Yanks! The Cunnel's a-comin'."

Both sides ran up their respective banks, snatched up their guns, took
their places behind their trees, and opened a noisy but harmless fire.

150



CHAPTER XI. SHORTY'S CORRESPONDENT GETS A LETTER FROM BAD AX, WIS., AND
IS ALMOST OVERCOME WITH JOY.

SHORTY had always been conspicuously lacking in the general interest
which his comrades had shown in the mails. Probably at some time in his
life he had had a home like the rest of them, but for some reason home
now played no part in his thoughts. The enlistment and muster-rolls
stated that he was born in Indiana, but he was a stranger in the
neighborhood when he enrolled himself in Co. Q.

His revelations as to his past were confined to memories of things which
happened "when I was cuttin' wood down the Mississippi," or "when I was
runnin' on an Ohio sternwheel."

He wrote no letters and received none. And when the joyful cry, "Mail's
come," would send everybody else in the regiment on a run to the
Chaplain's tent, in eager anticipation, to jostle one another in
impatience, until the contents of the mailpouch were distributed, Shorty
would remain indifferent in his tent, without an instant's interruption
in his gun cleaning, mending, or whatever task he might have in hand.

A change came over him after he sent his letter to Bad Ax, Wis. The cry,
"Mail's come," would make151 him start, in spite of himself, and before
he could think to maintain his old indifference. He was ashamed, lest he
betray his heart's most secret thoughts.

The matter of the secure transmission of the mails between camp and home
began to receive his earnest attention. He feared that the authorities
were not taking sufficient precautions. The report that John Morgan's
guerrillas had captured a train between Louisville and Nashville, rifled
the mail car, and carried off the letters, filled him with burning
indignation, both against Morgan and his band and the Generals who had
not long ago exterminated that pestiferous crowd.

He had some severe strictures on the slovenly way in which the mail was
distributed from the Division and Brigade Headquarters to the regiments.
It was a matter, he said, which could not be done too carefully. It was
a great deal more important than the distribution of rations. A man
would much rather lose several days' rations than a letter from home. He
could manage in some way to get enough to live on, but nothing would
replace a lost letter.

Then, he would have fits of silent musing, sometimes when alone,
sometimes when with Si in the company, over the personality of the fair
stocking-knitter of Wisconsin and the letter he had sent her. He would
try to recall the exact wording of each sentence he had laboriously
penned, and wonder how it impressed her, think how it might have been
improved, and blame himself for not having been more outspoken in his
desire to hear from her again. He would steal off into the brush, pull
out the socks152 and letter, which he kept carefully wrapped up in a
sheet of the heavy letter paper, and read over the letter carefully
again, although he knew every word of it by heart. These fits alarmed
Si.

"I'm af eared," he confided to some cronies, "that rebel bullet hurt
Shorty more'n he'll let on. He's not actin' like hisself at times. That
bullet scraped so near his thinkery that it may have addled it. It was
an awful close shave."

"Better talk to the Surgeon," said they. "Glancing bullets sometimes
hurt worse'n they seem to."

"No, the bullet didn't hurt Shorty, any more than make a scratch," said
the Surgeon cheerfully when Si laid the case before him. "I examined him
carefully. That fellow's head is so hard that no mere scraping is going
to affect it. You'd have to bore straight through it, and I'd want at
least a six-pounder to do it with if I was going to undertake the job.
An Indiana head may not be particularly fine, but it is sure to be
awfully solid and tough. No; his system's likely to be out of order. You
rapscallions will take no care of yourselves, in spite of all that I can
say, but will eat and drink as if you were ostriches. He's probably a
little off his feed, and a good dose of bluemass followed up with
quinine will bring him around all right. Here, take these, and give them
to him."

The Surgeon was famous for prescribing bluemass and quinine for every
ailment presented to him, from sore feet to "shell fever." Si received
the medicines with a proper show of thankfulness, saluted, and left. As
he passed through the clump if bushes he was tempted to add them to
the153 collection of little white papers which marked the trail from the
Surgeon's tent, but solicitude for his comrade restrained him. The
Surgeon was probably right, and it was Si's duty to do all that he could
to bring Shorty around again to his normal condition. But how in the
world was he going to get his partner to take the medicine? Shorty had
the resolute antipathy to drugs common to all healthy men.

It was so grave a problem that Si sat down on a log to think about it.
As was Si's way, the more he thought about it, the more determined he
became to do it, and when Si Klegg determined to do a thing, that thing
was pretty nearly as good as done.

"I kin git him to take the quinine easy enough," he mused. "All I've got
to do is to put it in a bottle o' whisky, and he'd drink it if there wuz
40 'doses o' quinine in it. But the bluemass's a very different thing.
He's got to swaller it in a lump, and what in the world kin I put it in
that he'll swaller whole?"

Si wandered over to the Sutler's in hopes of seeing something there that
would help him. He was about despairing when he noticed a boy open a can
of large, yellow peaches.

"The very thing," said Si, slapping his thigh. "Say, young man, gi' me a
can o' peaches jest like them."

Si took his can and carefully approached his tent, that he might decide
upon his plan before Shorty could see him and his load. He discovered
that Shorty was sitting at a little distance, with his back to him,
cleaning his gun, which he had taken apart.

"Bully," thought Si. "Just the thing. His hands154 are dirty and greasy,
and he won't want to tech anything to eat."

He slipped into the tent, cut open the can, took out a large peach with
a spoon, laid the pellet of bluemass in it, laid another slice of peach
upon it, and then came around in front of Shorty, holding out the spoon.

"Open your mouth and shut your eyes, Shorty," he said. "I saw some o'
the nicest canned peaches down at the Sutler's, and I suddenly got
hungry for some. I bought a can and brung 'em up to the tent. Jest try
'em."

He stuck the spoon out towards Shorty's mouth. The latter, with his
gunlock in one hand and a greasy rag in the other, looked at the
tempting morsel, opened his mouth, and the deed was done.

"Must've left a stone in that peach," he said, as he gulped it down.

"Mebbe so," said Si, with a guilty flush, and pretending to examine the
others. "But I don't find none in the rest Have another?"

Shorty swallowed two or three spoonfuls more, and then gasped:

"They're awful nice, Si, but I've got enough. Keep the rest for
yourself."

Si went back to the tent and finished the can with mingled emotions of
triumph at having succeeded, and of contrition at playing a trick on his
partner. He decided to make amends for the latter by giving Shorty an
unusually large quantity of whisky to take with his quinine.

Si was generally very rigid in his temperance ideas, He strongly
disapproved of Shorty's155 drinking, and always interposed all the
obstacles he could in the way of it. But this was an extraordinary
case\x97it would be "using liquor for a medicinal purpose"\x97and his
conscience was quieted.

Co. Q had one of those men\x97to be found in every company\x97who can get
whisky under apparently any and all circumstances. In every company
there is always one man who seemingly can find something to get drunk on
in the midst of the Desert of Sahara. To Co. Q's representative of this
class Si went, and was piloted to where, after solemn assurances against
"giving away," he procured a halfpint of fairly-good applejack, into
which he put his doses of quinine.

In the middle of the night Shorty woke up with a yell.

"Great Cesar's ghost!" he howled, "what's the matter with me? I'm
sicker'n a dog. Must've bin them dodgasted peaches. Si, don't you feel
nothin'?"

"No," said Si sheepishly; "I'm all right. Didn't you eat nothin' else
but them?"

"Naw," said Shorty disgustedly. "Nothin' but my usual load o' hardtack
and pork. Yes, I chawed a piece o' sassafras root that one of the boys
dug up."

"Must've bin the sassafras root," said Si. He hated to lie, and made a
resolution that he would make a clean breast to Shorty\x97at some more
convenient time. It was not opportune now. "That must've bin a
sockdologer of a dose the Surgeon gave me," he muttered to himself.

Shorty continued to writhe and howl, and Si made156 a hypocritical offer
of going for the Surgeon, but Shorty vetoed that emphatically.

"No; blast old Sawbones," he said. "He won't do nothin' but give me
bluemass, and quinine, and I never could nor would take bluemass. It's
only fit for horses and hogs."

Toward morning Shorty grew quite weak, and correspondingly depressed.

"Si," said he, "I may not git over this. This may be the breakin' out o'
the cholera that the folks around here say comes every seven years and
kills off the strangers. Si, I'll tell you a secret. A letter may come
for me. If I don't git over this, and the letter comes, I want you to
burn it up without reading it, and write a letter to Miss Jerusha Ellen
Briggs, Bad Ax, Wis., tellin' her that I died like a man and soldier,
and with her socks on, defendin' his country."

Si whistled softly to himself. "I'll do it. Shorty," he said, and
repeated the address to make sure.

The crisis soon passed, however, and the morning found Shorty bright and
cheerful, though weak.

Si was puzzled how to get the whisky to Shorty. It would never do to let
him know that he had gotten it especially for him. That would have been
so contrary to Si's past as to arouse suspicion. He finally decided to
lay it where it would seem that someone passing had dropped it, and
Shorty could not help finding it. The plan worked all right. Shorty
picked it up in a few minutes after Si had deposited it, and made quite
an ado over his treasure trove.

"Splendid applejack," he said, tasting it; "little bitter, but that
probably comes from their using157 dogwood in the fires when they're
'stilhn'. They know that dogwood'll make the liquor bitter, but they're
too all-fired lazy to go after any other kind o' wood." He drank, and as
he drank his spirits rose. After the first dram he thought he would
clean around the tent, and make their grounds look neater than anybody
else's. After the second he turned his attention to his arms and
accouterments. After the third he felt like going out on a scout and
finding some rebels to vary the monotony of the camp-life. After the
fourth, "Groundhog," unluckily for himself, came along, and Shorty
remembered that he had long owed the teamster a licking, and he felt
that the debt should not be allowed to run any longer. He ordered
Groundhog to halt and receive his dues. The teamster demurred, but
Shorty was obdurate, and began preparations to put his intention into
operation, when the Orderly-Sergeant came down through the company
street distributing mail.

Shorty Wants to Fight Groundhog 157

"Shorty," he said, entirely ignoring the bellicosity of the scene,
"here's a letter for you."

Shorty's first thought was to look at the postmark. Sure enough, it was
Bad Ax, Wis. Instantly his whole demeanor changed. Here was something a
hundred times more important than licking any teamster that ever lived.

"Git out, you scab," he said contemptuously. "I haint no time to fool
with you now. You'll keep. This won't."

Groundhog mistook the cause of his escape. "O, you're powerful anxious
to fight, ain't you, till you find I'm ready for you, and then you quiet
down. I'll let you know, sir, that you mustn't give me no more o' your
sass. I won't stand it from you. You jest keep your mouth shet after
this, if you know when you're well off."

The temptation would have been irresistible to Shorty at any other time,
but now he must go off somewhere where he could be alone with his
letter, and to the amazement of all the spectators he made no reply to
the teamster's gibes, but holding the159 precious envelope firmly in his
hand, strode off to the seclusion of a neighboring laurel thicket.

His first thought, as he sat down and looked the envelope over again,
was shame that it had come to him when he was under the influence of
drink. He remembered the writer's fervent Christianity, and it seemed to
him that it would be a gross breach of faith for him to open and read
the letter while the fumes of whisky were on his breath. He had a
struggle with his burning desire to see the inside of the envelope, but
he conquered, and put the letter back in his pocket until he was
thoroughly sober.

But he knew not what to do to fill up the time till he could
conscientiously open the letter. He thought of going back and fulfilling
his long-delayed purpose of thrashing Groundhog, but on reflection this
scarcely commended itself as a fitting prelude.

He heard voices approaching\x97one sympathetic and encouraging, the other
weak, pain-breathing, almost despairing. He looked out and saw the
Chaplain helping back to the hospital a sick man who had over-estimated
his strength and tried to reach his company. The man sat down on a rock,
in utter exhaustion.

Shorty thrust the letter back into his blousepocket, sprang forward,
picked the man up in his strong arms, and carried him bodily to the
hospital. It taxed his strength to the utmost, but it sobered him and
cleared his brain.

He returned to his covert, took out his letter, and again scanned its
exterior carefully. He actually feared to open it, but at last drew his
knife and carefully slit one side. He unfolded the inclosure as160
carefully as if it had been a rare flower, and with palpitating heart
slowly spelled out the words, one after another:

Shorty Reading the Letter 160

"Bad Ax, Wisconsin,

"April the Twenty-First, 1863.

"Mister Daniel Elliott, Company Q, 200th Indiana Volunteer Infantry.

"Respected Sir: I taik my pen in hand toe inform you that I am wel, and
hoap that you aire in joying161 the saim blessing. For this, God be
prazed and magnified forever."

"Goodness, how religious she is," said he, stopping to ruminate. "How
much nicer it makes a woman to be pious. It don't hurt a man much to be
a cuss\x97at least while he's young\x97but I want a woman to be awfully
religious. It sets her off more'n anything else."

He continued his spelling exercise:

"I am verry glad that my sox reached you all rite, that they fell into
the hands of a braiv, pious Union soldier, and he found them nice."

"Brave, pious Union soldier," he repeated to himself, with a whistle.
"Jewhilikins, I'm glad Bad Ax, Wis., is so fur away that she never heard
me makin' remarks when a mule-team's stalled. But I must git a brace on
myself, and clean up my langwidge for inspection-day."

He resumed the spelling:

"I done the best I could on them, and moren that no one can do. Wimmen
cant fite in this cruel war, but they ought all to do what they can. I
only wish I could do more. But the wimmen must stay at home and watch
and wait, while the men go to the front."

"That's all right. Miss Jerusha Ellen Briggs," said he, with more
satisfaction. "You jest stay at home and watch and wait, and I'll try to
do fightin' enough for both of us. I'll put in some extra licks in
future on your account, and they won't miss you from the front."

The next paragraph read:

"I should like to hear more of you and your162 regiment. The only time I
ever beared of the 200th Indiana regiment was in a letter writ home by
one of our Wisconsin boys and published in the Bad Ax Grindstone, in
which he said they wuz brigaded with the 200th Indiana, a good fighting
regiment, but which would stele even the shoes off the brigade mules if
they wuzzent watched, and sumtimes when they wuz. Ime sorry to hear that
any Union soldier is a thief. I know that our boys from Wisconsin would
rather die than stele."

"Steal! The 200th Injianny steal!" Shorty flamed out in a rage. "Them
flabbergasted, knock-kneed, wall-eyed Wisconsin whelps writin' home that
the Injiannians are thieves! The idee o' them longhaired, splay-footed
lumbermen, them chuckleheaded, wap-sided, white-pine butchers talking
about anybody else's honesty. Why, they wuz born stealin'. They never
knowed anything else. They'd steal the salt out o' your hardtack. They'd
steal the lids off the Bible. They talk about the 200th Injiannny! I'd
like to find the liar that writ that letter. I'd literally pound the
head offen him."

It was some time before he could calm himself down sufficiently to
continue his literary exercise. Then he made out:

"Spring's lait here, but things is looking very well. Wheat wintered
good, and a big crop is expected. We had a fine singing-school during
the Winter, but the protracted meeting drawed off a good many. We doant
complain, however, for the revival brought a great many into the fold.
No moar at present, but belave me

"Sincerly Your Friend,

"Jerusha Ellen Briggs."163

Shorty's heart almost choked him when he finished. It was the first time
in his hfe that he had received a letter from any woman. It was the
first time since his mother's days that any woman had shown the
slightest interest in his personality. And, true man like, his impulses
were to exalt this particular woman into something above the mere
mortal.

Then came a hot flush of indignation that the Wisconsin men should
malign his regiment, which, of course, included him, to the mind of such
a being. He burned to go over and thrash the first Wisconsin man he
should meet.

"Call us thieves; say we'll steal," he muttered, as he walked toward the
Wisconsin camp. "I'll learn 'em different."

He did not see anybody in the camp that he could properly administer
this needed lesson to. All the vigorous, able-bodied members seemed to
be out on drill or some other duty, leaving only a few sick moping
around the tents.

Shorty's attention was called to a spade lying temptingly behind one of
the tents. He and Si had badly wanted a spade for several days. Here was
an opportunity to acquire one. Shorty sauntered carelessly around to the
rear of the tent, looked about to see that no one was observing, picked
up the implement and walked off with it with that easy, innocent air
that no one could assume with more success than he when on a predatory
expedition.



CHAPTER XII. THE BAN ON WET GOODS SI HAS A HARD TIME TRYING TO KEEP
WHISKY OUT OF CAMP.

"DETAIL for guard to-morrow," sang out the Orderly-Sergeant, after he
had finished the evening roll-call: "Bailey, Belcher, Doolittle,
Elliott, Fracker, Gleason, Hendricks, Hummerson. Long, Mansur, Nolan,
Thompson."

"Corp'l Klegg, you will act as Sergeant of the Guard.

"Dan Elliott will act as Corporal of the Guard." It is one of the
peculiarities of men that the less they have to do the less they want to
do. The boys of Co. Q were no different from the rest. When they were in
active service a more lively, energetic crowd could not be found in the
army. They would march from daybreak till midnight, and build roads, dig
ditches, and chop trees on the way. They were ready and willing for any
service, and none were louder than they in their condemnation when they
thought that the officers did not order done what should be. But when
lying around camp, with absolutely nothing to do but ordinary routine,
they developed into the laziest mortals that breathed. To do a turn of
guard duty was a heart-breaking affliction, and the Orderly-Sergeant's
announcement of those who were detailed for the morrow brought forth a
yell of protest from every man whose name was called.165

"I only come off guard day before yesterday," shouted Bailey.

"I'm sick, and can't walk a step," complained Belcher, who had walked 15
miles the day before, hunting "pies-an'-milk."

"That blamed Orderly's got a spite at me; he'd keep me on guard every
day in the week," grumbled Doolittle.

"I was on fatigue dooty only yesterday," protested Fracker, who had to
help carry the company rations from the Commissary's tent.

"I'm goin' to the Surgeon an' git an excuse," said Gleason, who had
sprained his wrist a trifle in turning a handspring.

So it went through the whole list.

"I want to see every gun spick-and-span, every blouse brushed and
buttoned, and every shoe neatly blacked, when I march you up to the
Adjutant," said the Orderly, entirely oblivious to the howls. "If any of
you don't, he'll have a spell of digging up roots on the parade. I won't
have such a gang of scarecrows as I have had to march out the last few
days. You fellows make a note of that, and govern yourselves
accordingly."

"Right face\x97Break ranks\x97March!"

"Corp'l Klegg," said the Officer of the Day the next morning, as Si was
preparing to relieve the old guard, "the Colonel is very much worked up
over the amount of whisky that finds its way into camp. Now that we are
out here by ourselves we certainly ought to be able to control this. Yet
there was a disgusting number of drunken men in camp yesterday, and a
lot of trouble that should not be. The Colonel has166 talked very
strongly on this subject, and he expects us to-day to put a stop to
this. I want you to make an extra effort to keep whisky out. I think you
can do it if you try real hard."

"I'll do my best, sir," said Si, saluting.

"Shorty," Si communed with his next in rank before they started on their
rounds with the first relief, "we must see that there's no whisky brung
into camp this day."

"You jest bet your sweet life there won't be, either," returned Shorty.
He felt not a little elated over his brevet rank and the
responsibilities of his position as Corporal of the Guard. "This here
camp'll be as dry as the State o' Maine to-day."

It was a hot, dull day, with little to occupy the time of those off
guard. As usual, Satan was finding "some mischief for idle hands to do."

After he put on the first relief, Si went back to the guard tent and
busied himself awhile over the details of work to be found there. There
were men under sentence of hard labor that he had to find employment
for, digging roots, cleaning up the camp, chopping wood and making
trenches. He got the usual chin-music from those whom he set to enforced
toil, about the injustice of their sentences and "the airs that some
folks put on when they wear a couple of stripes," but he took this
composedly, and after awhile went the rounds to look over his guard-
line, taking Shorty with him.

Everything seemed straight and soldierly, and they sat down by a cool
spring in a little shady hollow.

"Did you ever notice, Shorty," said Si, speculatively, as he looked over
the tin cup of cool water he167 was sipping, "how long and straight and
string-like the cat-brier grows down here in this country? You see 25 or
30 feet of it at times no thicker'n wooltwine. Now, there's a piece
layin' right over there, on t'other side o' the branch, more'n a rod
long, and no thicker'n a rye straw."

"I see it, an' I never saw a piece o' cat-brier move endwise before,"
said Shorty, fixing his eyes on the string-like green.

"As sure's you're alive, it is movin'," said Si, starting to rise.

"Set still, keep quiet an' watch," admonished Shorty. "You'll find out
more."

Si sat still and looked. The direction the brier was moving was toward
the guard-line, some 100 feet away to the left. About the same distance
to the right was a thicket of alders, where Si thought he heard voices.
There were indications in the weeds that the cat-brier extended to
there.

The brier maintained its outward motion. Presently a clump of rags was
seen carried along by it.

"They're sending out their money for whisky," whispered Shorty. "Keep
quiet, and we'll confiscate the stuff when it comes in."

They saw the rag move straight toward the guardline, and pass under the
log on which the sentry walked when he paced his beat across the branch.
It finally disappeared in a bunch of willows.

Presently a bigger rag came out from the willows, in response to the
backward movement of the long cat-brier, and crawled slowly back under
the log and into camp. As it came opposite Si jumped out, put his foot
on the cat-brier and lifted up the rag. He168 found, as he had expected,
that it wrapped up a pint flask of whisky.

"O, come off, Si; come off, Shorty!" appealed some of Co. Q from the
alders. "Drop that. You ain't goin' to be mean, boy's. You don't need to
know nothin' about that, an' why go makin' yourselves fresh when there's
no necessity? We want that awful bad, and we've paid good money for it."

"No, sir," said Shorty sternly, as he twisted the bottle off, and
smashed it on the stones. "No whisky goes into this camp. I'm astonished
at you. Whisky's a cuss. It's the bane of the army. It's the worm that
never dies. Its feet lead down to hell. Who hath vain babblings? Who
hath redness of eyes? The feller that drinks likker, and especially
Tennessee rotgut."

"O, come off; stop that dinged preaching, Shorty," said one impatiently.
"There's nobody in this camp that likes whisky better'n you do; there's
nobody that'll go further to get it, an' there's nobody up to more
tricks to beat the guard."

"What I do as a private soldier, Mr. Blakesley," said Shorty with
dignity, "haint nothing to do with my conduct when I'm charged with
responsible dooty. It's my dooty to stop the awful practice o' likker-
drinkin' in this camp, an' I'm goin' to do it, no matter what the cost.
You jest shet up that clam-shell o' your'n an' stop interfering with
your officers."

Si and Shorty went outside the lines to the clump of willows, but they
were not quick enough to catch Groundhog, the teamster, and the civilian
whom our readers will remember as having his head shaved in the camp at
Murfreesboro some weeks before. They169 found, however, a jug of new and
particularly rasping apple-jack. There was just an instant of wavering
in Shorty's firmness when he uncorked the jug and smelled its contents.
He lifted it to his lips, to further confirm its character, and Si
trembled, for he saw the longing in his partner's eyes. The latter's
hand shook a little as the first few drops touched his tongue, but with
the look of a hero he turned and smashed the jug on a stone.

"You're solid. Shorty," said Si.

"Yes, but it was an awful wrench. Le's git away from the smell o' the
stuff," answered Shorty. "I'm afraid it'll be too much for me yit."

"Corporal of the Guard, Post No. 1."

"Sergeant of the Guard, Post No. 1," came down the line of sentries as
the two boys were sauntering back to camp.

"Somethin's happening over there at the gate," said Si, and they
quickened their steps in the direction of the main entrance to the camp.

They found there a lank, long-haired, ragged Tennesseean, with a
tattered hat of white wool on his head. His scanty whiskers were
weather-beaten, he had lost most of his front teeth, and as he talked he
spattered everything around with tobacco-juice. He rode on a blind, raw-
bone horse, which, with a dejected, broken-down mule, was attached by
ropes, fragments of straps, withes, and pawpaw bark to a shackly wagon.

In the latter were some strings of dried apples, a pile of crescents of
dried pumpkins, a sack of meal, a few hands of tobacco, and a jug of
buttermilk.

"I want t' go inter the camps an' sell a leetle jag170 o' truck," the
native explained, as he drenched the surrounding weeds with tobacco-
juice. "My ole woman's powerful sick an' ailin', an' I need some money
awfully t' git her some quinine. Yarbs don't seem t' do her no sort o'
good. She must have some Yankee quinine, and she's nigh dead fer some
Yankee coffee. This war's mouty hard on po' people. Hit's jest killin'
'em by inches, by takin' away their coffee an' quinine. I'm a Union man,
an' allers have bin."

"You haint got any whisky in that wagon, have you?" asked Si.

"O, Lord, no! nary mite. You don't think I'd try t' take whisky into
camp, do you? I'm not sich a bad man as that. Besides, whar'd I git
whisky? The war's broke up all the 'stilleries in the country. What the
Confedrits didn't burn yo'uns did. I've bin sufferin' for months fur a
dram o' whisky, an' as fur my ole woman, she's nearly died. That's the
reason the yarbs don't do her no good. She can't get no whisky to soak
'em in."

"He's entirely too talkative about the wickedness o' bringin' whisky
into camp," whispered Shorty. "He's bin there before. He's an old hand
at the business."

"Sure you've got no whisky?" said Si.

"Sartin, gentlemen; sarch my wagon, if you don't take my word. I only
wish I knowed whar thar wuz some whisky. I'd walk 20 miles in the rain
t' git one little flask fur my ole woman and myself. I tell you, thar
haint a drap t' be found in the hull Duck River Valley. 'Stilleries all
burnt, I tell you." And in the earnestness of his protestations he
sprayed his team,171 himself, and the neighboring weeds with liquid
tobacco.

Si stepped back and carefully searched the wagon, opening the meal sack,
uncorking the buttermilk jug, and turning over the dried apples,
pumpkins and tobacco. There certainly was no whisky there.

Shorty stood leaning on his musket and looking at the man. He was pretty
sure that the fellow had had previous experience in running whisky into
camp, and was up to the tricks of the trade. Instead of a saddle the man
had under him an old calico quilt, whose original gaudy colors were
sadly dimmed by the sun, rain, and dirt. Shorty stepped forward and
lifted one corner. His suspicions were right. It had an under pocket, in
which was a flat, half-pint flask with a cob stopper, and filled with
apple-jack so new that it was as colorless as water.

"I wuz jest bringin' that 'ere in fur you, Capting," said the
Tennesseean, with a profound wink and an unabashed countenance. "Stick
hit in your pocket, quick. None o' the rest 's seed you."

Shorty flung the bottle down and ordered the man off his horse. The
quilt was examined. It contained a half-dozen more flasks, each holding
a "half-pint of throat-scorch and at least two fights," as Shorty
expressed it. A clumsy leather contrivance lay on the hames of the mule.
Flasks were found underneath this, and the man himself was searched.
More flasks were pulled out from the tail pockets of his ragged coat;
from his breast; from the crown of his ragged hat.

"Well," said Shorty, as he got through, "you're a regler grogshop on
wheels. All you need is a lot172 o' loafers talkin' politics, a few
picturs o' racin' hosses and some customers buried in the village
graveyard to be a first-class bar-room. Turn around and git back to that
ole woman o' your'n, or we'll make you sicker'n she is."

Si and Shorty marched around with the second relief, and then sat down
to talk over the events of the morning.

"I guess we've purty well settled the whisky business for to-day, at
least," said Si. "The Colonel can't complain of us. I don't think we'll
have any more trouble. Seems to me that there can't be no more whisky in
this part o' Tennessee, from the quantity we've destroyed."

"Don't be too dinged sure o' that," said Shorty. "Whisky seems to brew
as naturally in this country as the rosin to run out o' the pine trees.
I never saw sich a country fur likker. They have more stills in
Tennessee than blacksmith shops, and they work stiddier."

Si looked down the road and saw returning a wagon which had been sent
out in the morning for forage. It was well loaded, and the guards who
were marching behind had a few chickens and other supplies that they had
gathered up.

"Boys seem to be purty fresh, after their tramp," said he, with the
first thought of a soldier looking at marching men. "They've all got
their guns at carry arms. I noticed that as they came over the hill."

"Yes," answered Shorty, after a glance, "and they're holdin' 'em up very
stiff an' straight. That gives mo an idee. Lo's go over there an' take a
look at 'em."173

Shorty had sniffed at a trick that he had more than once played in
getting the forbidden beverage past the lynx-eyed sentry.

"Don't you find it hard work to march at routstep with your guns at a
carry?" he said insinuatingly. "No need o' doin' that except on parade
or drill. Right-shoulder-shift or arms-at-will is the thing when you're
on the road."

"H-s-sh," said the leading file, with a profound wink and a sidelong
glance at Si. "Keep quiet, Shorty," he added in a stage whisper. "We'll
give you some. It's all right. We'll whack up fair."

"No, it ain't all right," said Shorty, with properly offended official
dignity. "Don't you dare offer to bribe me, Buck Harper, when I'm on
duty. Hand me that gun this minute."

Harper shamefacedly handed over the musket, still holding it carefully
upright. Shorty at once reversed it and a stream of whisky ran out upon
the thirsty soil.

Si grasped the situation, and disarmed the others with like result.

"I ought to put every one o' you in' the guardhouse for this. It's lucky
that the Officer of the Guard wasn't here. He'd have done it. There he
comes now. Skip out after the wagon, quick, before he gits on to you."

"What next?" sighed Si. "Is the whole world bent on bringin' whisky into
this camp? Haint they got none for the others?"

"Sergeant of the Guard, Post No. 1," rang out upon the hot air. Si
walked over again to the entrance, and saw seeking admission a tall,
bony174 woman, wearing a dirty and limp sunbonnet and smoking a corn-cob
pipe. She was mounted on a slab-sided horse, with ribs like a washboard,
and carried a basket on her arm covered with a coarse cloth none too
clean.

"Looks as if she'd bin picked before she was ripe and got awfully warped
in the dryin'. All the same she's loaded with whisky," commented Shorty
as the woman descended from her saddle and approached the sentry with an
air of resolute demand.

"You haint got no right to stop me, young feller," she said. "I come in
hyar every day an' bring pies. Your Jinerul said I could, an' he wanted
me to. His men want my pies, an' they do 'em good. Hit's homecookin',
an' takes the taste o' the nasty camp vittles out o' their mouths, an'
makes 'em healthy. You jest raise yer gun, an' let me go right in, or
I'll tell yer Jinerul, an' he'll make it warm fur yer. I've got a pass
from him."

"Let me see your pass," said Si, stepping forward. The woman unhooked
her linsey dress, fumbled around in the recesses, and finally produced a
soiled and crumpled paper, which, when straightened out, read:

"Mrs. Sarah Bolster has permission to pass in and out of the camp of the
200th Indiana Volunteer Infantry.

"By order of Col. Quackenbush.

"D. L. Blakemore, Lieut. & Adj't."

"What've you got in that basket?" asked Si, still hesitating.

"Pies," she answered confidently. "The best pies you ever seed. Some of
'em pumpkin; but the rest175 of 'em dried apple, with lots o' 'lasses in
fur sweetenin'. Your mother never baked better pies 'n 'em."

"To my mind," muttered Shorty, as he stepped forward to investigate the
basket, "she's the kind o' a woman I'd like to have bake pies for a gang
o' State's prison birds that I wanted to kill off without the trouble o'
hangin'. Say, ma'am, are your pies pegged or sewed? What'd you use for
shortenen'\x97injy rubber or Aunt Jemimy's plaster?" he continued as he
turned back the cloth and surveyed the well-known specimens of mountain
baking which were as harmful to Uncle Sam's boys as the bullets of their
enemies.

"Young feller, none o' yer sass," she said severely. "Them's better pies
than ye're used ter. Folks that's never had nothin' air allers the most
partickeler, an' turnin' up thar noses at rayly good things. Don't fool
with me no more, but let me go on inter camp, fur the soljers air
expectin' me."

"Sure you haint got no whisky down in the bottom o' that basket?" said
Si, pushing the pies about a little, to get a better look.

The indignation of the woman at this insinuation was stunning. She took
her pipe out of her mouth to better express her contempt for men who
would insult a Southern lady by such a hint\x97one, too, that had been of
so much benefit to the soldiers by toiling over the hot oven to prepare
for them food more acceptable than the coarse rations their stingy
Government furnished them. She had never been so insulted in her life,
and she would bring down on them dire punishment from the Colonel.

Several experiences with the tongue-lashings of176 Southern viragoes had
made Si and Shorty less impressed by them than they had been earlier in
their service. Still, they had the healthy young man's awe of anything
that wore skirts, and the tirade produced its effect, but not strong
enough to eradicate the belief that she was a whisky-bringer. While she
stormed Si kept his eyes fixed upon the scant linsey dress which draped
her tall form. Presently he said to Shorty:

"What do you think? Shall we let her go in?" Shorty whispered back with
great deliberation: "Si, what I know about the female form don't amount
to shucks. Least of all the Tennessee female form. But I've been lookin'
that 'ere woman over carefully while she's been jawin', an' while she's
naturally covered with knots and knobs in places where it seems to me
that women generally don't have 'em, I can't help believin' that she's
got some knots and knobs that naturally don't belong to her. In other
words, she's got a whole lot o' flasks of whisky under her skirts."

"Jest what I've been suspicionin'," said Si. "I've heard that that's the
way lots o' whisky is brung into camp. Shorty, as Corporal o' the Guard,
it's your duty to search her."

"What!" yelled Shorty, horror-struck at the immodest thought. "Si Klegg,
are you gone plum crazy?"

"Shorty," said Si firmly, "it's got to be done. She's got a pass, and
the right to go into camp. We're both o' the opinion that she's carryin'
in whisky. If she was a man there'd be no doubt that she'd have to be
searched. I don't understand that the law177 knows any difference in
persons. No matter what you may think about it, it is your duty, as
Corporal o' the Guard, to make the search."

"No, sir-ree," insisted Shorty. "You're Sergeant o' the Guard, and it's
your dooty to make all searches."

"Shorty," expostulated Si, "I'm much younger and modester'n you are, an'
haint seen nearly so much o' the world. You ought to do this. Besides,
you're under my orders, as Actin' Corporal. I order you to make the
search."

"Si Klegg," said Shorty firmly, "I'll see you and all the Corporals and
Sergeants betwixt here and Washington in the middle o' next week before
I'll do it. You may buck-and-gag me, and tie me up by the thumbs, and
then I won't. I resign my position as Corporal right here, and'll take
by gun and go on post."

"What in the world are we goin' to do?" said Si desperately. "If we let
her in, she'll fill the camp full o' whisky, and she'll have to go in,
unless we kin show some reason for keepin' her out. Hold on; I've got an
idee."

He went up to the woman and said:

"You say you want to go into camp to sell your pies?"

"Yes, sir, an' I want to go in right off\x97no more foolin' around," she
answered tartly.

"How many pies've you got?"

She went through a laborious counting, and finally announced: "Eight
altogether."

"How much are they worth?"

"Fifty cents apiece."178

"Very good," announced Si taking some money from his pocket. "That comes
to $4. I'll take the lot and treat the boys. Here's your money. Now
you've got no more business in camp, jest turn around and mosey for
home. You've made a good day's business, and ought to be satisfied."

The woman scowled with disappointment. But she wisely concluded that she
h'd better be content with the compromise, remounted her horse and
disappeared down the road.

"That was a sneak out of a difficulty," Si confessed to Shorty; "but you
were as big a coward as I was."

"No, I wasn't," insisted Shorty, still watchful. "You'd no right to
order me do something that you was afraid to do yourself. That's no kind
o' officering."

179



CHAPTER XIII. THE JEW SPY WRITES SHORTY HAS AN ADVENTURE WITH A LONE,
LORN WIDDER LADY."

"I WONDER what has become of our Jew spy, Shorty?" said Si, as he and
Shorty sat on the bank of Duck River and watched the rebel pickets
lounging under the beeches on the other side. "We hain't heard nothin'
of him for more'n a month now."

"He's probably hung," answered Shorty. "He was entirely too smart to
live long. A man can't go on always pokin' his finger into a
rattlesnake's jaw without gittin' it nipped sooner or later."

"I'm looking fur a man called Si Klegg," they heard behind them. Looking
around they saw the tall, gaunt woman whom they had turned back from
entering the camp a few days before, under the belief that she was
trying to smuggle in whisky.

"What in the world can she want o' me?" thought Si; but he answered:

"That's my name. What'll you have?"

A flash of recognition filled at once her faded blue eyes. Without
taking her pipe from between her yellow, snaggly teeth she delivered a
volley of tobacco-juice at an unoffending morning-glory, and snapped
out:

"O, y'r him, air ye? Y'r the dratted measly180 sapsucker that bounced me
'bout takin' likker inter camp. What bizniss wuz hit o' your'n whether I
tuk likker in or not? Jest wanted t' be smart, didn't ye? Jest wanted t'
interfere with a lone, lorn widder lady makin' a honest livin' for
herself and 10 children. My ole man ketched the black ager layin' out in
the brush to dodge the conscripters. It went plumb to his heart an'
killed him. He wa'n't no great loss, nohow, fur he'd eat more in a week
than he'd kill, ketch, or raise in a year. When his light went out I'd
only one less mouth to feed, and got rid o' his jawin' an' cussin' all
the time. But that hain't nothin' t' do with you. You 's jest puttin' on
a lettle authority kase ye could. But all men air alike that-a-way.
Elect a man Constable, an' he wants t' put on more airs than the Guv-
nor; marry him, an' he makes ye his slave."

"I should think it'd be a bold man that'd try to make you his slave.
Madam," Si ventured.

"Y' she'd think," she retorted, with her arms akimbo. "Who axed y' t'
think, young feller? What d' y' do hit with. Why d' y' strain y'rself
doin' somethin' y' ain't used t'?"

It did Shorty so much good to see Si squelched, that he chuckled aloud
and called out:

"Give it to him, old Snuff-Dipper. He's from the Wabash, an' hain't no
friends. He's bin itchin' a long time for jest such a skinnin' as you're
givin' him."

"Who air y' callin' Snuff-Dipper?" she retorted, turning angrily on
Shorty. "What've ye got t' say agin snuff-dippin', anyway, y' terbacker-
chawin', likker-guzzlin', wall-oyed, splay-footed, knock-kneed181 oaf?
What air y' greasy hirelings a-comin' down heah fo', t' sass and slander
Southern ladies, who air yo' superiors?"

"Give it to him, old Corncob Pipe," yelled Si "He needs lambastin'
worse'n any man in the regiment. But what did you want to see me for?"

"I wanted to see yo' bekase I got a letter to yo' from a friend o' mine,
who said yo' wuz gentlemen, an' rayly not Yankees at all. He said that
yo' wuz forced into the army agin yo' will."

"Gracious, what a liar that man must be," murmured Shorty to himself.

"An' yo' rayly had no heart to fight for the nigger, an' that yo'd treat
me like a sister."

"A sister," Shorty exploded internally. "Think of a feller's havin' a
sister like that. Why, I wouldn't throw her in a soap-grease barrel."

"Who was this friend. Madam?" said Si, "and where is his letter?"

"I don't know whether to give it to yo' or not," said she. "Y're not the
men at all that he ascribed to me. He said yo' wuz very good-lookin',
perlite gentlemen, who couldn't do too much for a lady."

"Sorry we're not as handsome as you expected," said Si; "but mebbe
that's because we're in fatigue uniforms. You ought to see my partner
there when he's fixed up for parade. He's purtier'n a red wagon then.
Let me see the letter. I can tell then whether we're the men or not."

"Kin yo' read?" she asked suspiciously.

"O, yes," answered Si laughingly at the thought almost universal in the
South that reading and writing were\x97like the Gift of Tongues\x97a
special182 dispensation to a few favored individuals only. "I can read
and do lots o' things that common people can't. I'm seventh son of a
seventh son, born with a caul on my head at the time o' the full moon.
Let me see the letter."

She was not more than half convinced, but unhooked her dress and took a
note from her bosom, which she stuck out toward Si, holding tightly on
to one end in the meanwhile. Si read, in Levi Rosenbaum's flourishing,
ornate handwriting:

"Corporal Josiah Klegg, Co. Q, 200th Indiana Volunteers, in Camp on Duck
River."

"That means me," said Si, taking hold of the end of the envelope. "There
ain't but one 200th Injianny Volunteers; there's no other Co. Q, and I'm
the only Josiah Klegg."

The woman still held on to the other end of the letter.

"It comes," continued Si, "from a man a little under medium size, with
black hair and eyes, dresses well, talks fast, and speaks a Dutch
brogue."

"That's him," said the woman, relinquishing the letter, and taking a
seat under the shade of a young cucumber tree, where she proceeded to
fill her pipe, while awaiting the reading of the missive.

Si stepped off a little ways, and Shorty looked over his shoulder as he
opened the letter and read:

"Dear Boys: This will be handed you, if it reaches you at all, by Mrs.
Bolster, who has more about her than you think."183

"I don't know about that," muttered Shorty; "the last time I had the
pleasure o' meetin' the lady she had 'steen dozen bottles o' head-bust
about her."

"She's a Confederate, as far as she goes."

Si continued reading,

"which is not very far. She don't go but a little ways. A jay-bird that
did not have any more brains would not build much of a nest. But she is
very useful to me, and I want you to get in with her. As soon as you
read this I want Si to give her that pair of horn combs I gave him. Do
it at once. Sincerely your friend,

"Levi Rosenbaum."

Si knit his brows in perplexity and wonderment over this strange
message. He looked at Shorty, but Shorty's face was as blank of
explanation as his own. He fumbled around in his blouse pocket, drew
forth the combs, and handed them to the woman. Her dull face lighted up
visibly. She examined the combs carefully, as if fitting them to a
description, and, reaching in her bosom, pulled out another letter and
handed it to Si.

When this was opened Si read:

"Dear Boys: Now you will understand the comb business. I wanted to make
sure that my letter reached the right men, and the combs were the only
things I could think of at the moment. Mrs. B. will prize them, though
she will never think of using them, either on herself or one of her
shock-headed brats. I want you to play it on her as far as your
consciences will allow. Pretend that you are awful sick of this
Abolition war, and tired fighting for the nigger, and all that stuff.
Make her the happiest184 woman in Tennessee by giving her all the coffee
you can spare. That will fetch her quicker and surer than anything else.
Like most Southern women, she is a coffee-drinker first and a rebel
afterward, and if some preacher would tell her that heaven is a place
where she will get all the Yankee coffee she can drink, she would go to
church regularly for the rest of her life. Tell her a lot of news\x97as
much of it true as you can and think best; as much of it otherwise as
you can invent. Follow her cautiously when she leaves camp. Don't let
her see you do so. You will find that she will lead you to a nest of
spies, and the place where all the whisky is furnished to sell in camp.
I write you thus freely because I am certain that this will get in your
hands. I know that your regiment is out here, because I have been
watching it for a week, with reference to its being attacked. It won't
be for at least awhile, for there's another hen on. But make up to the
old lady as much as your consciences and stomachs will allow you. It
will be for the best interests of the service.

"Sincerely your friend, Levi Rosenbaum."

"I wonder what game Levi is up to?" Si said, as he stood with the letter
in his hand and looked at the woman. "I'll give her all the coffee I can
and be very civil to her, but that's as far as I'll go. The old rebel
cat. I'll not lie to her for 40 Levi Rosenbaums."

"Well, I will," said Shorty. "You fix her up with the coffee, and leave
the rest to me. I always had a fancy for queer animals, and run off from
home once to travel with a menagerie. I'd like to take her up185 North
and start a side-show with her. 'The Queen o' the Raccoon Mountains,' or
the 'Champion Snuff-Dipper o' the Sequatchie Valley.' How'd that do for
a sign?"

"Well, go ahead," said Si. "But expect no help from me."

"Mr. Klegg, when I want your help in courtin' a lady I'll let you know,"
said Shorty with dignity. Si went back to the tent to see about getting
the coffee, and Shorty approached Mrs. Bolster with an engaging
expression on his countenance. She was knocking the ashes out of her
pipe.

"Let me fill your pipe up again. Madam, with something very choice,"
said he, pulling out a plug of bright natural leaf. "Here's some
terbacker the like o' which you never see in all your born days. It was
raised from seed stole from the private stock of the High-muk-a-muk o'
Turkey, brung acrost the ocean in a silver terbacker box for the use o'
President Buchanan, and planted in the new o' the moon on a piece o'
ground that never before had raised nothin' but roses and sweet-
williams. My oldest brother, who is a Senator from Oshkosh, got just one
plug of it, which he divided with me."

"O, my! is that true?" she gurgled.

"It's as true as that you are a remarkably fine lookin' woman," he said
with unblushing countenance, as he began whittling off some of the
tobacco to fill her pipe. "I was struck by your appearance as soon as I
saw you. I always was very fond of the Southern ladies."

"Sakes alive, air y'?" she asked; "then what air yo'uns down here
foutin' we'uns fur?"186

"That's a long story, m'm," answered Shorty. "It was a trick o' the
Abolition politicians that got us into it. I'm awful sick o' the war
(that we hain't gone ahead and knocked the heads offen this whole crowd
instead o' layin' 'round here in camp for months)" he added as a mental
reservation, "and wisht I was out of it (after we've hung Jeff Davis on
a sour-apple tree). Then I might settle down here and marry some nice
woman. You're a widder, I believe you said."

"Yes, I'm a widder," she answered, taking her pipe from her mouth and
giving him what she intended for a languishing smile, but which Shorty
afterward said reminded him of a sun-crack in a mud fence. "Yes, I'm a
widder. Bin so for gwine on six months. Sakes alive, but ye do talk
nice. You air the best-lookin' Yankee I've ever seed." "Nothin'
painfully bashful about her," thought Shorty. "But I must be careful not
to let her get me near a Justice of the Peace. She'd marry me before I
could ketch my breath. Madam," he continued aloud.

"Yo' may call me Sophrony," she said, with another cavernous smile.

"Well, Sophrony, let me present you with half o' this plug o' famous
terbacker." He drew his jackknife and sliced the plug in two. "Take it,
with my warmest respects. Here comes my partner with some coffee I've
sent him for, and which I want you to have. It is not as much as I'd
like to give you, but it's all that I have. Some other day you shall
have much more."

"Law's sakes." she bubbled, as the fragrant odor187 of the coffee
reached her nose, and she hefted the package. "Yo' air jest the nicest
man I ever did see in all my born days. I didn't s'pose thar wuz so nice
a man, or sich a good-lookin' one, in the hull Yankee army, or in the
oonfederit either, fur that matter. But, then, yo' ain't no real blue-
bellied Yankee."

"No, indeed, Sophrony. I never saw New England in all my life, nor did
any o' my people. They wuz from Virginny (about 500 miles, as near as I
kin calculate)" he added to himself as a mental poultice.

"Say, Mister, why don't you leave the Yankee army?"

"Can't," said Shorty, despairingly. "If I tried to git back home the
Provos 'll ketch me. If I go the other way the rebel's ketch me. I'm
betwixt the devil and the deep sea."

She sat and smoked for several minutes in semblance of deep thought, and
spat with careful aim at one after another of the prominent weeds
around. Then she said:

"If yo' want t' splice with me, I kin take keer o' yo'. I've helped run
off several o' the boys who wuz sick o' this Abolition war. Thar's two
o' them now with Bill Phillips's gang makin' it hot for the Yankee
trains and camps. They're makin' more'n they ever did soljerin', an'
havin' a much better time, for they take whatever they want, no matter
who it belongs to. D' yo' know Groundhog, a teamster? He's in cahoots
with us."

"Oh!" said Shorty to himself. "Here's another lay altogether. Guess it's
my duty to work it for all that it's worth."188

"Is it a bargain?" she said suddenly, stretching out her long, skinny
hand.

"Sophrony," said Shorty, taking her hand, "this is so sudden. I never
thought o' marryin'\x97at least till this cruel war is over. I don't know
what kind of a husband I'd make. I don't know whether I could fill the
place o' your late husband!"

"Yo're not gwine t' sneak out," she said, with a fierce flash in her
gray eyes. "If yo' do I'll have yo' pizened."

"Now, who's talkin' about backin' out?" said Shorty in a fever of
placation, for he was afraid that some of the other boys would overhear
the conversation. "Don't talk so loud. Come, let's walk on toward your
home. We kin talk on the way."

The proposition appeared reasonable. She took the bridle of her horse in
her arm, and together they walked out through the guard-line. The
sentries gave Shorty a deep, knowing wink as he passed. He went the more
willingly, as he was anxious to find out more about the woman, and the
operations of the gang with which she was connected. She had already
said enough to explain several mysterious things of recent occurrence.
Night came down and as her ungainliness was not thrust upon him as it
was in the broad glare of day, he felt less difficulty in professing a
deep attachment for her. He even took her hand. On her part she grew
more open and communicative at every step, and Shorty had no difficulty
in understanding that there was gathered around her a gang that was
practicing about everything detrimental to the army. They were by turns
spies, robbers, murderers, whisky189 smugglers, horse-thieves, and
anything else that promised a benefit to themselves. Ostensibly they
were rebels, but this did not prevent their preying upon the rebels when
occasion offered. Some were deserters from the rebel army, some were
evading the conscript laws, two or three were deserters from our army.

Shorty and the woman had reached a point nearly a half-mile outside of
the guard-line when he stopped and said:

"I can't go no farther now. I must go back." "Why must yo' go back?" she
demanded, with a190 sudden angry suspicion. "I thought yo' wuz gwine
right along with me."

"Why, no. I never thought o' that. I must go back and get my things
before I go with you," said Shorty, as the readiest way of putting her
off.

"Plague take y'r things," she said. "Let 'em go. Yo' kin git plenty more
jest as good from the next Yankee camp. Yo' slip back some night with
the boys an' git yo'r own things, if y'r so dratted stuck on 'em. Come
along now."

She took hold of his wrist with a grip like iron. Shorty had no idea
that a woman could have such strength.

"I want to go back and git my partner," said Shorty. "Me and him 've bin
together all the time we've bin in the army. He'll go along with me, I'm
sure. Me and him thinks alike on everything, and what one starts the
other jines in. I want to go back an' git him."

"I don't like that partner o' your'n. I don't want him. I'll be a better
partner t' yo' than ever he was. Yo' mustn't think more o' him than yo'
do o' me."

"Look here, Sophrony," said Shorty desperately, "I cannot an' will not
go with you to-night. I'm expectin' important letters from home to-
morrow, and I must go back an' git 'em. I've a thousand things to do
before I go away. Have some sense. This thing's bin sprung on me so
suddenly that it ketches me unawares."

With the quickness of a flash she whipped out a long knife from
somewhere, and raised it, and then hesitated a second.

She Whipped out a Long Knife. 189

"I believe yo're foolin' me, and if I wuz shore I'd191 stick yo'. But
I'm gwine t' give yo' a chance. Yo' kin go back now, an' I'll come for
yo' ter-morrer. If you go back on me hit'll be a mouty sorry day for
yo'. Mind that now."

Shorty gallantly helped her mount, and then hurried back to camp.



CHAPTER XIV. SHORTY HAS AN ADVENTURE WITH SI HE GOES OUT TO VISIT MRS.
BOLSTER.

SHORTY sauntered thoughtfully back to the tent, and on the way decided
to tell Si the whole occurrence, not even omitting the deceit practiced.

He had to admit to himself that he was unaccountably shaken up by the
affair.

Si was so deeply interested in the revelations that he forgot to blame
Shorty's double-dealing.

"Never had my nerve so strained before," Shorty frankly admitted. "At
their best, women are curiouser than transmogrified hullaloos, and when
a real cute one sets out to hornswoggle a man he might as well lay down
and give right up, for he hain't no earthly show. She gits away with him
every time, and one to spare. That there woman's got the devil in her
bigger'n a sheep, and she come nigher makin' putty o' your Uncle Ephraim
than I ever dreamed of before. It makes me shivery to think about it."

"I don't care if she's more devils in her than the Gadarene swine, she
must be stopped at once," said Si, his patriotic zeal flaming up. "She's
doin' more mischief than a whole regiment o' rebels, and must be busted
immediately. We've got to stop193 her."

"But just how are we goin' to stop her?" Shorty asked. There was a weak
unreadiness in Shorty's tones that made Si look at him in surprise.
Never before, in any emergency, had there been the slightest shade of
such a thing in his bold, self-reliant partner's voice.

"I'd rather tackle any two men there are in the Southern Confederacy
than that woman," said Shorty. "I believe she put a spell on me."

"Le's go up and talk to Capt. McGillicuddy about it," said Si.
Ordinarily, this was the last thing that either of them would have
thought of doing. Their usual disposition was to go ahead and settle the
problem before them in their own way, and report about it afterward. But
Shorty was clearly demoralized.

Capt. McGillicuddy listened very gravely to their story.

"Evidently that old hen has a nest of bad, dangerous men, which has to
be broken up," he said. "We can get the whole raft if we go about it in
the right way, but we've got to be mighty smart in dealing with them, or
they'll fly the coop, and leave the laugh on us. You say she's coming
back to-morrow?"

"Yes," said Shorty, with a perceptible shiver.

"Well, I want you to fall right in with all her plans\x97both of you.
Pretend to be anxious to desert, or anything else that she may propose.
Go back home with her. I shall watch you carefully, but without seeming
to, and follow you with a squad big enough to take care of anything that
may be out there. Go back to your tent now, and think it194 all over,
and arrange some signal to let me know when you want me to jump the
outfit."

The boys went back to their tent, and spent an hour in anxious
consideration of their plans. Si saw the opportunity to render a great
service, and was eager to perform it, but he firmly refused to tell any
lies to the woman or those around her. He would not say that he was
tired of the service and wanted to desert; he would not pretend liking
for the Southern Confederacy or the rebels, nor hatred to his own
people. He would do nothing but go along, share all the dangers with
Shorty, and be ready at the moment to co-operate in breaking up the
gang.

"Some folks's so durned straight that they lean over backwards," said
Shorty impatiently. "What in thunder does it amount to what you tell
these onery gallinippers? They'll lie to you as fast as a hoss kin trot.
There's no devilment they won't do, and there kin be nothin' wrong in
anything you kin do and say to them."

"Everybody settles some things for himself," said the unchangeable Si.
"I believe them folks are as bad as they kin be made. I believe every
one o' 'em ought to be killed, and if it wuz orders to kill 'em I'd kill
without turnin' a hair. But I jest simply won't lie to nobody, I don't
care who he is. I'll stand by you until the last drop; you kin tell 'em
what you please, but I won't tell 'em nothin', except that they're a
pizen gang, and ought t've bin roastin' in brimstone long ago."

"But," expostulated Shorty, "if you only go along with me you're actin'
a lie. If you go out o' camp with mo you'll pretend to bo desertin' and
j'inin' in195 with 'em. Seems to me that's jest as bad as tellin' a lie
straight out."

"Well," said the immovable Si, "I draw the line there. I'll go along
with you, and they kin think what they like. But if I say anything to
'em, they'll git it mighty straight."

"Well, I don't know but, after all, we kin better arrange it that way,"
said Shorty, after he had thought it over in silence for some time. "I'm
sure that if you'd talk you'd give us dead away. That clumsy basswood
tongue o' your'n hain't any suppleness, and you'd be sure to blurt out
something that'd jest ruin us. An idee occurs to me. You jest go along,
look sour and say nothin'. I'll tell 'em you ketched cold the other
night and lost your speech. It'll give me a turn o' extra dooty talkin'
for two, but I guess I kin do it."

"All right," agreed Si. "Let it go that way."

"Now, look here, Si," said Shorty, in a low, mysterious tone, "I'm goin'
to tell you somethin' that I hadn't intended to. I'm scared to death
lest that old hag'll git the drop on me some way and marry me right out
of hand. I tell you, she jest frightens the life out o' me. That worries
me more'n all the rest put together. I expect I ought t 'v' told you so
at the very first."

"Nonsense," said Si contemptuously. "The idee o' you're being afeared o'
such a thing."

"It's all very well for you to snort and laugh, Si Klegg," persisted
Shorty. "You don't know her. I sneered at her, too, at first, but when I
was left alone with her she seemed to mesmerize me. I found myself
talkin' about marryin' her before I knowed196 it, and the next thing I
was on the p'int o' actually marryin' her. I believe that if she'd got
me to walk a half-mile further with her she'd a run me up agin a Justice
o' the Peace and married me in spite of all that I could do. I'd much
ruther have my head blowed off than married to that old catamount.

"Bah, you can't marry folks unless both are willin'," insisted Si. "A
man can't have a marriage rung in on him willy-nilly."

"There's just where you're shootin' off your mouth without any sense.
You don't know what you're talkin' about. Men are lassoed every day and
married to women that they'd run away from like a dog from a porcupine,
if they could. You jest look around among the married folks you know,
and see how many there are that wouldn't have married one another if
they'd bin in their senses."

"Well, I don't think o' many," said Si, whose remembrances were that the
people in Posey County seemed generally well-mated.

"Well, there mayn't be many, but there's some, and I don't propose to be
one of 'em. There's some spell or witchcraft about it. I've read in
books about things that gave a woman power to marry any man she wanted
to, and he couldn't help himself. That woman's got something o' that
kind, and she's set her eye on me. I'm goin' to meet her, and I want to
help break up her gang, but I'd a great deal rather tackle old Bragg and
his entire army. I want you to stay right by me every minnit, and keep
your eye on me when she's near me."197

"All right," said Si sleepily, as he crawled into bed.

The next morning, as they were discussing the question of signals, they
happened to pass the Sutler's, and Si caught a glimpse of packages of
firecrackers, which the regimental purveyor had, for some inscrutable
reason, thought he might sell. An idea occurred to Si, and he bought a
couple of packages, and stowed them away in his blouse pocket and told
the Captain that their firing would be the signal, unless a musket-shot
should come first.

It was yet early in the forenoon as they walked on the less-frequented
side of the camp. Shorty gave a start, and gasped:

"Jewhilikins, there she is already."

Si looked, and saw Mrs. Bolster striding toward them. Shorty hung back
instinctively for an instant, and then braced up and bade her good
morning.

She grunted an acknowledgment, and said rather imperiously:

"Y're a-gwine, air yo'?"

"Certainly," answered Shorty.

"And yo'?" she inquired, looking at Si.

"He's a-goin', too," answered Shorty. "Mustn't expect him to talk. He's
short on tongue this mornin'. Ketched a bad cold night before last.
Settled on his word-mill. Unjinted his clapper. Can't speak a word.
Doctor says it will last several days. Not a great affliction. Couldn't
've lost anything o' less account."

"Must've bin an orful cold," said she, taking her pipe from her mouth
and eyeing Si suspiciously.198

"Never knowed a cold to shut off any one's gab afore. Seems t' me that
hit makes people talk more. But these Yankees air different. Whar air
yer things? Did yo' bring plenty o' coffee?'

"We've got 'em hid down here in the brush," said Shorty. "We'll git 'em
when we're ready to start."

"We're ready now," she answered. "Come along."

"But we hain't no passes," objected Shorty. "We must go to the Captain
and git passes."

"Yo' won't need no passes," she said impatiently. "Foller me."

Shorty had expected to make the pretext about the passes serve for
informing Capt. McGillicuddy of the presence of the woman in the camp.
He looked quickly around and saw the Captain sauntering carelessly at a
little distance, so that any notification was unnecessary. He turned and
followed Mrs. Bolster's long strides, with Si bringing up the rear.

They went to the clump of brush where they had hidden their haversacks
and guns. Mrs. Bolster eagerly examined the precious package of coffee.

"I'll take keer o' this myself," she said, stowing it away about her
lanky person. "I can't afford to take no resks as to hit."

Si and Shorty had thought themselves very familiar with the campground,
but they were astonished to find themselves led outside the line without
passing under the eye of a single guard. Si looked at Shorty in
amazement, and Shorty remarked:

"Well, I'll be durned."

The woman noticed and understood. "Yo' Yanks,"199 she said scornfully,
"think yourselves moughty smart with all your book-larnin', and yo'uns
put on heaps o' airs over po' folks what hain't no eddication; but what
you don't know about Tennessee woods would make a bigger book than ever
was printed."

"I believe you," said Shorty fervently. His superstition in regard to
her was rapidly augmenting to that point where he believed her capable
of anything. He was alarmed a'bout Capt. McGillicuddy's being able to
follow their mysterious movements. But they soon came to the road, and
looking back from the top of a hill, Shorty's heart lightened as he saw
a squad moving out which he was confident was led by Capt. McGillicuddy.

But little had been said so far. At a turn of the road they came upon a
gray-bearded man, wearing a battered silk hat and spectacles, whom Mrs.
Bolster greeted as "'Squire."

The word seemed to send all the blood from Shorty's face, and he looked
appealingly to Si as if the crisis had come.

The newcomer looked them over sharply and inquired:

"Who are these men, Mrs. Bolster?"

"They'uns 's all right. They'uns 's had enough o' Abolition doin's, and
hev come over whar they'uns allers rayly belonged. This one is a
partickler friend o' mine," and she leered at Shorty in a way that made
his blood run cold.

"Hain't yo' time t' stop a minute, 'Squire?" she asked appealingly, as
the newcomer turned his horse's head to renew his journey.200

"Not now; not now," answered the 'Squire, digging his heels into his
steed's side. "I want to talk t' yo' and these 'ere men 'bout what's
gwine on in the Lincoln camps, but I must hurry on now to meet Capt.
Solomon at the Winding Blades. I'll come over to your house this
evening," he called back.

"Don't fail, 'Squire," she answered, "fur I've got a little job for yo',
an' I want hit partickerly done this very evenin'. Hit can't wait."

"I'll be there without fail," he assured her.

"Capt. Solomon's the man what sent the letter to you," she explained,
which somewhat raised Shorty's depressed heart, for he began to have
hopes that Rosenbaum might rescue him if Capt. McGillicuddy should be
behind time.

As they jogged onward farther from camp Mrs. Bolster's saturnine
earnestness began to be succeeded by what were intended to be
demonstrations of playful affection for her future husband, whom she now
began to regard as securely hers. She would draw Shorty into the path a
little ahead of Si, and walk alongside of him, pinching his arm and
jabbering incoherent words which were meant for terms of endearment.
When the narrowness of the road made them walk in single file she would
come up from time to time alongside with cuffs intended for playful
love-taps.

At each of these Shorty would cast such a look of wretchedness at Si
that the latter had difficulty in preserving his steadfast silence and
rigidity of countenance.

But the woman's chief affection seemed to be called forth by the package
of coffee. She would201 stop in the midst of any demonstration to pull
out the bag containing the fragrant berry, and lovingly inhale its odor.

It was long past noon when she announced: "Thar's my house right ahead."
She followed this up with a ringing whoopee, which made the tumbledown
cabin suddenly swarm with animation. A legion of loud-mouthed dogs
charged down toward the road. Children of various ages, but of no
variety in their rags and unkempt wildness, followed the dogs, or
perched upon the fence-corners and stumps, and three or four shambling,
evil-faced mountaineers lunged forward, guns in hand, with eyes fiercer
than the dogs, as they looked over the two armed soldiers.

"They'uns is all right, boys," exclaimed the woman. "They'uns 's plum
sick o' doggin' hit for Abe Lincoln an' quit."

"Let 'em gin up thar guns, then," said the foremost man, who had but one
eye, reaching for Shorty's musket. "I'll take this one. I've been
longin' for a good Yankee gun for a plum month to reach them Yankee
pickets on Duck River."

Though Shorty and Si had schooled themselves in the part they were to
play, the repugnant thought of giving up their arms to the rebels
threatened to overset everything. Instinctively they threw up their guns
to knock over the impudent guerrillas. The woman strode between them and
the others, and caught hold of their muskets.

"Don't be fools. Let 'em have your guns," she said, and she caught Si's
with such quick unexpectedness that she wrenched it from his grasp and
flung202 it to the man who wanted Shorty's. She threw one arm around
Shorty's neck, with a hug so muscular that his breath failed, and she
wrenched his gun away. She kept this in her hand, however.

"Now, I want these 'ere men treated right," she announced to the others,
"and I'm a-gwine to have 'em treated right, or I'll bust somebody's
skillet. They'uns is my takings, and I'm a-gwine to have all the say
'bout 'em. I've never interfered with any Yankees any o' yo'uns have
brung in. Yo've done with them as you pleased, an' I'm a-gwine to do
with these jest as I please, and yo'uns that don't like hit kin jest
lump hit, that's all."

Take Your Arm from Around That Yank's Neck 203

"'Frony Bolster, I want yo' to take yo'r arms from around that Yank's
neck," said the man who had tried to take Shorty's gun. "I won't 'low
yo' to put yo'r arm 'round another man's neck as long's I'm alive to
stop it."

"Ye won't, Jeff Hackberry," she sneered. "Jealous, air ye? You've got no
bizniss o' bein'. Done tole ye 'long ago I'd never marry yo', so long as
I could find a man who has two good eyes and a 'spectable character.
I've done found him. Here he is, and 'Squire Corson 'll splice us to-
night."

How much of each of the emotions of jealousy, disappointment, hurt
vanity, and rebel antagonism went into the howl that Mr. Jeff Hackberry
set up at this announcement will never be known. He made a rush with
clenched fists at Shorty.

A better description could be given of the operations of the center of a
tornado than of the events of the next few minutes. Shorty and Hackberry
grappled fiercely. Mrs. Bolster mixed in to stop the fight and save
Shorty. Si and the other three rebels flung themselves into the
whirlpool of strikes, kicks, and grapples. The delighted children came
rushing in, and eagerly joined the fray, striking with charming
impartiality at every opportunity to get a lick in anywhere on anybody;
and finally the legion of dogs, to whom such scenes seemed familiar and
gladsome, rushed in with an ear-splitting clamor, and jumped and bit at
the arms and legs that went flying around.204

This was too violent to last long. Everybody and everything had to stop
from sheer exhaustion. But when the stop came Mrs. Bolster was sitting
on the prostrate form of Jeff Hackberry. The others were disentangling
themselves from one another, the children and the dogs, and apparently
trying to get themselves into relation with the points of the compass
and understand what had been happening.

"Have yo' had enough, Jeff Hackberry," inquired Mrs. Bolster, "or will
yo' obleege me to gouge yer other eye out afore yo' come to yer senses?"

"Le' me up, 'Frony," pleaded the man, "an' then we kin talk this thing
over."



CHAPTER XV. SHORTY NEARLY GOT MARRIED BREAKING UP A BAD REBEL NEST IS NO
PICNIC.

WHEN physical exhaustion called a halt in the fracas, Mrs. Bolster was
seated on Jeff Hackberry's breast with her sinewy hands clutching his
long hair, and her thumb, with a cruel, long nail, pressing the ball of
his one good eye. Shorty was holding down one of the guerrillas who had
tried to climb on his back when he was grappling with Hackberry. Si had
knocked one guerrilla senseless with his gun-barrel, and now came to a
breathless standstill in a struggle with another for the possession of
his gun. The children and dogs had broken up into several smaller
stormcenters, in each of which a vicious fight was going on. In some it
was dog and dog; in some child and child, and in others dogs and
children mixed.

Then they all halted to observe the outcome of the discussion between
Mrs. Bolster and Jeff Hackberry.

"Holler 'nuff, Jeff, or out goes yer last light," commanded Mrs.
Bolster, emphasizing her words by rising a little, and then settling
down on Jeff's breast with a force that drove near every spoonful of
breath out of him.

"'Frony, le' me up," he begged in gasps.206

"Mrs. Bolster," she reminded him, with another jounce upon his chest.

"Mrs. Bolster, le' me up. I'd 'a' got away with that 'ere Yank ef ye'
hedn't tripped me with them long legs o' your'n."

"I'm right smart on the trip, aint I," she grinned. "I never seed a man
yit that I couldn't throw in any sort of a rastle."

"Le' me up, Mrs. Bolster, an le's begin over agin, an' yo' keep out,"
begged Hackberry.

"Not much I won't. I ain't that kind of a chicken," she asserted with
another jounce. "When I down a man I down him fer good, an' he never
gits up agin 'till he caves entirely. If I let yo' up, will yo' swar to
quite down peaceable as a lamb, an' make the rest do the same?"

"Never," asserted Hackberry. "I'm ergwine to have it out with that
Yank."

"No you haint," she replied with a still more emphatic jounce that made
Hackberry use all the breath left him to groan.

"I'll quit," he said, with his next instalment of atmosphere.

"Will yo' agree t' let me marry this Yank, an' t' give me away as my
oldest friend, nearest o' kin, an' best man?" she inquired, rising
sufficiently to let him take in a full breath and give a free, unforced
answer.

"Nary a time," he shrieked. "I'll die fust, afore I'll 'low yo' t' marry
ary other man but me."

"Then you'll lose yor bClinker, yo' pigheaded, likker-guzzling', ornery,
no-account sand-hill crane," she said, viciously coming down on his
chest with207 her full weight and sticking the point of hei nail against
his eye. "I wouldn't marry yo' if ye wuz the last nubbin' in the Lord
A'mighty's crib, and thar'd never be another crap o' men. Ye'll never
git no chance to make me yer slave, and beat me and starve me t' death
as yo' did Nance Brill. I ain't gwine t' fool with yer pervarsity nary a
minnit longer. Say this instant whether yo'll do as I say with a
freewill and good heart, or out goes yer peeper." "I promise," groaned
Jeff.208

"Yo' sw'ar hit?" she demanded.

"Yes, I sw'ar hit," answered Jeff.

Mrs. Bolster rose, and confirmed the contract by giving him a kick in
the side with her heavy brogan.

"That's jest a lovetap," she remarked, "'t let yo' know t' le' me alone
hereafter. Now, le's straighten things around here fer a pleasant time."

She initiated her proposed era of good feeling by a sounding kick in the
ribs of the most obstreperous of the dogs, and a slap on the face of a
12-year-old girl, who was the noisest and most pugnacious of the lot.
Each of these set up a howl, but there was a general acquiescence in her
assertion of authority.

Jeff Sat up and Rubbed Himself 208

Jeff Hackberry sat up, scratched and rubbed himself, seemed to be trying
to once more get a full supply of air in his lungs, and turned a one-
eyed glare on his surroundings. The guerrilla whom Si had knocked down
began to show signs of returning consciousness, but no one paid any
attention to him. One of the other two pulled out a piece of tobacco,
split it in two, put the bigger half in his mouth and handed the
remainder to his partner. Both began chewing meditatively and looking
with vacant eyes for the next act in the drama. Shorty regained his gun,
and he and Si looked inquiringly at one another and the mistress of the
ranch.

"Come on up t' the house," she said, starting in that direction. The
rest followed, with Si and Shorty in the lead.

The boys gazed around them with strong curiosity. The interior was like
that of the other log cabins they had seen\x97a rough puncheon floor for
the single room, a fireplace as big as a barn door, built of rough209
stones, with a hearth of undressed flat stones, upon which sat a few
clumsy cooking utensils of heavy cast-iron, three-legged stools for
chairs, a table of rough whip-sawed boards held together by wooden pins.
In two of the corners were beds made of a layer of poles resting upon a
stick supported at one end upon a log in the wall and at the other end a
forked stick driven between the puncheons into the ground below. Upon
this was a pile of beech leaves doing duty as a mattress. The bed-
clothes were a mass of ragged fabrics, sheepskins, etc., used in the
daytime for saddle-blankets and at night upon the bed. There had been
added to them, however, looking particularly good and rich in contrast
with their squalor, several blankets with "U. S." marked upon them.
Around the room were canteens, shoes, and other soldier belongings.

"Have they killed and robbed the men to whom these belonged, or merely
traded whisky for them?" was the thought that instantly flashed through
Si's and Shorty's minds. The answer seemed to be favorable to murder and
robbery. "Set down an' make yourselves at home. I'll git yo' out suthin'
t' wet yer whistles," said Mrs. Bolster, wreathing as much graciousness
as she could into her weathered-wood countenance. She apparently kicked
at the same instant a stool toward them with her left foot, and a dog
out of the way with her right, a performance that excited Shorty's
admiration.

"When I see a woman kick in different directions with both feet at the
same time, I understood how dangerous her trip would be in a rastle," he
said afterward.210

Si and Shorty shoved two of the stools so that they could sit with their
backs to the wall, still holding their guns.

The guerrillas came filing in, with an expectant look on their faces.
Even Jeff Hackberry looked more thirstily longing than wrathful. The man
who had fallen under Si's gunbarrel had gotten able to walk, was rubbing
his head and moaning with the design of attracting attention and
sympathy.

Mrs. Bolster produced a key from her pocket. The others understood what
this meant. They lifted aside some sacks of meal and shelled corn, and
revealed a puncheon which had been cut in two, and the short piece was
garnished by rude iron hinges and hasp, all probably taken from some
burned barn. The hasp was locked into the staple by one of the heavy
padlocks customary on the plantations, and this Mr. Bolster proceeded to
open with her key. When the puncheon was turned up it revealed a pit
beneath, from which she lifted a large jug of whisky. She poured some
out in a tin cup and handed it to Shorty.

"Take a big swig," she said; "hit's mouty good stuff\x97ole Jeff Thompson's
brewin' from yaller corn raised on rich bottom land."

Si trembled as he saw his partner take the cup. Shorty smelled it
appreciatively. "That is good stuff," he said. "Roses ain't nowhere
alongside."

He put the cup to his lips and took a sip.

"Tastes as good as it smells," he said, heartily, while the mouths of
the guerrillas were watering. He put the cup again to his lips, as if to
take a deep draft. Then came a short cough and a tremendous211 sputter,
followed by more painful coughing and strangling.

"Jest my infernal luck," gasped Shorty. "I would talk, an' I got some
down the wrong way.

"Lord, it's burnin' my lights out. Gi' me a drink o' water, somebody."

One of the children handed him a gourdful of water, while he continued
to cough and sputter and blame himself for talking when he was drinking.

The woman handed the cup to Si, who feared that the liquor might be
poisoned or drugged. He made a pretense of drinking, and then handed the
cup back, making motions that his throat was so sore that he could not
drink much. Mrs. Bolster looked at him suspiciously, but the clamor of
the guerillas distracted her attention, and she turned to supply them.

"No, Jeff Hackberry," she said firmly, "yo' can't have more'n two
fingers. I know yo' of old, an' jest how much yo' orter tote. Two
fingers'll make yo' comfortable an' sociable; three'll raise the devil
in yo,' an' four'll make yo' dancin' drunk, when yo'll have t' be held
down. Yo'll have jest two fingers, an' not a drap more."

"Jest another finger, 'Frony. Remember, yo've bin orful rough on me, an'
I need more. I'll promise t' be good," pleaded Hackberry.

"No, not a drap more'n two fingers now. If yo' behave yo'self I'll give
yo' another two fingers by-an'-by."

"Hackberry swallowed his portion at a thirsty gulp and sat down on the
door-sill to let it do its invigorating work. The other two guerrillas
were212 given each two fingers, and the man whom Si knocked down had his
moanings rewarded by three fingers and a liberal application in addition
to the wound on his head, which he declared was much relieved by it.

"Set your guns up agin the wall an' ack nacherul," commanded Mrs.
Bolster. "Nobody's a-gwine to hurt yo'. The 'Squire'll be here soon,
we'll git spliced, an' have a good time all around."

The noisy barking of the dogs announced the approach of someone.

"Lord, I hope that's 'Squire Corson," said Mrs. Bolster, running eagerly
to the door. "If hit's him, we kin go right ahead with the weddin'."

"If that's the 'Squire," said Shorty, in a low whisper, without turning
his head, "we'll grab our guns and fight to the death. We may clean out
this gang."

Si's attention had been in the meanwhile attracted to some boxes
concealed under the beds, and his curiosity was aroused as to what such
unusual things in a cabin might contain.

"No; hit's Capt. Sol. Simmons," said she in a tone of disappointment
mixed with active displeasure. "Now, he'll be cavortin' and tearin'
around, and wantin' t' kill somebody. I wish he wuz whar hit's a good
deal hotter."

She came over to where the boys were sitting, and said in a low tone:

"This man's allers makin' trouble, an' he's bad from his boots up. Keep
a stiff upper lip, both on yo', an' we'll try t' manage him. Don't
weaken. Hit'll do no good. He'll be wuss'n ever then."213

Si and Shorty instinctively felt for the revolvers in their pockets.

The newcomer tied his horse to a sapling and strode into the house. The
guerrillas seemed rather more fearful than otherwise to see him, but met
him with manners that were ranged from respectful by Jeff Hackberry to
absolute servility by the others. He was a burly, black-bearded man,
wearing a fairly-good uniform of a rebel Captain. His face showed that
he was a bully, and a cruel one.

He acknowledged in an overbearing way the greetings of the others, and
called out imperiously:

"'Frony, gi' me a stiff dram o' yer best at wunst. My throat's drier'n a
lime-kiln. Bin ridin' all mornin'."

"Folks wantin' likker don't say must t' me, but will yo', an' please,"
she answered sulkily.

"'Must,' 'please,' yo' hag," he said savagely. "Talk that a-way to me.
I'll 'please' yo'. I've killed two Yankees this mornin', an' I'm not in
the humor to fool around with an old pennyroyal huzzy like yo'. Gi' me
some whisky at wunst, or I'll baste yo'."

If ever Mrs. Bolster had been favorably disposed to him, she could not
endure to have him treat her this way before Shorty. She would assert
herself before him if ever.

She put her arms akimbo and retorted vigorously:

"Nary drap o' likker yo'll git from me, Sol. Simmons. Go and git yer
likker whar y're welcome. Y're not welcome here. I don't keer if yo'
have killed two Yankees or 20 Yankees. Y're allers talkin' about killin'
Yankees, but nobody never sees none that y've killed. I'm a better
Confederit than yo'214 ever dared be. I'm doin' more for the Southern
Confedrisy. Y're allers a-blowin' while I'm allers adoin.' Everybody
knows that. Talk about the two Yankees y've killed, an' which nobody's
seed, here I've brung two Yankees right outen their camps, an' have 'em
to show. More'n that, they're gwine to jine we'uns."

She indicated the two boys with a wave of her hand. Simmons seemed to
see them for the first time.

"Yankees here, an' yo' haint killed 'em," he yelled. He put his hand to
his revolver and stepped forward. The two boys jumped up and snatched
their guns, but before another move could be made Mrs. Bolster's
unfailing trip brought Simmons heavily to the floor, with his revolver
half out the holster. In an instant she sat down heavily upon him, and
laid her brawny hand upon his pistol. The dogs and children gathered
around in joyous expectation of a renewal of general hostilities. But
the dogs broke away at the scent or sight of someone approaching.

"Mebbe that's 'Squire Corson,'" said Mrs. Bolster with a renewed flush
of pleasant anticipation.

Instead, a rather, good-looking young rebel officer wearing a Major's
silver stars dismounted from his horse and, followed by two men, entered
the cabin.

"Hello, Simmons," said the Major in a tone of strong rebuke as soon as
he entered. "What in the world are you doing here? Is this the way you
carry out the General's orders? You're at your old tricks again. You
were sent out here early this morning, to capture or drive away that
Yankee picket at Raccoon Ford, so as to let Capt. Gillen come through215
with his pack-mules. I expected to meet him here and go on with him.
Your men have been waiting at the crossroads for you since daylight,
while you've been loitering around the rear. I ought to have you shot,
and you would be if I reported this to the General. You skulking whelp,
you ought to be shot. But I'll give you one more chance. It may not be
too late yet. Break for your place as fast as you can, and take these
whelps with you. I'll wait here till sundown for you. If you don't
report back to me by that time you'd better make your will. Jump now."

Mrs. Bolster had let go of Simmons as this exordium proceeded, as she
felt that he was in good hands.

As they disappeared the Major turned to Mrs. Bolster and inquired:

"Did Capt. Gillen get through with that quinine and guncaps?"

"They're thar," she said, pointing to the boxes under the beds.

"Very good. I've brought some men to take them away. We need them very
badly. Who are these men?"

Mrs. Bolster told her story about how they were tired of the Abolition
war, and had yielded to her persuasions to join the Southern army.

The Major looked them over sharply, and began a close cross-questioning
as to where they were born, what regiment they belonged to, how long
they had been in the service, what battles they had been engaged in and
on what part of the field, where their regiment now was, its brigade,
division and corps, commanders, etc., etc.216

As Shorty did not see any present occasion for lying, he had no trouble
in telling a convincing straightforward story. Si successfully worked
the loss-of-voice racket, and left the burden of conversation to his
partner.

The Major seemed satisfied, and said at the conclusion:

"Very good. I'll take you back with me when I return, and place you in a
good regiment."

This was a new and startling prospect, which was almost too much for
Shorty's self-control. For a minute he had wild thoughts of
assassinating the Major then and there, and making a run for life. But
he decided to wait a little longer and see what would develop.

If Mrs. Bolster's hue had permitted she would have turned pale at this
threatened loss of a husband and upsetting of all her plans. She merely
gulped down a lump in her throat and seemed to be thinking.

She became very attentive to the Major, and brought for his edification
a private bottle of fine old whisky. She set about preparing something
for them to eat.

Again the dogs barked, and in walked a man dressed in the fatigue
uniform of a Union soldier with the chevrons of a Sergeant. The boys
gave a start of surprise, and a great one when they saw on his cap:

A 200 Ind. Vols.

Si would have sprung up to greet him, but Shorty laid a restraining
hand, and whispered:217

"He don't belong to our regiment."

A second glance satisfied Si of this. While it is hardly possibly for a
man to know every other man in his regiment, yet in a little while there
comes something which enables him to know whether any man he meets does
or does not belong to his regiment.

The Major and Mrs. Bolster instantly recognized the newcomer.

"Awful glad to see you, Tuggers," said the Major, rising and shaking his
hand. "Did you get through without any trouble?"

"Not a bit o' trouble, thanks to you and Mrs. Bolster here. She got me
this uniform and this cap," said Tuggers, taking off the latter article
and scanning the lettering. "Rather more brass than I'm in the habit of
carrying on top of my head, no matter how much I have in my face. I got
your not giving me the positions of the Yankee regiments, for which I
suppose we must also thank Mrs. Bolster. I found them all correct. As
the 200th Ind. was the farthest out, I had no difficulty getting through
the rest of them by saying that I was on my way to my regiment. Of
course, I didn't come through the camp of the 200th Ind., but modestly
sought a byroad which Mrs. Bolster had put me onto. I've got a lot of
important letters from the mail in Nashville, among which are some
letters for the General, which I am told are highly important. I'm
mighty glad to be able to place them in your hands, and relieve myself
of the responsibility. Here they are. Thanks, I don't care if I do,
since you press me so hard,"218 said he, without change of voice, as he
handed over the letters and picked up the bottle and tin cup.

"Excuse me, Tuggers, for not asking you before," said the Major. "I was
so interested in you and your letters I forgot for the moment that you
might be thirsty. Help yourself."

"I didn't forget it," said Tuggers, pouring out a liberal dram. "Here's
to our deserving selves and our glorious Cause."

A shy girl of about eight had responded to Si's persistent
encouragement, and sidled up to him, examining his buttons and
accouterments. Si gave her some buttons he had in his pocket, and showed
her his knife and other trinkets in his pockets. The other children
began to gather around, much interested in the elaborate dumb show he
was making of his inability to speak.

Again the dogs barked. Mrs. Bolster ran to the door. "Hit's 'Squire
Corson," she exclaimed joyously, and hustled around to make extra
preparations for his entertainment.

The 'Squire entered, mopping his face with his bandana, and moving with
the deliberation and dignity consistent with his official position.

He looked at the boys with a severe, judicial eye, and gave the ominous
little cough with which he was wont to precede sentences. But he
recognized the Major and Tuggers, and immediately his attention was
centered in them. They were connected with Army Headquarters; they were
repositories of news which he could spread among his constituents. He
greeted them effusively, and was only too glad to accept their
invitation to sit down and drink. But219 he suggested, with official
prudence, that they go out in front and sit under a tree where they
could converse wore at liberty.

"Afore you go out, 'Squire," said Mrs. Bolster, with an attempt at
coyness, "I want yo' t' do a little job fer me."

Shorty's hair tried to stand on end.

"Jest wait a little, my good woman," said the 'Squire patronizingly. "I
want to talk to these gentlemen first; I kin 'tend to your matter any
time."

They lighted their pipes, and talked and talked, while Mrs. Bolster
fidgeted around in growing anxiety. Finally, as the sun was going down,
she could stand it no longer, and approached the group.

"'Squire," she said, "I'm orferly anxious to have a little job o' mine
done. 'Twon't take yo' five minits. Please 'tend to it right away."

"What is it she wants?" inquired the Major.

"I think she wants me to marry her to a Yankee deserter in there. She
whispered suthin' o' that kind to me awhile ago."

"That reminds me," said the Major; "I want you to swear those two men
into the service of the Southern Confederacy. You might as well do it
now, if you please, for I want to take them back with me and put them
into a regiment."

"That won't give much of a honeymoon to Mrs. Bolster," grinned the
'Squire.

"Well, we've all got to make sacrifices for the Cause," said the Major;
"her honeymoon'll be the sweeter for being postponed. I've had to
postpone mine."

"Well, bring the men out," said the 'Squire, pouring himself out another
drink.220

Si and Shorty had moved to the front door when Mrs. Bolster went out,
and could hear the whole conversation. They looked at one another. Their
faces were whiter than they had ever been on the field of battle.

"Take the oath of allegiance to the Southern Confederacy? Die right here
a hundred times," surged through both their hearts.

Si pulled the bunches of firecrackers from his pocket, undid them before
the children's wondering eyes. He went through a pantomime to tell them
to take a coal from the fire, run out back with them, and touch it to
the fuses.

"Take a coal, run back, and tech it to them strings," said Shorty,
forgetting himself in his excitement. "It'll be the greatest fun ye ever
saw."

"What's that y're sayin'?" said Mrs. Bolster.

"Jest talkin' to the children," said Shorty, seeing with relief the
children bolt out of the back door. He slipped his hand on his revolver,
determined to kill the 'Squire, the Major, and the other three men
before he would take a syllable of the oath.

"Come out here, men," said the Major authoritatively. Si slipped his
hand into his pocket, grasped his revolver, and walked forward very
slowly.

"Ahem," said the 'Squire, with an official cough. "Raise yer right
hands, and repeat these words after me, givin' your own names."

The other rebels took off their hats.

The dogs raised a clamor, which directed all eyes to the road. Sol
Simmons and the rest could be seen coming on a dead run.

"What does that mean?" said the Major anxiously.221

At the same instant there was a series of crashes behind the house; the
firecrackers were going off like a volley of rifle-shots. The Major
whirled around to see what that meant, and looked into the muzzle of
Shorty's revolver.

"Surrender, or I'll kill you," shouted Shorty desperately. "Don't stop a
minit. Throw up your hands, I tell you."

Si was making a similar demand on Tuggers, while the 'Squire was
standing, open-mouthed, with the first word of the oath apparently still
on his tongue.

The Major sprang at Shorty, whose bullet cut his hair. The next bullet
caught the officer in the shoulder, and he reeled and went down. Si was
not so fortunate with Tuggers, who succeeded in grappling him. Simmons
dashed by and struck Si, in passing, with his fist, which sent him to
the ground, with Tuggers on top.

The next minute the 'Squire, who was the only one who had any
opportunity to look, saw Yankees pop out of the brush and jump the
fences in a long, irregular line which immediately surrounded the house.
Capt. McGillicuddy cut down Simmons with his sword, and the rest
incontinently surrendered.

"We had got tired of waiting, and were on the point of dashing in,
anyhow, when we heard the firecrackers," said Capt. McGillicuddy, after
the prisoners had been secured and things quieted down. "That feller
that I cut down was out there with a squad and caught sight of us, and
started back this way, and I concluded to follow him up and jump the
house. Neither of you hurt, are you?"222

"Not hurt a mite," answered Shorty cheerfully, "but it's the closest
squeak I ever had. Wouldn't go through it agin for a pile o' greenbacks
big as a cornshock. Say, Cap., you've made a ten-strike today that ought
to make you a Major. That house's plum full o' contraband, and there's a
lot o' important letters there. But, say, Cap., I want you to either
kill that 'Squire or git him as fur away as possible. I ain't safe a
minnit as long as him and that woman's a-nigh me."



CHAPTER XVI. AN UNEXPECTED MARRIAGE THE BOYS CAPTURE REBELS AND
ADMINISTER THE OATH.

THE REBEL Major accepted the unexpected turn of events with soldierly
philosophy. Tuggers, captured in a blue uniform, saw the ignominious
fate of a spy loom up before his eyes. His face grew very white and set.
He sat down on a log, looked far away, and seemed oblivious to
everything around him.

Jeff Hackberry and Sol Simmons were frightened into nerveless terror,
and occasionally sighed and groaned audibly. Their men huddled together
like frightened sheep, and looked anxiously at every move of their
captors.

'Squire Corson had ventured two or three remarks in a judicial and
advisory way, but had been ordered by Capt. McGillicuddy to sit down and
keep quiet. He took a seat on a stump, pulled a large bandana out of his
beaver crowned hat, wiped his bald head, and anxiously surveyed the
scene as if looking for an opportunity when the power and dignity of the
State of Tennessee might be invoked to advantage.

Only Mrs. Bolster retained her aggressiveness and her tongue. If
anything, she seemed to be more savage and virulent than ever. She was
wild that she had been outwitted, and particularly by Si, whose fluent
speech had returned the moment the224 firecrackers went oif. She poured
out volleys of scorching epithets on all the Yankees from President
Lincoln down to Corp'l Si Klegg, and fervently invoked for them speedy
death and eternal torment where the worm dieth not and the fire is not
quenched.

Capt. McGillicuddy rounded up his prisoners, took arms from those who
still retained them, had Si and Shorty do what they could toward
dressing the Major's wound, and then began an examination of the house.

He found abundant evidence of all that he, Si and Shorty had believed of
it. It was a rendezvous for spies, both great and small\x97both those, like
Mrs. Bolster, who infested our camps, and got news of whatever was going
on there, and those who operated on a larger scale, passing directly
from the Headquarters of the rebels to the Headquarters of ours, and to
the rear, and the sources of information at Nashville and Louisville. It
was an important station on the route for smuggling gun-caps, quinine,
medicines and other contraband from the North. Quantities of these were
there waiting to be forwarded. As the source of the fighting whisky
introduced into the camp of the 200th Ind. too much was known of it to
require any further information. And it was more than probable that it
was the scene of darker crimes\x97Union soldiers lured thither under some
pretext, murdered and robbed.

"How in the world am I going to break this infernal nest up?" said Capt.
McGillicuddy, with a puzzled air, after he had ordered the whisky
destroyed and the other things gotten in shape to send225 back to camp.
"By rights, I ought to burn that house down, but that would leave all
these children without shelter. By the same token, I ought to shoot or
at least send off to prison that old she-catamount, but that would mean
starving the children to death. I declare, I don't know what to do."

He had drawn apart a little with Si and Shorty, to whom he spoke
confidentially, while casting his eyes about him as if seeking some
solution of the problem.

"If you'll allow me. Captain," said Shorty, "I've an idee. Now that
we've got the trap, let's set it agin, and see if we can't ketch some
more."

"Splendid idea. Shorty," said the Captain, catching on at once.

"And my idee," said Shorty, emboldened by the reception of his first
suggestion, "is that you take all the company but me and Si and four or
fire of the boys back to camp, leavin' us here until to-morrow at least.
There'll probably some very interestin' men happen along here to-night,
not knowing what's happened, and we'll jest quietly yank 'em in."

"That's good," assented the Captain.

"In the meantime," continued Shorty, "you kin be considerin' what you'll
do with the house. It may be best to let it stand, and watch it. That's
a good way to do with a bee-tree or a woodchuck hole.

"I believe you are right. I'll do as you say. Si, you and Shorty pick
out as many men as you want to stay with you. I'll leave one of these
horses with you. If you should happen to need any more, mount one of the
boys and send him back for help. I'll come out with the whole
company."226

Shorty and Si consulted together for a few minutes, picked out their
men, gave their names to the Captain, and received his assent to the
selection. Then Shorty said:

"Captain, you don't want to take that old woman, the 'Squire and that
skunk they call Jeff Hackberry back to camp with you, do you? Leave 'em
here with us. I've got a little scheme."

"The old woman and the 'Squire you can take and welcome," answered the
Captain. "I'll be glad to have them oif my hands. But Hackberry is a
rebel soldier. I don't know about giving him up."

"Leave him with us, then. We'll turn him back to you all right, and the
old woman and the 'Squire, too, if you want 'em."

"No," said the Captain, with an impatient wave of his hand. "Keep them,
do what you please with them. If you should accidentally kill the old
woman I should not be unduly distressed. But don't let Hackberry get
away from you. I'll take the rest back to camp, and I must start at
once, for it's getting late, and we didn't bring any rations with us. Do
you suppose you can find enough around the house to keep you till
morning?"

"O, yes," said Si. "There's a sack of meal in there and some side-meat.
We gave the old woman a lot of coffee. We'll make out all right."

The prisoners had been watching the Captain and his men with greatest
anxiety. They now saw Si with his squad take the 'Squire. Mrs. Bolster
and Hackberry off to one side, while the Captain placed the remainder of
the prisoners in the center of his company and started back to camp with
them.227

There was something in this separation that terrified even Mrs. Bolster,
who stopped railing and began to look frightened.

"What are yo'uns goin' to do with we'uns?" she inquired hoarsely of Si.

"You'll find out soon enough," said Si significantly. "Set down there on
that log and think about what you deserve. You might put in any spare
time you have in doing some big repentin'."

Hackberry began to whine and beg for mercy, but Shorty ordered him to
keep silent.

"I want you to understand," said the 'Squire, "that I'm a regerlarly
elected and qualified Magistrate o' the State o' Tennessee; that I'm not
subjeck to military laws, and if any harm comes to me you'll have to
answer for it to the State o' Tennessee."

"Blast the State o' Tennessee," said Shorty contemptuously. "When we git
through there won't be no State o' Tennessee. It'll be roasting in the
same logheap with South Caroliny and Virginny, with Jeff Davis brilin'
in the middle."

"Boys," ordered Si, "a couple of you look around the house and see if
you can't find a mattock and shovel."

Terrible fears assailed the three unhappy prisoners at this. What could
a mattock and shovel be wanted for but to dig their graves?

Shorty stepped over a little distance to a large clump of "red-sticks."
These grow in long wands of brilliant red, as straight as a corn-stalk,
and slenderer. They are much used about the farms of the South for rods
for rough measurement. He cut one off about six feet long and stripped
off its leaves.228

The anxious eyes of the prisoners followed every movement.

Two of the boys appeared with an old mattock and shovel.

"Guess you'd better dig right over there," said Si, indicating a little
bare knoll.

"Nothin' else's ever bin planted there. At least nothin's ever come up.
The chances are agin their comin' up if we plant 'em there."

"Stand up," said Shorty, approaching Hackberry with the bright crimson
rod in his hand. "I'm goin' to measure you for a grass-green suit
that'll last you till Gabriel blows his horn."

Hackberry gave a howl of terror. The 'Squire and Mrs. Bolster began a
clamor of protests.

"Don't fuss," said Shorty calmly to them, as he took Hackberry's
dimensions. "I ain't goin' to show no partiality. I'll serve you both
the same way. Your turns 'll come after his'n."

The children, aware that something unusual was going on, yet unable to
comprehend what it was, stood silently around, their fingers in their
mouths and their vacant eyes fixed in the stolid stare of the
mountaineer youth. Even the dogs were quiet, and seemed watching the
scene with more understanding than the children.

Mrs. Bolster's mood suddenly changed from bitter vituperation. She
actually burst into tears, and began pleading for her life, and making
earnest promises as to better conduct in the future. The 'Squire and
Hackberry followed suit, and blubbered like schoolboys. Mrs. Bolster
reminded Si and Shorty how she had saved them from being killed by
the229 fierce Hackberry and the still fiercer Simmons. This seemed to
move them. She tried a ghastly travesty of feminine blandishments by
telling Shorty how handsome she had thought him, and had fallen in love
with him at first sight. Shorty gave a grimace at this. He and Si
stepped back a little for consultation.

When they came back Shorty said oracularly:

"Our orders is strict, and we should've carried 'em out at once. But,
talkin' with my partner here, we're reminded o' somethin'. We believe
it's the law that when a man or woman is sentenced to death the
execution kin be put off if they kin find anybody to marry 'em. Is that
good law, 'Squire?"

"H-m-m," answered the Magistrate, resuming his judicial manner at once;
"that is a general belief, and I've heard o' some instances of it. But
before sayin' positively, I should like to examine the authorities an'
hear argument."

"Well, there hain't goin' to be no continuance in this case for you to
look up authorities and hear arguments," said Shorty decisively. "We're
the higher court in this case, and we decided that the law's good enough
for it. We've settled that if Mrs. Bolster 'll marry Hackberry, and
Hackberry 'll marry Mrs. Bolster, and you'll marry 'em both, we'll grant
a stay o' proceedings in the matter o' the execution o' the sentence o'
death until we kin be advised by the higher authorities."

"I'll do anything. Mister," blubbered Hackberry. "I'll marry her this
minnit. Say the words, 'Squire."

"I've said I'd rather die 10 times over than marry yo', Jeff Hackberry,"
murmured Mrs. Bolster. "I've280 bin the wife o' one ornery snipe of a
whisky-sucking sand-digger, and when the Lord freed me from him I said
I'd never git yoked with another. But I s'pose I've got to live for my
children, though the Lord knows the yaller-headed brats hain't wuth hit.
They're everyone of 'em their dad over agin\x97all Bolsters, and not wuth
the powder to blow 'em to kingdom come. I'd a heap ruther marry Jeff
Hackberry to make sure o' havin' him shot than to save him from
shootin'."

"You hain't no choice, Madam," said Shorty severely. "Law and orders is
strict on that pint."

"Well, then," said she, "since hit's a ch'ice betwixt death and Jeff
Hackberry, I'll take Jeff Hackberry, though I wouldn't take him on no
other terms, and I'm afeared I'm makin' a mistake as hit is."

"What do you say, 'Squire?" asked Shorty.

"I've bin studyin' on jest whar I come in," answered the Magistrate.
"These two save their necks by marryin', but do you understand that the
law says that the Magistrate who marries 'em gits his neck saved?"

"The court is not clear on that as a p'int o' law," said Shorty; "but in
the present case it'll hold that the 'Squire who does the splicin' gets
as much of a rake-off as the rest. This is not to be considered a
precedent, however."

"All right," assented the 'Squire; "let the couple jine hands."

With an air of glad relief, Hackberry sprang up and put out his hand.
Mrs. Bolster came up more slowly and reluctantly grasped his hairy fist
in her231 large, skinny hand. The 'Squire stood up before them in his
most impressive attitude.

"Hold on," suddenly called out Tom Welch, who was the "guard-house
lawyer" of Co. Q, and constantly drawing the "Regulations," the
"Tactics," and the "Constitution and Laws of the United States," in
which he was sharply proficient, upon the members of the regiment. "I
raise the point that the 'Squire can't officiate until he has taken the
oath of allegiance to the United States."

Si and Shorty looked at one another.

"That's a good point," said Si. "He's got to take the oath of
allegiance."

"Never," shouted the 'Squire, who had begun to recover his self-
confidence. "Never, as long as I live. I've sworn allegiance to the
Southern Confederacy, and won't take no other oath."

"Grave for one!" called out Shorty to the boys with the pick and shovel,
as if he were giving an order in a restaurant. "Full size, and hurry up
with it."

He picked up his measuring rod and started to take the 'Squire's
dimensions.

The 'Squire wilted at once. "I s'pose I've got to yield to force," he
muttered. "I'll take the oath."

"Who knows the oath?" inquired Si. "Do you, Tom?"

"Not exactly," replied Tom, non-plused for once. "But I know the oath we
took when mustered in. That ought to do. What's good enough for us is
good enough for him."

"Go ahead," ordered Si.

"We ought to have a Bible by rights," said Tom.232

"Where kin we find your Bible, Mrs. Bolster, asked Si.

"We'uns air done clean out o' Bibles," she said, rather shamefacedly.
"Thar hain't nary one in the house. I allers said we orter have a Bible.
Hit looked 'spectable to have one in the house. But Andy allers wanted
every cent to guzzle on."

"Here's a Testament. That'll do," said Tom, handing Si one which some of
the boys had about him. "Le's make 'em all take the oath while we're at
it."

"You'll all raise your right hands," said Si, opening the book. "Place
your left on this book, and repeat the words after that man there,
givin' your own names." Si was as solemn about it as he believed
everyone should be at such a ceremony. Hackberry and Mrs. Bolster were
not sure which were their right hands, but Si finally got them started,
and Tom Welch repeated slowly and impressively:

"You do solemnly swear to support the Constitution and laws of the
United States, and all laws made in pursuance thereof, against all
enemies and opposers whatsoever, whether foreign or domestic, and to
obey the orders of all officers duly appointed over you. So help you
God, and kiss this book."

"And to quit liquor selling, smuggling, spying and giving aid and
comfort to the enemy," added Shorty, and this was joined to the rest of
the oath.

"I ought to have added that they wash their faces once a day, and put
more shortenin' and fillin' in Mrs. Bolster's pies," said Shorty in an
undertone to233 Si. "But I suppose we oughtn't to ask impossible
things."

"Now go ahead with the wedding ceremony," ordered Si.

Again the 'Squire commanded them to join hands, and after mumbling over
the fateful words, pronounced Thomas Jefferson Hackberry and Mrs.
Sophronia Bolster man and wife.

"Now," said Shorty, who felt at last fully insured against a great
danger, "I believe it's the law and custom for all the witnesses to a
weddin' to see the bride and bridegroom in bed together. You'll go
inside the house and take one of them beds, and after we've seen you
there we'll consider your cases further. You're all right, anyway, until
we hear from camp to-morrow."

Amid the grins of the rest the boys conducted the newly-weds into the
house.

He and Si brought out the sack of meal, a few cooking utensils, a side
of bacon, and the package of coffee, which they gave to the other boys
to get supper with. They closed the door behind them, excluding the
children and dogs, and left the pair to their own reflections.

"Gentlemen, what air you gwine to do with me?" asked the 'Squire. "I'd
powerful like to git on home, if you've no further use for me."

"We hain't decided what to do with you, you old fomenter o' rebellion,"
said Si. "We ought to shoot you for what you've done in stirring up
these men to fight us. We'll settle your case to-morrow. You'll stay
with us till then. We'll give you your234 supper, and after awhile you
kin go in and sleep in that other bed, with the children."

The 'Squire gave a dismal groan at the prospect, which was lost on the
boys, who were very hungry and hurrying around helping to get supper.

They built a fine fire and cooked a bountiful meal, of which all,
including the 'Squire and children, partook heartily. A liberal portion,
with big cups of strong coffee, were sent into the bridal couple. As
bed-time drew near, they sent the 'Squire and the children into the
house, and divided themselves up into reliefs to watch during the night.



CHAPTER XVII. GATHERING INFORMATION SI AND SHORTY WORK A TRAP AND LAND
SOME PRISONERS.

THE boys were sitting around having another smoke before crawling into
their blankets, spread under the shade of the scraggly locusts and mangy
cedars, when the dogs raised an alarm.

"Get back under the shadow of the trees, boys, and keep quiet," said Si.

"Hello, the house!" came out of the darkness at the foot of the hill.

"Hello, thar' yourself," answered Shorty, imitating Mrs. Bolster's
voice.

"Hit's me\x97Brad Tingle. Don't yo' know my voice? Call off yer dogs.
They'll eat me up."

"Hullo, Brad; is that yo'? Whar'd yo' come from? Git out, thar, Watch!
Lay down, Tige! Begone, Bones! Come on up, Brad."

Shorty's imitations of Mrs. Bolster's voice and manner were so good as
to deceive even the dogs, who changed their attitude of shrill defiance
to one of fawning welcome.

"Whar'd yo' come from, Brad?" repeated Shorty as the newcomer made his
way up the narrow, stony path.

"Jest from the Yankee camps," answered the newcomer. "Me an' Jim Wyatt's
bin over thar by that236 Hoosier camp tryin' to git the drop on their
Kurnel as he was gwine t' Brigade Headquarters. We a'most had him when a
company o' Yankees that'd bin out in the country for something a'most
run over us. They'uns wuz a-nigh on top o' we'uns afore we seed
they'uns, an' then we'uns had t' scatter. Jim run one way an' me
another. I come back here t' see ef yo' had any o' the boys here. I
hearn tell that a passel o' Yankee ossifers is at a dance over at the
Widder Brewster's an' I thought we'uns might done gether they'uns in ef
we'uns went about it right."

"So you kin\x97so you kin," said Shorty, reaching out from behind the
bushes and catching him by the collar. "And to show you how, I'll jest
gether you in."

A harsh, prolonged, sibilant, far-reaching hiss came from the door of
the cabin, but came too late to warn Brad Tingle of the trap into which
he was walking.

Shorty understood it at once. He jerked Tingle forward into Si's strong
clutch, and then walked toward the cabin, singing out angrily:

"Jeff Hackberry, I want you to make that wife o' your'n mind her own
bisness, and let other people's alone. You and her've got quite enough
to do to tend to your honeymoon, without mixing into things that don't
concern you. Take her back to bed and keep her there."

He went back to where Si was disarming and searching Tingle. The
prisoner had a United States musket, cartridge-box, canteen, and a new
haversack, all of which excited Shorty's ire.237

"You hound, you," he said, taking him by the throat with a fierce grasp,
"you've bin bushwhacking, and got these things off some soldier you
sneaked onto and killed. We ought to kill you right now, like we would a
dog."

"No, Mister, I haint killed nobody; I swar t' God I haint," gurgled the
prisoner, trying to release his throat from Shorty's grip.

"Where'd you git these things?" demanded Shorty.

"Mrs. Bolster gi' me the gun an' cartridge-box; I done found the canteen
in the road, an' the poke with the letters in hit the Yank had done laid
down beside him when he stopped t' git a drink, an' me an' Jim crep' up
on him an' ordered him to surrender. He jumped an' run, an' we wuz af
eared to shoot least we bring the rest o' the Yanks down onto us."

At the mention of letters Si began eagerly examining the contents of the
haversack. He held some of them down to the light of the fire, and then
exclaimed excitedly:

"Why, boys, this is our mail. It was Will Gobright they were after."

A sudden change came over Shorty. He took the prisoner by the back of
the neck and ran him up to the door of the house and flung him inside.
Then he hastened back to the fire and said:

"Le's see them letters."

A pine-knot had been thrown on the fire to make a bright blaze, by the
light of which Si was laboriously fumbling over the letters. Even by the
flaring, uncertain glare it could be seen that a ruddy hue came into his
face as he came across one with a gorgeous flag on one end of the
envelope, and directed in a238 pinched, labored hand on straight lines
scratched by a pin. He tried to slip the letter unseen by the rest into
his blouse pocket, but fumbled it so badly that he dropped the rest in a
heap at the edge of the fire.

"Look out, Si," said Shorty crossly, and hastily snatching the letters
away from the fire. "You'll burn up somebody's letters, and then
there'll be no end o' trouble. You're clumsier'n a foundered horse. Your
fingers are all thumbs."

"Handle them yourself, if you think you kin do any better," said Si,
who, having got all that he wanted, lost interest in the rest. If Si's
fingers were all thumbs. Shorty's seemed all fists. Besides, his reading
of handwriting was about as laborious as climbing a ladder. He tackled
the lot bravely, though, and laboriously spelled out and guessed one
address after another, until suddenly his eye was glued on a postmark
that differed from the others. "Wis." first caught his glance, and he
turned the envelope around until he had spelled out "Bad Ax" as the rest
of the imprint. This was enough. Nobody else in the regiment got letters
from Bad Ax, Wis. He fumbled the letter into his blouse pocket, and in
turn dropped the rest at the edge of the fire, arousing protests from
the other boys.

"Well, if any o' you think you kin do better'n I kin, take 'em up. There
they are," said he. "You go over 'em, Tom Welch. I must look around a
little."

Shorty secretly caressed the precious envelope in his pocket with his
great, strong fingers, and pondered as to how he was going to get an
opportunity to read the letter before daylight. It was too sacred239 and
too sweet to be opened and read before the eyes of his unsympathetic,
teasing comrades, and yet it seemed an eternity to wait till morning. He
stole a glance out of the corner of his eye at Si, who was going through
the same process, as he stood with abstracted air on the other side of
the fire. The sudden clamor of the dogs recalled them to present duties.

"Hullo, the house!" came out of the darkness.

"Hullo, yourself!" replied Shorty, in Mrs. Bolster's tones.

"It's me\x97Groundhog. Call off yer dogs."

Si and Shorty looked startled, and exchanged significant glances.
"Needn't 've told it was him," said Shorty. "I could smell his breath
even this far. Hullo, Groundhog," he continued in loud tones. "Come on
up. Git out, Watch! Lay down, Tige! Begone, Bones! Come on up,
Groundhog. What's the news?"

A louder, longer, more penetrating hiss than ever sounded from the
house. Shorty looked around angrily. Si made a break for the door.

"No, I can't come up now," said Groundhog; "I jest come by to see if
things wuz all right. A company went out o' camp this mornin' for some
place that I couldn't find out. I couldn't git word t' you, an' I've bin
anxious 'bout whether it come this way."

"Never tetched us," answered Shorty, in perfect reproduction of Mrs.
Bolster's accents. "We'uns is all right."

The hissing from the cabin became so loud that it seemed impossible for
Groundhog not to hear it.240

"Blast it, Si, can't you gag that old guinea-hen," said Shorty, in a
savage undertone.

Si was in the meanwhile muttering all sorts of savage threats at Mrs.
Bolster, the least of which was to go in and choke the life out of her
if she did not stop her signalling.

"Glad t' hear it," said Groundhog. "I was a leetle skeery all day about
it, an' come out as soon's I could. Have yo' seed Brad Tingle?"

"Yes; seen him to-day."

"D' yo' know whar he is? Kin yo' git word to him quick?"

"Yes, indeed; right off."

"Well, send word to him as soon as you kin, that I've got the mules
ready for stampedin' an' runnin' off at any time, an' waitin' for him.
The sooner he kin jump the corral the better. To-night, if he kin, but
suttinly not later'n to-morrer night. Be sure and git word to him by
early to-morrer mornin' at the furthest."

"I'll be sure t' git word t' him this very night," answered the
fictitious Mrs. Bolster.

"Well, good-night. I must hurry along, an' git back afore the second
relief goes off. All my friends air on it. See yo' ter-morrer, if I
kin."

"You jest bet you'll see me to-morrow," said Shorty grimly, as he heard
Groundhog's mule clatter away. "If you don't see me the disappointment
'll come nigh breaking my heart. Now I'll go in and learn Mr. and Mrs.
Hackberry how to spend the first night o' their wedded lives."

"I don't keer ef yo' do shoot me. I'd a heap ruther be shot than not,"
she was saying to Si as Shorty241 came up. "I've changed my mind sence
I've bin put in here. I'd a heap ruther die than live with Jeff
Hackberry."

"Never knowed married folks to git tired o' one another so soon,"
commented Shorty. "But I should've thought that Jeff' d got tired first.
But this it no time to fool around with fambly jars. Look here, Jeff
Hackberry, you must make that wife o' yourn keep quiet. If she tries to
give another signal we'll tie you up by the thumbs now, besides shoot
you in the mornin'."

"What kin I do with her?" whined Jeff.

"Do with her? You kin make her mind. That's your duty. You're the head
o' the fambly."

"Head o' the fambly?" groaned Jeff, in mournful sarcasm. "Mister, you
don't seem to be acquainted with 'Frony.

"Head o' the fambly," sneered his wife. "He aint the head o' nothin'.
Not the head o' a pin. He haint no more head'n a fishworm."

"Look here, woman," said Shorty, "didn't you promise to love, honor and
obey him?"

"No, I didn't nuther. I said I'd shove, hammer an' belay him. Hit's none
o' yer bizniss, nohow, yo' sneakin' Yankee' what I do to him. You hain't
no call t' mix betwixt him an' me. An' my mouth's my own. I'll use hit
jest as I please, in spite o' yo' an' him, an' 40 others like yo'. Hear
that?"

"Well, you git back into that bed, an' stay there, and don't you dare
give another signal, or I'll buck-and-gag you on your wedding-night."

"Don't you dar tetch me," she said menacingly.

"I aint goin' to tech you. I'm too careful what I242 touch. But I'll tie
you to that bed and gag you, if you don't do as I say. Get back into bed
at once."

"I ain't gwine t', and yo' can't make me," she said defiantly.

"Take hold of her, Jeff," said Shorty, pulling out his bayonet and
giving that worthy a little prod.

Jeff hesitated until Shorty gave him a more earnest prod, when he
advanced toward his wife, but, as he attempted to lay his hands on her
shoulders, she caught him, gave him a quick twist and a trip, and down
he went; but he had clutched her to save himself from falling, and
brought her down with him. Shorty caught her elbows and called to Si to
bring him a piece of cord, with which he tied her arms. Another piece
bound her ankles. She lay on the floor and railed with all the vehemence
of her vicious tongue.

"Pick her up and lay her on the bed there," Shorty ordered Jeff. Jeff
found some difficulty in lifting the tall, bony frame, but Shorty gave
him a little help with the ponderous but agile feet, and the woman was
finally gotten on the bed.

"Now, we'll gag you next, if you make any more trouble," threatened
Shorty. "We don't allow no woman to interfere with military operations."

They had scarcely finished this when the dogs began barking again, and
Si and Shorty hurried out. The operations in the house had rather heated
them, the evening was warm, and Shorty had taken off his blouse and
drawn it up inside of his belt, in the rear.

The noise of the dogs betokened the approach of something more than
usual visitors. Through the clamor the boys' quick ears could detect the
clatter243 of an ominous number of hoofs. The other boys heard it, too,
and were standing around, gun in hand, waiting developments.

"Hullo, dere, de house!" came in a voice Si and Shorty dimly recognized
having heard somewhere before.

"Hullo, yourself," answered Shorty. "Who air yo?"243

"I'm Capt. Littles," came back above the noise of barking. "Call off
your togs. I'm all righdt. Is it all right up dere?"

"Yes. Lay down. Watch! Git out, Tige!" Shorty started to answer, when he
was interrupted by the apparition of Mrs. Bolster-Hackberry flying out
of the door, and yelling at the top of her voice:

"No, hit ain't all right at all. Captain. The Yankees 've got us. Thar's
a right smart passel o' 'em here, with we'uns prisoners. Jump 'em, if
you' kin. If yo' can't, skeet out an' git enough t' down 'em an' git us
out."

Si and Shorty recognized that the time for words was passed. They
snatched up their guns and fired in the direction of the hail. The other
boys did the same. There was a patter of replying shots, aimed at the
fire around which they had been standing, but had moved away from.

Apparently, Capt. Littles thought the Yankees were in too great force
for him to attack, for his horses could be heard moving away. The boys
followed them with shots aimed at the sound. Si and Shorty ran down
forward a little ways, hoping to get a better sight. The rebels halted,
apparently244 dis mounted, got behind a fence and began firing back at
intervals.

Si and Shorty fired from the point they had gained, and drew upon
themselves quite a storm of shots.

"Things look bad," said Si to Shorty. "They've halted there to hold us
while they send for reinforcements. We'd better go back to the boys and
get things in shape. Mebbe we'd better send back to camp for help."

"We'll wait till we find out more about 'em," said Shorty, as they moved
back. They had to cross the road, upon the white surface of which they
stood out in bold contrast and drew some shots which came uncomfortably
close.

The other boys, after a severe struggle, had caught Mrs. Bolster-
Hackberry and put her back in the cabin. After a brief consultation, it
was decided to hold their ground until daylight. They could get into the
cabin, and by using it as a fortification, stand off a big crowd of
enemies. The rest of the boys were sent inside to punch out loop-holes
between the logs, and make the place as defensible as possible. Si and
Shorty were to stay outside and observe.

"I've got an idee how to fix that old woman," said Shorty suddenly.

"Buck-and-gag her?" inquired Si.

"No; we'll go in there and chuck her down that hole where she kept her
whisky, and fasten the hasp in the staple."

"Good idee, if the hole will hold her."

"It's got to hold her. We can't have her245 rampaging round during the
fight. I'd rather have a whole company o' rebels on my back."

They did not waste any words with the old woman, but despite her yells
and protests Si took hold of one shoulder Shorty the other, and forced
her down in the pit and closed the puncheon above her.

They went out again to reconnoiter. The enemy was quiet, apparently
waiting. Only one shot, fired in the direction of the fire, showed that
they were still there.

Shorty suddenly bethought him of his blouse, in the pocket of which was
the precious letter. He felt for it. It was gone. He was stunned.

"I remember, now," he said to himself, "it was working out as I ran, and
it slipped down as I climbed the fence."

He said aloud:

"Si, I've lost my blouse. I dropped it down there jest before we crossed
the road. I'm goin' to get it."

"Blast the blouse," said Si; "let it be till mornin'. You need something
worse'n a blouse to-night. You'll ketch a bullet sure's you're alive if
you try to go acrost that road agin. They rake it."

"I don't care if they do," said Shorty desperately. "I'd go down there
if a battery raked it. There's a letter in the pocket that I must have."

Si instinctively felt for the letter in his own pocket. "Very well," he
said, "if you feel as if you must go I'll go along."

"No, you sha'n't. You stay here in command; it's your duty. You can't
help if you do go. I'll go alone. I'll tell you what you might do,
though. You might go over there to the left and fire on 'em, as if246 we
wuz feelin' around that way. That'll draw some o' their attention."

Si did as suggested.

Shorty crept back to the point they had before occupied. The rebels saw
him coming over a httle knoll, and fired at him. He ran for the fence.
He looked over at the road, and thought he saw the blouse lying in the
ditch on the opposite side. He sprang over the fence and ran across the
road. The rebels had anticipated this and sent a volley into the road.
One bullet struck a small stone, which flew up and smote Shorty's cheek
so sharply that he reeled. But he went on across, picked up the blouse,
found the dear letter, and deliberately stopped in the road until he
transferred it to the breast of his shirt. Then he sprang back over the
fence, and stopped there a moment to rest. He could hear the rebel
Captain talking to his men, and every moment the accents of the voice
became more familiar.

"Don't vaste your shods," he was saying. "Don'd vire undil you sees
somedings to shood ad, unt den vire to hid. See how many shods you haf
alretty vired mitout doing no goot. You must dink dat ammunition's as
blenty as vater in de Southern Confederacy. If you hat as much druble as
I haf to ket cartridges you vould pe more garcful of dem."

Capt. Littles was Rosenbaum, the Jew spy, masquerading in a new role.
Shorty's heart leaped. Instantly he thought of a way to let Rosenbaum
know whom he had run up against.

"Corporal Si Klogg!" he called out in his loudest tones.

"What is it, Shorty?" answered the wondering Si.247

"Don't let any more o' the boys shoot over there to the left. That's the
way Capt. McGillicuddy's a-comin' in with Co. Q. I think I kin see him
now jest raisin' the hill. Yes, I'm sure it's him."

The next instant he heard the rebel Captain saying to his men:

"Boys, dey're goming up in our rear. Dey're de men ve saw a liddle vhile
ago. De only vay is to mount unt make a rush past de house. All mount
unt vollow me as vast as dey gan."

There was a gallop of horsemen up the road, and they passed by like the
wind, while Si and Shorty fired as fast as they could load\x97Shorty over
their heads. Si at the noise. Just opposite the house the Captain's
horse stumbled, and his rider went over his head into a bank of weeds.
The rest swept on, not heeding the mishap.

"Surrender, Levi," said Shorty, running up.

"Certainly, my tear poy," said Rosenbaum. "Anyding dat you vant. How are
you, any vay? Say, dat vas a nead drick, vasn't it? Haf your horse
sdumble unt trow you jest ad de righd dime unt place? It dook me a long
dime to deach my horse dot. I'm mighty glat to see you."

248



CHAPTER XVIII. THE JEW SPY AGAIN MR. ROSENBAUM RECITES A THRILLING
EXPERIENCE.

"HIST, boys, don't talk friendly to me out loud," said the prudent
Rosenbaum. "What's happened? I know you have got the house. I have been
expecting for a long time that there would be a raid made upon it. What
the devil is that saying you have: 'It's a long worm that don't have a
turn.' No; that isn't it. 'It's an ill lane that blows nobody no good.'
No; that's not it, neither. Well, anyway, Mrs. Sophronia unt her crowd
got entirely too bold. They played too open, unt I knew they'd soon get
ketched. Who did you get in the house?"

Si started to call over the names, and to recite the circumstances, but
as he reached that of Brad Tingle, Rosenbaum clutched him by the arm and
said earnestly:

"Hold on. Tell me the rest after a while. I'm afraid of that man. He's
come pretty near getting on to me several times already. He's listening
now, unt he'll be sure to suspect something if he don't hear you
treating me as you did the others. Begin swearing at me as you did at
the rest."

Si instantly took the hint.

"I'll stand no more foolishness," he called out249 angrily. "If you
don't surrender at once I'll blow your rebel head off."

"I have to give up," Rosenbaum replied in an accent of pain, "for I
believe I broke my leg when I fell. I find I can't stand up."

"Give up your arms, then, and we'll help you up to the fire, and see how
badly you're hurt," said Si.

Rosenbaum gave groans of anguish as Si and Shorty picked him up and
carried him over to the fire.

"Now we're out of ear-shot o' the house," said Si, as they deposited him
on the opposite side, and somewhat behind a thicket of raspberries, "and
we can talk. Where did you come from this time, Levi?"

"Straight from General Bragg's Headquarters at Tullahoma, and I have got
information that will make General Rosecrans's heart jump for joy. I
have got the news he has been waiting for all these weeks to move his
army. I have got the number of Bragg's men, just where they are
stationed, and how many is at each place. I'm crazy to get to General
Rosecrans with the news. I have been cavorting around the country all
day trying some way to get in, unt at my wits' ent, for some of the men
with me had their suspicions of me, unt wouldn't have hesitated to shoot
me, if they didn't like the way I was acting. To tell the truth, it's
been getting pretty hot for me over there in the rebel lines. Too many
men have seen me in Yankee camps. This man. Brad Tingle, has seen me
twice at General Rosecrans's Headquarters, unt has told a lot of stories
that made much trouble. I think that this is the last250 visit I'll pay
General Bragg. I'm fond of visiting, but it rather discourages me to be
so that I can't look at a limb running out from a tree without thinking
that it may be where they will hang me."

"Excuse me from any such visitin'," said Si sympathetically. "I'd much
rather stay at home. I've had 12 or 15 hours inside the enemy's lines,
playin' off deserter, and I've had enough to last me my three years.
I'll take any day o' the battle o' Stone River in preference. I ain't
built for the spy business in any shape or form. I'm plain, out-and-out
Wabash prairie style\x97everything above ground and in sight."

"Well, I'm different from you," said Shorty. "I own up that I'm awfully
fond o' a game o' hocuspocus with the rebels, and tryin' to see which
kin thimble-rig the other. It's mighty excitin' gamblin' when your own
head's the stake, an' beats poker an' faro all holler. But I want the
women ruled out o' the game. Never saw a game yit that a woman wouldn't
spile if she got her finger in."

"Mrs. Bolster came mighty near marrying him, and he's pale yet from the
scare," Si explained.

"Yes," said Shorty frankly. "You'll see I'm still while all around the
gills. Never wuz so rattled in my life. That woman's a witch. You could
only kill her by shooting her with a silver bullet. She put a spell on
me, sure's you're a foot high. Lord, wouldn't I like to be able to
manage her. I'd set her up with a faro-bank or a sweat-board, and she'd
win all the money in the army in a month."

"Yes, she's a terror," accorded Rosenbaum. "She251 made up her mind to
marry me when I first come down here. I was awfully scared, for I was
sure she saw through me sharper than the men did, and would marry me or
expose me. But I got some points on her about poisoning a neighboring
woman that she hated unt was jealous of, unt then I played an immediate
order from General Bragg to me to report to his Headquarters. But it
took all the brains I had to keep her off me."

"She's safe now from marryin' anybody for awhile," said Shorty, and he
related the story of her nuptials, which amused Rosenbaum greatly.

"But you have signed Jeff Hackberry's death warrant," he said. "If he
tries to live with her she'll feed him wild parsnip, unt he'll get a
house of red clay, that you put the roof on with a shovel. It'll be no
great loss. Jeff ain't worth in a year the bread he'll eat in a day."

"She may be smothered in that hole," Shorty bethought himself. "I guess
we'd better let her out for awhile."

"Yes," said Rosenbaum. "She can't do no harm now. Nobody else will come
this way to-night. The men that were with me will scatter the news that
the house is in Yankee hands. They think there's a big force here, unt
so we won't be disturbed till morning."

"Then I'll go in and let her out," said Shorty.

The other inmates of the cabin were asleep when he entered, but they
waked up, and begged him not to let the woman out until morning.

"Keep her in there till daylight," said 'Squire Corson, "and then
restore me to my home and functions,252 and I'll call out a posse
comitatus, and have her publicly ducked, according to the laws of the
land, as a common scold. I've never heard such vile language as she
applied to me when I gave her the advice it was my duty to give to live
in peace and quietness with her husband. That there woman's a Niagary of
cuss words and abuse."

"If yo' let her out, take me outside with yo'," begged Jeff Hackberry.
"She'll kill me, sho', if I've to stay in here till mornin' with her.
She begun by flingin' a bag o' red pepper in my face, and set us all to
sneezin' until I thought the 'Squire'd sneeze his durned head off. Then
she jobbed me with a bayonet, and acted as no woman orter act toward her
lawful husband, no matter how long they'd bin married, let alone their
weddin' night."

"Sorry, but it's agin all my principles to separate man and wife," said
Shorty, as he moved to the puncheon trap-door and undid the hasp. "You
took her for better or worse, and it's too early in the game to complain
that you found her a blamed sight worse than you took her for. You're
one now, you know, and must stay that way until death do you part."

Shorty lifted up the trap-door, and Si helped the woman out with some
difficulty. They expected a torrent of abuse, but she seemed limp and
silent, and sank down on the floor. The boys picked her up and laid her
on the bed beside Jeff Hackberry. "She's fainted; she's dead. She's bin
sufferkated in that hole," said Jeff.

"No, yo' punkin-headed fool," she gasped. "I hain't dead, nor I hain't
fainted, nor I hain't253 sufferkated. Yo'll find out when I git my wind
back a little, I'm so full o' mad an' spite that I'm done tuckered clean
out. I'm clean beat, so clean beat that I hain't no words to fit the
'casion. I've got t' lay still an' think an' gether up some."

"She's comin' to, Shorty," said Si. "It'll be pleasanter outside."

"You say you have been having unusually exciting times," said Si to
Rosenbaum, as the boys again seated themselves by the fire.

"Veil, I should say so," replied Rosenbaum with emphasis. "Do you know
that General Bragg is the very worst man that ever lived?"

"All rebels are bad," said Shorty oracularly. "But I suppose that some
are much worse than others. I know that the private soldiers are awful,
and I suppose the higher you go the wuss they are. The Corporals are
cussider than the privates, the Sergeants can give the Corporals points
in devilishness, and so it goes on up until the General commanding an
army must be one of the devil's favorite imps, while Jeff Davis is Old
Horney's junior partner."

"No; it isn't that," said Rosenbaum. "I've known a good many rebel
Generals, unt some of them ain't really bad fellers, outside of their
rebelness. But old Bragg is a born devil. He has no more heart than a
rattlesnake. He actually loves cruelty. He'd rather kill men than not.
I've seen plenty of officers who were entirely too willing to shoot men
for little or nothing. General Bragg is the only man I ever saw who
would shoot men for nothing at all\x97just 'for example,' as he says, unt
to make the others254 afraid unt ready to obey him. He coolly calculates
to shoot so many every month. If they've done anything to deserve it,
all right. If they hain't, he shoots them all the same, just to
'preserve discipline.'"

Si and Shorty uttered exclamations of surprise at this cold-blooded
cruelty.

"I know it's hard to believe," said Rosenbaum, "but it's true all the
same, as anybody around his Headquarters will tell you. Jeff Davis knows
it unt approves it. He is the same kind of a man as General Bragg\x97no
more heart than a tiger, I have seen a good deal of the inside of the
rebel army, unt General Bragg is the coldest-blooded, cruelest man in it
or in the whole world. It's true that the men he orders shot are
generally of no account, like our man Jeff Hackberry\x97but it's the
principle of the thing that shocks me. He just takes a dislike to the
way a man looks or acts, or the way he parts his hair, looks at him with
his steely-gray eyes, unt says coldly: 'Put him in the bull-pen.' In the
bullpen the poor devil goes, unt the next time General Bragg gets an
idea that the discipline of the army is running down, unt he must
stiffen it up with a few executions, he orders all the men that happen
to be in the bull-pen taken out unt shot."

"Without any trial, any court-martial, any evidence against them?"
gasped Si.

"Absolutely without anything but General Bragg's orders. It is like you
read of in the books about those Eastern countries where the Sultan or
other High-muk-a-muk says, 'Cut that man's head off,' unt the man's head
is cut off, unt no questions asked.255 unt no funeral ceremonies except
washing up the blood."

"Lucky for you, Levi," said Shorty, "that he didn't have any of the
common prejudices against Jews, and slap you in the bull-pen."

"O, but he did," said Rosenbaum. "He hated a Jew worse than any man I
ever met. Unt it brought me so near death that I actually watched them
digging my grave.

"While I had my ups unt downs, unt some very narrow escapes," continued
Rosenbaum, "when I first went inside Bragg's lines, I got along very
well generally. I played the peddler unt smuggler for the Southern
Confederacy in great shape, unt run them through a lot of gun-caps,
quinine, medicines, unt so so on, unt brought in a great deal of
information which they found to be true. Some of dis General Rosecrans
gave me himself, for he is smart enough to know that if he wants his
Secret Service men to succeed he must give them straight goods to carry
to the enemy.

"I brought in exact statements of what divisions, brigades unt regiments
were at this place unt that place, how many men was in them, who their
commanders were, unt so on. General Rosecrans would have these given me.
It helped him in his plans to know just what information was reaching
the enemy, for he knew just how old Bragg would act when he had certain
knowledge. If he knew that Sheridan with 6,000 men was at this place,
with Tom Wood 10 miles away with 6,000 more, he would do a certain
thing, unt Rosecrans would provide for it. The news that I brought in
the rebels could test by256 the reports they got from others, unt they
always found mine correct.

"My work pleased the rebel Generals so well that they made me a Captain
in their army, transferred me from Brigade Headquarters to Division, unt
then to Corps Headquarters. I was given command of squads of scouts. I
can draw very well, unt I made good maps of the country unt the roads,
with the positions of Yankee unt rebel forces. This was something that
the other rebel spies could not do, unt it helped me lots. I was careful
to make copies of all these maps, unt they got to General Rosecrans's
Headquarters.

"The other rebel spies got very jealous of me because I was promoted
over them, unt they laid all sorts of plans to trip me up. They came
awful near catching me several times, but I was too smart for them, unt
could outwit them whenever I got a pointer as to what they were up to.
Once they watched me go to a hollow sycamore tree, which I used as a
postoffice for Jim Jones to get the things I wanted to send to General
Rosecrans. They found there maps I had made at Shelbyville, with the
positions of the rebel un Yankee forces unt the fortifications all
shown.

"That was an awful close call, unt I could feel the rope tightening
around my neck. But I kept my nerve, unt told a straight story. I said
that that tree was my regular office where I kept lots of things that I
was afraid to carry around with me when I was in danger of falling into
the Yankee hands, as I was every day when I was scouting. Luckily for me
I had some other private things unt a lot of257 Confederate money hid
there, too, which I showed them. They didn't more than half believe my
story, but they led me off, probably because they needed me so bad.

"I saw that the thing was only skimmed over, unt was ready to break out
again any minute worse than ever, unt I kept my eyes peeled all the
time. That's one reason why you have not seen me for so long. I didn't
dare send General Rosecrans anything or go near outside the rebel lines.
I had to play very good, but I kept gathering up information for the day
when I should make a final break unt leave the rebels for good.

"A week ago I was ordered to go up to General Bragg's Headquarters to
help them with their maps unt reports. They had nobody there that could
do the work, unt Jeff Davis, who always wants to know everything about
the armies, was bunching them up savagely for full information. He
wanted accurate statements about the Yankee strength unt positions, unt
about the rebel strength unt positions, to see if he couldn't do
something to pull the Yankees off of Pemberton at Vicksburg. Bragg's
Adjutant-General sent word through all the army for to find good rapid
penmen unt map-makers, unt I was sent up.

"The Adjutant-General set me to work under a fly near Headquarters, unt
he was tickled almost to death with the way I did my work. Old Bragg
himself used to walk up unt down near, growling unt cussing unt swearing
at everything unt everybody. Once or twice the Adjutant-General called
his attention to my work. Old Bragg just looked it over, grunted, unt
bored me through unt through with258 those sharp, cold, gray eyes of
his. But I thought I was safe so long as I was at Headquarters, unt I
gave a great stiff to other Secret Service men who had been trying to
down me.

Old Bragg Used to Walk up Unt Down, Growling Unt Cussing. 259

"One morning old Bragg was in an awful temper\x97the worst I had ever seen.
Every word unt order was a cruelty to somebody. Finally, up comes this
Brad Tingle that you have inside. He is a sort of a half-spy\x97not brains
enough to be a real one, but with a good deal of courage unt activity to
do small work. He had been sent by General Cheatham to carry some papers
unt make a report. Whatever it was, it put old Bragg in a worse temper
than ever. Brad Tingle happened to catch sight of me, unt he said in a
surprised way:

"'Why, there's that Jew I saw sitting in General Rosecrans's tent
talking to him, when I was playing off refugee Tennesseean in the Yankee
camps.'

"'What's that? What's that, my man?' said old Bragg, who happened to
overhear him.

"Brad Tingle told all he knew about me. Old Bragg turned toward me unt
give me such a look. I could feel those cold, cruel eyes boring straight
through me.

"'Certainly he is a Jew, unt one of old Rosecrans's best spies,' he
said. 'Old Rosecrans is a Jew, a Dutch Jew, himself. I knowed him well
in the old army. He's got a regular Jew face. He plays off Catholic, but
that is to hide his Jewishness. He can't do it. That hook nose'd give
him away if nothing else did, unt he has got enough else. He likes to
have Jews about him, because he understands them better than he does
white people, unt259 particularly he is fond of Jew spies. He can trust
them where nobody else can. They'll be true to him because he is a Jew.
Put that man in the bull-pen, unt shoot him with the rest to-morrow
morning.' "'Heavens,' gasped the Adjutant-General; 'he is260 by far the
best man I ever had. I can't get along without him.'

"'You must get along without him,' said old Bragg. 'I'm astonished at
you having such a man around. Where in the world did you pick him up?
But it's just like you. How in God's name Jeff Davis expects me to
command an army with such makeshifts of staff officers as he sends me, I
don't know. He keeps the best for old Lee unt sends me what nobody
else'll have, unt then expects me to win battles against a better army
than the Army of the Potomac. I never got a staff officer that had
brains once.'

"A Sergeant of the Provost Guard, who was a natural beast, unt was kept
by old Bragg because he was glad to carry out orders to murder men,
caught hold of me by my shoulder unt run me down to the bull-pen,
leaving the Adjutant-General with forty expressions on his angry face.

"My goodness, my heart sunk worse than ever before when I heard the door
shut behind me. There were 30 or 40 others in the bull-pen. They were
all lying around\x97dull, stupid, sullen, silent, unt hopeless. They hardly
paid any attention to me. I sat down on a log, unt my heart seemed to
sink clear out of me. For the first time in my life I couldn't see the
slightest ray of hope. Through the cracks in the bull-pen I could see
the fresh graves of the men who had already been shot, unt while I
looked I saw a squad of niggers come out unt begin digging the graves of
those who were to be shot to-morrow. I could see rebel soldiers unt
officers passing by, stop unt look a moment at the graves, shrug
their261 shoulders, unt go on. It froze my blood to think that tomorrow
they would be looking at my grave that way. After a while a man came in
unt gave each one of us a piece of cornbread unt meat. The others ate
theirs greedily, but I could not touch it. Night came on, unt still I
sat there. Suddenly the door opened, unt the Adjutant-General came in
with a man about my size and dressed something like me. As he passed he
caught hold of my arm in a sort of way that made me understand to get up
unt follow behind him, I did so at once without saying a word. I walked
behind him around the bull-pen until we came back to the door, when the
guard presented arms, unt he walked out, with me still behind him,
leaving the other man inside. After we had gone a little way he stopped
unt whispered to me:

"'The General had to go off in a hurry toward War Trace this afternoon.
He took the Provost-Sergeant unt part of his staff with him, but I had
to be left behind to finish up this work. I can't get anybody else to do
it but you. I'm going to take you over to a cabin, where you'll be out
of sight. I want you to rush that work through as fast as the Lord'll
let you. After you get it done you can go where you damned please, so
long as you don't let the General set eyes on you. I've saved your life,
unt I'm going to trust to your honor to play fair with me. Help me out,
do your work right, unt then never let me see you again.'

"Of course, I played fair. I asked no questions, you bet, about the poor
devil he had put in my place. I worked all that night unt all the next
day getting his papers in the best possible shape, unt in making262
copies of them for General Rosecrans, which I stuck behind the chimney
in the cabin. Along in the morning I heard the drums beating as the men
were marched out to witness the execution. It made my heart thump a
little, but I kept on scratching away with my pen for hfe unt death.
Then the drums stopped beating for a while, unt then they begun again.
Then I heard a volley that made me shiver all over. Then the drums beat
as the men were marched back to their camps. If I had had time to think
I should have fainted. Towards evening I had got everything in first-
class shape. The Adjutant-General came in. He looked over the papers in
a very satisfied way, folded them up, checked off from a list a
memorandum of the papers he had given me to copy unt compile, unt saw
that I had given them all back to him. Then he looked me straight in the
eye unt said:

"'Now, Jew, there's no use of my saying anything to you. You heard that
volley this morning, unt understood it. Never let me or the General lay
eyes on you again. You have done your part all right, unt I mine. Good-
by.'

"He took his papers unt walked out of the cabin. As soon as he was gone
I snatched the copies that I had hidden behind the chimney, stuck them
here unt there in my clothes, unt started for the outer lines.

"I made my way to a house where I knew I'd find some men who had scouted
with me before. I knew they might be suspicious of me, but I could get
them to go along by pretending to have orders from Headquarters for a
scout. I got to the house by morning, found some of them there, gathered
up some more263 unt have been riding around all day, looking at the
Yankee lines, unt trying to find some way to get inside. I'm nearly dead
for sleep, but I must have these papers in General Rosecrans's hands
before I close my eyes."

"Your horse is all right, isn't he?" asked Shorty.

"Yes, I think so," answered Rosenbaum.

"Well, we have a good horse here. I'll mount him and go with you to
camp, leaving Si and the rest of the boys here. I can get back to them
by daylight."

So it was agreed upon.

Day was just breaking when Shorty came galloping back.

"Turn out, boys!" he shouted. "Pack up, and start back for camp as quick
as you kin. The whole army's on the move."

"What's happened, Shorty?" inquired Si, as they all roused themselves
and gathered around.

"Well," answered Shorty, rather swelling with the importance of that
which he had to communicate, "all I know is that we got into camp a
little after midnight, and went direct to Gen. Rosecrans's Headquarters.
Of course, the old man was up; I don't believe that old hook-nosed
duffer ever sleeps. He was awful glad to see Rosenbaum, and gave us both
great big horns o' whisky, which Rosenbaum certainly needed, if I
didn't, for he was dead tired, and almost flopped down after he handed
his papers to the General. But the General wanted him to stay awake, and
kept plying him with whisky whenever he would begin to sink, and, my
goodness, the questions he did put at that poor Jew.264

"I thought we knowed something o' the country out here around us, but,
Jerusalem, all that we know wouldn't make a primer to Rosecrans's Fifth
Reader. How were the bridges on this road? Where did that road lead to?
How deep was the water in this creek? How many rebels were out there?
Where was Bragg's cavalry? Where's his reserve artillery? And so on,
until I thought he'd run a seine through every water-hole in that Jew's
mind and dragged out the last minner in it. I never heard the sharpest
lawyer put a man through such a cross-examination.

"Rosenbaum was equal to everything asked him, but it seemed to me that
Gen. Rosecrans knowed a great deal more about what was inside the rebel
lines than Rosenbaum did. All this time they was goin' over the papers
that Rosenbaum brung, and Old Rosey seemed tickled to death to git 'em.
He told Rosenbaum he'd done the greatest day's work o' his life and made
his fortune.

"In the meantime the whole staff had waked up and gathered in the tents,
and while the General was pumpin' Rosenbaum he was sending orders to
this General and that General, and stirrin' things up from Dan to
Beersheba. Lord, you ought t've seen that army wake up. I wouldn't 've
missed it for a farm. Everything is on the move\x97right on the jump. We're
goin' for old Bragg for every cent we're worth, and we want to git back
to the regiment as quick as our leg'll carry us. Hustle around, now."

"But what'er we goin' to do with our prisoners?" asked Si.

"Blast the prisoners!" answered Shorty with profane emphasis. "Let 'em
go to blue blazes, for all265 that we care. We're after bigger game than
a handful o' measly pennyroyal sang-diggers. We hain't no time to fool
with polecats when we're huntin' bears. Go off and leave 'em here."

"That's all right," said Si, to whom an idea occurred. "Hustle around,
boys, but don't make no noise. We'll march off so quietly that they
won't know that we're gone, and it'll be lots o' fun thinking what
they'll do when they wake up and begin clapper-clawin' one another and
wonderin' what their fate'll be."

END BOOK THREE



SI KLEGG EXPERIENCES OF SI AND SHORTY ON THE GREAT TULLAHOMA CAMPAIGN.



By John McElroy



Book Four



Published By

The National Tribune Co.,

Washington, D. C.

Second Edition

Copyright 1910



THE SIX VOLUMES SI KLEGG, Book I, Transformation From a Raw Recruit SI
KLEGG, Book II, Through the Stone River Campaign SI KLEGG, Book III,
Meets Mr. Rosenbaum, the Spy SI KLEGG, Book IV, On The Great Tullahoma
Campaign SI KLEGG, Book V, Deacon's Adventures At Chattanooga SI KLEGG,
Book VI, Enter On The Atlanta Campaign



'don't Call Me Your Gran'pap.' 37


frontispiece (95K)



titlepage (45K)



CONTENTS


PREFACE

SI KLEGG

CHAPTER I. THE TULLAHOMA CAMPAIGN ON TO DUCK RIVER

CHAPTER II. THE BALKY MULES

CHAPTER III. THIRD DAY OF THE DELUGE

CHAPTER IV. THE FOURTH DAY OF THE TULLAHOMA CAMPAIGN

CHAPTER V. AFLOAT ON A LOG

CHAPTER VI. DISTRESSING ENEMIES

CHAPTER VII. THE EXCITING ADVANCE TULLAHOMA

CHAPTER VIII. THE GLORIOUS FOURTH INDEPENDENCE DAY FUN

CHAPTER IX. A LITTLE EPISODE OVER LOVE LETTERS

CHAPTER X. AFTER BRAGG AGAIN

CHAPTER XI. THE MOUNTAIN FOLK

CHAPTER XII. SI AND SHORTY IN LUCK

CHAPTER XIII. MANY HAPPY EVENTS

CHAPTER XIV. THE FRISKY YOUNGSTERS

CHAPTER XV. KEYED UP FOR ACTION

CHAPTER XVI. THE TERRIFIC STRUGGLE

CHAPTER XVII. IN THE HOSPITAL

CHAPTER XVIII.   A DISTURBING MESSAGE

CHAPTER XIX. TEDIOUS CONVALESCENCE

CHAPTER XX. STEWED CHICKEN



List of Illustrations

During the Halt for Dinner. 20

'Don't Call Me Your Gran'pap.' 35

Here Goes, Mebbe to Libbey Prison. 55

I'm All on Fire 77

Si and Shorty Were the First to Mount The Parapet. 91

The Bluff Worked 107

She Ran Like a Deer, But si Cut Her off 123

You Must'nt Kill a Wounded Man 143

"Father, There's a Couple of Soldiers out There." 159

The First Wad Came out Easily and All Right. 165

'Annabel, How Purty You Look.' 173

The Recruits Lined up on the Platform. 186

They Posted the Men Behind The Trees. 197

They Had a Delirious Remembrance of the Mad Whirl. 211

The Dead Being Collected After the Battle. 220

"Pap, is That You?" Said a Weak Voice. 238

"He Took Another Look at his Heavy Revolver." 254

"If You Don't Skip out O' Here This Minute I'll Bust Your Head As I
Would a Punkin." 264



PREFACE

"Si Klegg, of the 200th Ind., and Shorty, his Partner," were born years
ago in the brain of John McElroy, Editor of THE NATIONAL TRIBUNE.

These sketches are the original ones published in THE NATIONAL TRIBUNE,
revised and enlarged some what by the author. How true they are to
nature every veteran can abundantly testify from his own service.
Really, only the name of the regiment was invented. There is no doubt
that there were several men of the name of Josiah Klegg in the Union
Army, and who did valiant service for the Govern ment. They had
experiences akin to, if not identical with, those narrated here, and
substantially every man who faithfully and bravely carried a musket in
defense of the best Government on earth had some times, if not often,
experiences of which those of Si Klegg are a strong reminder.

THE PUBLISHERS.



THIS BOOK IS RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED TO THE RANK AND FILE OF THE GRANDEST
ARMY EVER MUSTERED FOR WAR.



SI KLEGG



CHAPTER I. THE TULLAHOMA CAMPAIGN ON TO DUCK RIVER "ONLY 25 MILES TO
SHELBYVILLE."

JUNE 23, 1863, ended the Army of the Cumberland's six months of
wearisome inaction around Murfreesboro its half-year of tiresome fort-
building, drilling, picketing and scouting.

Then its 60,000 eager, impatient men swept forward in combinations of
masterful strategy, and in a brief, wonderfully brilliant campaign of
nine days of drenching rain drove Bragg out of his strong fortifications
in the rugged hills of Duck River, and compelled him to seek refuge in
the fastnesses of the Cumberland Mountains, beyond the Tennessee River.

"Now," said Shorty, as they stood in line, waiting the order to move,
"as Old Rosy has clearly waked up to business, I hope to gracious that
Mr. Bragg will be found at home ready for callers. We've wasted six
months waiting for him to get good and ready, and he certainly ought to
be in trim to transact any little business we may have with him."

"I think you needn't trouble yourself about that, Shorty," said Capt.
McGillicuddy. "All the news is that Bragg is down there in Shelbyville
in force, and with blood in his eye. Somebody is going to be terribly
whipped before the end of the week, and I'm pretty sure it won't be the
Army of the Cumberland."

"Well, let's have it over and done with," said Si. "It's got to be
fought out some time, and the sooner the better. I wish the whole thing
could be fought to a finish to-morrow. Then I'd know at once whether I'm
to live through this war."

"I don't think you'll be kept long in suspense," replied Capt.
McGillicuddy. "Shelbyville is only 25 miles away. We can't go forward
many hours with out forcing a collision as to the right of way. If we
can whip Bragg behind the works he has been building for the last six
months, we'll settle the whole business for the Southern Confederacy in
the West. Grant will take Vicksburg, and then we'll have peace."

"Only 25 miles," repeated Shorty. "We ought to be squarely up against
them not later than to-morrow night and one or two days' lively pounding
ought to make Mr. Bragg holler enough."

"Rosenbaum is as certain as he is of his life," said Si to the Captain
and the rest, "that Bragg has the bulk of his army at Shelbyville,
which, as you say, is but 25 miles from here, and that he will draw the
rest in and fight us behind the awfully big forts that he has been
building for the last six months from Shelbyville to War Trace.
Rosenbaum says that he knows it for a fact that 3,000 negroes have been
worked on the forts ever since Bragg retreated there last January."

"Well, 25 miles isn't far to go for a fight," returned Shorty. "All that
I ask is that the 200th Ind. be given the advance. We'll make schedule
time to ward Shelbyville, and bring on the fight before early candle-
lightin' to-morrow evening."

"I guess you'll have your wish, Shorty," returned Capt. McGillicuddy.
"We lead the brigade to-day, anyway, and we'll try to keep the lead
clear through."

Then the rain poured down so violently that all the conversation was
suspended, except more or less profane interjections upon the luck of
the Army of the Cumberland in never failing to bring on a deluge when it
started to march.

In the midst of this the bugles sounded "For ward!" and the 200th Ind.
swung out on the Shelby ville Pike, and set its face sternly southward.
After it trailed the rest of the brigade, then the ambulances and
wagons, and then the rest of the division.

At times the rain was actually blinding, but the men plodded on doggedly
and silently. They had ex austed their epithets at the start, and now
settled down to stolid endurance.

"We've only got to go 25 miles, boys," Si would occasionally say, by way
of encouragement. "This rain can't last forever at this rate. It'll
probably clear up bright just as we reach Shelbyville to-morrow, and
give us sunshine to do our work in."

But when the column halted briefly at noon, for dinner for the men and
mules, it was raining harder and steadier than ever. It was difficult to
start fires with the soaked rails and chunks, all were wet to the skin,
and rivulets of water ran from them as they stood or walked. The horses
of the officers seemed shrunken and drawn-up, and the mud was getting
deeper every minute.

"Lucky we had the advance," said the optimistic Si. "We have churned the
roads into a mortar-bed, and them that comes after us will have hard
pullin'. I wonder how many miles we've made of them 25?"

"I feel that we've already gone full 25," said Shorty. "But Tennessee
miles's made o' injy-rubber, and stretch awfully."

They were too ill-humored to talk much, but stood around and sipped
their hot coffee and munched sodden crackers and fried pork in silence.
Pork fried in the morning in a half-canteen, and carried for hours in a
dripping haversack, which reduced the crackers to a tasteless mush, is
not an appetizing viand; but the hunger of hard exercise in the open air
makes it "go."

Again the bugles sounded "Forward," and they plodded on more stolidly
than ever.

Increasing evidences of the enemy's presence be gan to stimulate them.
Through the sheets of rain they saw a squad of rebel cavalry close to
them. There was much snapping of damp gun-caps on both sides, a few
unavailing shots were actually fired, and they caught glimpses between
the rain-gusts of the rebel horsemen galloping up the muddy road to ward
the rising hills.

They pushed forward with more spirit now. They came to insignificant
brooks which were now raging torrents, through which they waded waist
deep, first placing their treasured ammunition on their shoulders or
heads.

As they were crossing one of these, Si unluckily stepped into a deep
hole, which took him in over his head. His foot struck a stone, which
rolled, and down he went. Shorty saw him disappear, made a frantic
clutch for him, and went down himself. For a brief tumultuous instant
they bobbed around against the legs of the other boys, who went down
like tenpins. Nearly the whole of Co. Q was at once floundering in the
muddy torrent, with the Captain, who had succeeded in crossing, looking
back in dis may at the disaster. The Orderly-Sergeant and a few others
at the head of the company rushed in and pulled out by the collars such
of the boys as they could grab. Si and Shorty came to the bank a little
ways down, blowing and sputtering, and both very angry.

During the Halt for Dinner. 19

"All your infernal clumsiness," shouted Shorty. "You never will look
where you're goin'. No more sense than a blind hoss."

"Shut up," said Si, wrathfully. "Don't you talk about clumsiness. It was
them splay feet o' your'n that tripped me, and then you downed the rest
o' the boys. Every mite of our grub and ammunition's gone."

How far the quarrel would have gone cannot be told, for at that instant
a regiment of rebels, which had been pushed out in advance, tried to
open a fire upon the 200th Ind. from behind a rail fence at the bottom
of the hill. Only enough of their wet guns could be gotten off to
announce their presence. The Colonel of the 200th Ind. yelled:

"Companies left into line!"

The soggy men promptly swung around.

"Fix bayonets! Forward, double-quick!" shouted the Colonel.

It was a sorry "double-quick," through the pelting rain, the entangling
weeds and briars, and over the rushing streams which flooded the field,
but it was enough to discourage the rebels, who at once went back in a
heavy-footed run to the works on the hill, and the rebel cannon boomed
out to cover their retreat.

"Lie down!" shouted the Colonel, as they reached the fence, and a shell
struck a little in advance, filling the air with mud and moist fragments
of vegetation.

As they lay there and recovered their breath there was much splashing
and splattering of mud, much running to and fro, much galloping of Aids
in their rear. The 200th Ind. was ordered to hold its place, and be
ready for a charge upon the hill when it received orders. The brigade's
battery was rushed up to a hill in the rear, and opened a fire on the
rebel guns. The other regiments were deployed to the right and left to
outflank the rebel position.

Si and Shorty and the rest of Co. Q put in the time trying to get their
guns dry and borrowing ammunition from the men of the other companies.
Both were jobs of difficulty and doubtful success. There could be no
proper drying of guns in that incessant drench, and nobody wanted to
open up his stock of cartridges in such a rain.

In the intervals between the heavier showers glimpses could be had of
the "Kankakee Suckers" and the "Maumee Muskrats" working their way as
fast as they could around toward the rebel flanks. The rebel artillery,
seeing most danger from them, began throwing shells in their direction
as they could be caught sight of through the rain and the opening in the
trees.

"Why don't they order us forward with the bayonets?" fretted Si. "We can
scatter them. Their guns ain't in no better shape than ours. If they
hold us here, the Illinoy and Ohio fellers 'll git all the credit."

"The Colonel's orders are explicit," said the Adjutant, who happened to
be near, "not to move until the head of one of the other regiments can
be seen on the hills to the right or left. Then we're all to go forward
together."

"Yes," grumbled Shorty, "and we'll jest git there in time to see them
Illinoy Suckers hog everything. You kin see 'em limberin' up and
preparing to git. Just our dumbed luck."

It turned out just as Shorty had predicted. The rebel commander had kept
a wary eye on the other regiments, and as he saw them gain the point of
vantage in the open, where they could make a rush upon him, he ordered a
quick retreat. The other regiments raised a yell and charged straight
home. By the time the 200th Ind. could reach the gap the other regiments
were in full possession, and the rebels out of musket-shot in the valley
beyond.

"I told you so," snorted the irate Shorty. "Now we've lost the advance.
To-morrow we'll have to take them other fellers' mud, and pry their
teams out o' the holes."

"I wonder how many o' them 25 miles toward Shelbyville we've made to-
day?" asked Si.

"I heard the Adjutant say," said one of his comrades, "that we'd come
just six miles."

"Jewhillikins," said Shorty sorrowfully.

Thus ended the first day of the Tullahoma campaign.



CHAPTER II. THE BALKY MULES SUGGESTIONS GALORE "SHELBYVILLE ONLY 18
MILES AWAY."

NEVER was there so wild a storm but there was a wilder one; never such a
downpour of rain but there could be a greater deluge.

"Seemed to me yesterday," said Si, on the morning of June 25, as he
vainly tried to peer through the dashing drench and locate some of the
other regiments of the division, "that they was givin' us one of Noah's
Deluge days that they'd happened to have left over. Seemed that it
couldn't be no worse, but this beats it. I don't think that standin'
under Niagara Falls could be no worse. Howsomever, this can't last long.
There ain't water enough in the United States to keep this up a great
while."

"Don't be so sure o' that," said Shorty, handing Si the end of a
blanket, that he might help wring it out. "I believe the Lord sometimes
thinks that He didn't divide the land and water jest right in the first
place, and that He'd better 've made a big lake o' Tennessee instead o'
these old clay knobs for rebels and niggers to roost on, and He starts
in to carry out that idee. I wish He'd finish the job at once, and turn
the whole blasted region over to the navy. It looks as if He had that in
mind now."

"Well," said the ever-hopeful Si, "the Bible says that the rain falls on
the just and unjust alike. If it's tough on us, it's jest as tough on
them. Their guns wouldn't go off any better'n ours yesterday. If that
regiment in front of us could've shot like they can on a dry day they'd
've made a sick time for us."

About 60,000 Union soldiers and 45,000 rebels struggled through the
deluges of rain, the torrential streams and fathomless mud those June
days, when it seemed that every water-gate of the heavens was wide open
as it had never been before.

The calamity that Si and Shorty had foreseen came about. The 200th Ind.
lost the advance of the brigade and brought up the rear, which meant a
long day of muscle-straining, temper-wrecking struggles with stalling
wagons, discouraged mules and stupid teamsters. And as Co. Q was the
left of the regiment, it caught the worst of all.

The 200th Ind. had scarcely pulled out of camp when its troubles became
acute. At the foot of the hill which had been carried the day before ran
a brook, ordinarily quite a modest stream, but now raging like a mill-
race. The two other regiments of the brigade and all of the 200th Ind.
but Co. Q had managed to get across by means of trees which had been
felled over the stream at various places. Co. Q was left behind to see
that the teams got over, while the rest of the 200th Ind. was halted on
the farther bank, to watch the operation and give help if needed. Si,
with a squad in which was Shorty, was ordered to take the first team,
which it happened Groundhog drove, down into the stream and start it
across.

"Now, be very careful with that wagon," called the Adjutant across the
stream. "That has the Headquarters' things and papers. Don't let any
water get into the bed. Cross at the shallowest place."

Si and Shorty found some poles, and prodded around as well as they were
able in the crossing to find the shallowest place. If there was a part
so shallow that the bed could be kept above water it was very narrow,
and would require exceedingly skillful driving to keep on it. The whole
regiment stood around, like a barnyard full of turkeys on a wet day, and
looked on with an air of soppy melancholy.

"Groundhog," said Si, approaching that function ary, "was you watchin'
carefully while me and Shorty was pickin' out the shallow places?"

"Naw," answered he, insolently; "wasn't watchin' nothin' but my mules.
Got enough to do takin' keer o' them, without watchin' a couple o' fools
projeckin' around with poles in a mud-hole. No sense in it, nohow. We
never kin git acrost that 'ere tail-race. Only thing to do is to go back
into camp till it quits rainin' and the water runs out."

"Groundhog," said Si resolutely, "you're not goin' back to camp; you're
not goin' to wait till it stops rainin'. You're goin' right over now, as
sure as my name's Si Klegg, or I'll break every bone in your karkiss."

"I can't go over," persisted Groundhog. "I ain't no fool. I know better
what kin be done with an army wagon and six mules than any Injianny
galoot that ever wore stripes or shoulder-straps. You simply can't git a
wagon acrost that branch, and I ain't goin' to try."

"Groundhog," said Shorty, "you've bin itchin' to be killed for at least
a year, that I know of probably as long as you've lived. You ought've
had a stone tied to your neck and bin flung into the crick as soon's you
was born. I've promised myself a good many times that I'd about murder
you when ever I had time, but something's always made me neglect it. I'm
in the killin' mood to-day, and I'd like to begin on you. I certainly
will unless you drive that team straight acrost, and don't git a drop o'
water in the bed o' the wagon."

"Come, hurry up, over there," shouted the Adjutant. "We can't wait all
day. What's the matter with you? Get a move on you."

"All right, sir; we'll start at once, sir," said Si with ostentatious
alacrity.

Shorty slapped his bayonet on, and brought the point very near
Groundhog's abdomen. "I'll jab this thing clean through you in a holy
minute, you pusillanimous basswood cullin'; you pestiferous pile o'
pizen, rotten punk," he said savagely. "Git on your wheel-mule and
gether up the lines."

Impelled by this, and the vigorous clutch of Si upon his collar,
Groundhog climbed clumsily into the saddle and sullenly brandished his
whip.

The mules made a start and went down the bank, but at the edge of the
turbid torrent the leaders set their legs as stiffly as if they were the
supports of a sawhorse. They did not make a sound, but somehow the other
four understood, with electric suddenness, and their legs set like
posts.

"Jest as I expected," said Groundhog, with a grunt of satisfaction;
"they've balked for all day, an' you can't git 'em to move another foot
if you killed 'em. They're as solid as if they'd growed there."

With an air of having encountered the irresistible, he started to get
out of his saddle.

"Stay in there, confound you," said Shorty, prodding him with his
bayonet. "Lick them mules. Make 'em start."

"'Bout as much use in lickin' a white-oak stump," said Groundhog, plying
the whip viciously as a relief to his feelings. "You kin lick every inch
of skin off 'em, and they won't move no more'n a gravestone."

"Start those mules along. Stop fooling,' said the Adjutant impatiently.

"We can't start 'em. They're balkin', sir," said Si desperately.

"Nonsense, nonsense," said the Adjutant. "Come ahead. Don't you see
you're stopping the Second Brigade and all its teams?"

The men of the Second Brigade were already swarming across on the logs,
while looking backward Si and Shorty could see the road filling up with
teams. They ran down to the lead mules and caught them by the bridles
and tried to pull them ahead. They might as well have pulled at the
giant sycamore trees growing along the banks.

Everybody now began to take an interest in the affair. It is one of the
delightful peculiarities of human nature that everybody knows better how
to manage a balky horse or mule than the unfortunate man who is trying
to.

"Stop whippin' them mules. You only make them wuss," shouted one man
authoritatively. "Tie stones to their tails."

"Tie a string around their ears," shouted another. "That'll be sure to
start 'em."

"Bite their ears, you fools. Don't you know nothin' about mules? Bite
their ears, I tell you," shouted a man from Indianapolis.

"Throw some hot water on 'em."

"Tie their feet and tails together with a string."

"Build a fire under 'em."

"Turn the harness around the other way on 'em."

"Blindfold 'em."

Then the regimental humorists began to get in their work:

"Sing 'em the 'Battle Cry o' Freedom.'"

"They've struck for more grub. Promise 'em double rations till we get to
Shelbyville."

"Stop swearin', there, you fellers. You've frozen 'em stiff with your
bad language. Pray with 'em."

"Read them the Emancipation Proclamation."

"Call 'em pet names. You can do anything with kindness. Even a mule has,
a heart."

"Bring up the band and serenade 'em."

Shorty was raging around the team, kicking and striking first at one
mule and then at another, and swearing like a pirate, alternately at the
team and then at the jeering crowds. Si was following suit to the best
of his ability, but his pious education had left him out of sight of
Shorty when it came to using language that the occasion seemed to
justify. He had, however, yanked Groundhog out of the saddle and driven
him up the bank, where he sat down and grinned at the confusion which
had overtaken his enemies.

Setting a man at the head of each mule to coax and encourage him, and
the rest of the company to pushing and prying on the wagon, Si had
mounted the wheel-mule himself and put forth his mule-knowledge in one
feverish effort, which was as futile as it was desperate, for the mules
did not seem to change their positions for a rest, even, when the wagon
was forced forward on them.

A very dapper young Aid, fresh from West Point, and with that high
appreciation for himself that can only be acquired at the United States
Military Academy, galloped up, sternly ordering everybody to make way
for him, and,

"Present the compliments of the Major-General commanding the division,
and what the h\x97's the matter?"

"Capt. McGillicuddy, to whom the young gentle man had been referred as
in charge, said quietly:

"You see: A mule-team has balked and stopped everything. We're doing our
best to start them, but so far without success."

"So we all perceive," said the young man superciliously. "Why are you
not down there directing them?"

"The men that I have down there thoroughly understand mules, and are
doing their very utmost. They are having, as you can see, a superfluity
of advice which is not helping them. I can best help by letting them
alone to work it out their own way. They will do all that men can."

"I shall report the case to the General," said the Aid, with scarcely-
concealed insolence. "Just like these confounded volunteers," he said as
he turned away, taking no pains to keep the Captain from overhearing.
"Never will be genuine soldiers in the world. Here, my men," continued
he, riding over to the wagon, "stir yourselves lively, now, and start
these wagons along. I want no more fooling, and won't have it. Start,
now."

Shorty had the usual volunteer dislike to young West Pointers; like the
rest of the men he cordially hated and ridiculed the young and airy
staff officers, whether from West Point or not. It irritated him to see
the youngster's treatment of his Captain. Saying snappy things at and
about the Captain was a privilege jealously reserved to members of the
company. To have anybody outside abuse the Captain was an insult to be
resented. Above all, his American soul rose in wrath at the patronizing
"my men." He would not have been at all offended at one of his own
rough-and-ready officers jumping in and distributing curses on all
hands, but "my men" was too much for him.

Without appearing to notice the presence of the Aid, Shorty walked up to
the lead-mule, gave him a tremendous kick in the ribs, and sung out in a
tone loud enough to be heard across the roaring branch:

"You pernickety pile o' poll-evil; you hee-hawin' graduate o' West
Point; you pin-feathered, taller-faced, pop-eyed, lantern-jawed, loud-
mouthed Second Lieutenant, you, won't you git up?"

The other boys began to catch on and grin. The Aid's face flushed, but
Shorty continued his loud objurgations at the mule:

"You misbegotten pill o' perdition; you pompous, puddin'-headed staff
officer; you miserable errand-boy for the General, puttin' on more airs
than the General; you half-hatched officer, runnin' around yit with the
shell on your head, and pretendin' to be cock-o'-the-walk, won't you git
up?"

Even the Aid began to understand the drift of Shorty's remarks by this
time, and Capt. McGillicuddy called out warningly:

"Shorty! Shorty!"'

Si looked in amazement at this new development of his partner's genius.
The officers and men on the other side of the branch seemed to have
forgotten for the moment the annoyance of the balked team in enjoyment
of Shorty's outburst.

"Why under heaven they put such murrain cattle as you in the army I
can't tell," he continued with another savage kick in the mule's side.
"You only take up room from your betters. You don't fight, you only
strut like a turkey-cock, and eat and he-haw. Now, will you git up?"

The Aid could not fail to understand now. He burst out in a torrent of
rage: "You infernal scoundrel," he shouted, forcing his horse up to
Shorty; "I'll have you shot for insubordination, for insulting and
mutinous language to your superior officer."

"I wasn't sayin' nothin' to you," said Shorty, looking up with an air of
surprise. "I hain't had nothin' to do with you. I was cussin' this other
piebald pilgarlic from West Point; this other pig headed pickaninny o'
the Regular Army; this Brevet-Second Lieutenant o' the Quartermaster's
Department, and Aid on the staff o' Gen. Groundhog. You ain't my
superior officer, nohow."

"Corporal," shouted the Aid to Si, "take this rascal up there on the
bank and buck-and-gag him. Do it at once."

"I don't believe you have the right to give me orders, sir," said Si
respectfully. "I am under Capt. McGillicuddy's orders."

"You are right, Corporal," said Capt. McGillicuddy, stepping forward.
"Lieutenant, you cannot order one of my men to be punished. You have no
right to command here. You are merely to convey the General's orders to
those who are in command."

"I have the right to give orders. I represent the General, and speak in
his name, and I order that man to be bucked-and-gagged," reiterated the
Aid in a flame of anger. "I'll see that it is done. I shall not be so
insulted before the whole army. It will destroy all discipline."

"Fortunately, the discipline of the army does not depend on the respect
shown Second Lieutenants," Capt. McGillicuddy could not help saying. "If
you have any complaint to make against one of my men, state it to me,
their Captain, or to the Colonel of the regiment. We are the persons,
not you, to deal with them."

The men around understood; nothing pleased them better than to see a
bumptious young Aid sat down upon, and they were outspoken in their
delight.

"I shall report you to the General, and have you court-martialed," said
the Aid, shaking his fist at Capt. McGillicuddy. "I shall!"

"Mr. Farwell," said the Chief of Staff, riding up, "why haven't you
reported to the General as to the trouble here? We've been waiting for
you."

"Here," came the clear-cut tones of the Colonel across the branch; "no
use of wasting any more time on those mules. They're there to stay.
Unhitch them, fasten on a picket-rope, and we'll pull the wagon across
from this side."

Everybody sprang to execute this order, but Si and Shorty's hands had
not reached the traces when an idea seemed to shoot simultaneously
through each of the six mules, and with one impulse they plunged ahead,
directly into the swollen waters.

Si and Shorty sprang back toward their heads to guide them over the
narrow crossing. But the mules seemed to take the right course by
instinct, and landed the wagon safely on the other side, without a
particle of water entering the bed. Everybody cheered, and Si and Shorty
looked as if their minds had been relieved of a terrible load.

"Si," said Shorty, with a tinge of weariness in his tone, "they say it
is about 18 miles from here to Shelbyville."

"Somethin' like that," answered Si.

"I think there are about three o' these cricks to every mile. Do you
really suppose we'll be able to git there before our three years is up?"

"All depends on the mules," answered Si cheerily. "If this sudden spell
o' goodness holds out we may get there before evening."



CHAPTER III. THIRD DAY OF THE DELUGE TOILSOME PLODDING, AND "SHELBYVILLE
ONLY 15 MILES AWAY."

IT SEEMS impossible, but the third day's rain was even worse than that
of the two preceding. The drops seemed much larger, to follow each other
faster, and with less interval between the downpours.

"Does it always rain this way in June down here?" Si asked a patriarch,
who was sitting on his porch by the roadside in a split-bottomed
rocking-chair, resting his bony hands on a cane, the head of which was a
ram's horn, smoking a corn-cob pipe and watching the passing column with
lack-luster eyes.

"Sah," said the sage, poking down the ashes in his pipe with his little
finger, "I've done lived in the Duck River Valley ever sence Capting
Jimmy Madison wuz elected President the fust time, and I never seed sich
a wet spell as this afore. I reckon hit's all along o' the wah. We
allers have a powerful sight o' rain in wah times. Hit rained powerful
when Jinerul Jackson wuz foutin' the Injuns down at Hoss Shoe Bend, and
the Summers durin' the Mexican war wuz mouty wet, but they didn't hold a
candle to what we're havin' this yeah. Hit's the shootin' and bangin', I
reckon, that jostles the clouds so's they can't hold in."

"How far is it to Shelbyville, Gran'pap?" asked Shorty.

'don't Call Me Your Gran'pap.' 37

"Don't call me yer gran-pap," piped out the old man in angry falsetto,
and shaking his cane. "I won't stand hit. I won't stand everything. I've
had enough ter stand from you Yankees already. You've stole my chickens
an' robbed my smoke-house, an' run off my stock, an' I've done stood
hit, but I won't stan' bein' called gran'pap by ye. I've some mouty mean
grandsons, some that orter be in the penitentiary, but I hain't none
mean enough t' be in the Yankee army."

"We didn't mean no offense, sir," said Si placatingly. "We really don't
want you for a gran'father. We've got gran'fathers o' our own, and
they're very nice old men, that we wouldn't trade off for anything ever
raised in Tennessee. Have you anything to eat that you'll sell us? We'll
pay you for it."

"No, I haint got nothin' nary mite," quavered the old man. "Your men an'
our men have stole everything I have stock, cattle, sheep, hogs,
poultry, meat an' meal everything, except my bare land an' my hope o'
heaven. Thank God, none on ye kin steal them from me."

"Don't be too blamed sure about that, old feller," said Shorty. "Better
hide 'em. The Maumee Muskrats are jest behind us. They're the worst
thieves in the whole army. Don't let 'em know anything about your land
or your hope o' salvation, or they'll have it in their haversacks before
you kin wink."

"You haint told us yit how far it is to Shelbyville," said Si.

"Young man," said the sage oracularly, "that altogether depends.
Sometimes Shelbyville is mouty fur off, an' sometimes she is right here.
On bright, cl'ar days, when the roads is good, hit's only a few steps
over thar jest two sees an' a holler."

"What's that?" said Si. "Two sees an' a holler? How far is that?"

"He means," explained Shorty, "that you go as far as you kin see from
the highest hilltop to the next highest hill-top twice, and then it's
only about as much farther as your voice will reach."

"Jest so," asserted the patriarch. "I kin saddle my ole nag arter
dinner, rack over an' do some tradin', an' rack back agin in time for
supper. But 'when we have sich sorry weather as this, Shelbyville seems
on t' other side o' nowhar. You've got t' pull through the mud an' swim
every branch and crick, an' you're mouty lucky if you git thar in a
week."

"Why don't you build bridges over the creeks?" asked Si.

"Can't do hit when hit's rainin' an they're runnin' over thar banks."

"But why don't you do it when the weather's good?"

"What's the use? You kin git over all right then."

"Sir," said the Brigadier-General, riding up and addressing the old man,
"where does the Shakerag road come into the Bellbuckle road?"

Instantly the old man felt that he was being asked to give "aid and
information to the enemy," and his old eyes grew hard and his wrinkled
face set. "I don't know, sah."

"Yes, you do," said the Brigadier-General impatiently, "and I want you
to tell me."

"I don't know, sah," repeated the old man.

"Are there any works thrown up and any men out there on the Shakerag
road?" asked the Brigadier.

"I don't know, sah."

"Did a large body of rebels go past your house yesterday, and which road
did they take at the forks?" inquired the Brigadier.

"I don't know, sah."

The Brigadier-General was not in the best of humor, and he chafed
visibly at the old man's answers.

"Does not Goober Creek run down there about a mile in that direction?"
he again inquired, pointing with his field-glasses.

"I don't know, sah."

"How long have you lived here?" asked the Brigadier savagely.

"Nigh on to 55 year, sah."

"And you don't know where Goober Creek is, and which way it runs?" asked
the Brigadier, losing all patience.

"No, sah," responded the imperturbable old man.

"Well," said the Brigadier-General grimly, "it is high time that you
discovered that interesting stream. You might die without seeing it. Men
(to Si and Shorty) take him down that road about a mile, where you will
find a considerable body of water which I'm given to understand is
called Goober Creek. You'll show it to him in all its magnificence and
beauty. Geography is a very interesting study, old man, and it is not
too late for you to begin getting acquainted with your own country."

The bitter humor of taking a man through the mud and pouring rain to see
a creek that he had seen nearly every day of his life for a half-century
was such that all the men were in a mood to appreciate. Si and Shorty
entered into the affair with zest. They put a blanket on the old man's
shoulders, to shelter him from the rain. Such a thing as an umbrella had
never been in his house. Even the women would have looked upon it as a
piece of luxurious effeminacy.

The old fellow grumbled, expostulated, and protested, but if Si and
Shorty had had no other motive, orders direct from the Brigadier-General
would have been executed at any cost. It was the first time that they
had ever received orders from anybody higher than the Colonel, and the
effect upon them was extraordinary.

"What in the everlastin' kingdom," grumbled he, "kin your niggah-lovin'
Yankees expect t' gain by draggin' me out when hit's a-rainin' cats and
dogs?"

"Don't know nothin' about it," answered Si, catching him by the shoulder
to hurry him up. "'Tain't our business to know. We ain't paid for
knowin' anything more than orders, and hardly enough for that. A man
can't know much for $13 a month."

"'Twon't help yer niggeh-stealin' army a mite t' pi'nt out Goober Crick
t' me. I ain't gwine t' tote ye over nor show ye the fords."

"Don't care nothin' about that neither," replied Shorty, as they pushed
the old man along through the blinding 'rain. "Our orders is merely to
show you Goober Crick. 'Tain't none o' our business what the General
wants you to see it for. Mebbe he thinks it 'll improve your mind to
gaze on the beauties o' nature. Mebbe he thinks you need exercise. Mebbe
he thinks a shower-bath'd do you good."

The column had been checked by some difficulty in front, and as the boys
conveyed their charge through the ranks of waiting men it seemed that
everybody understood what they were doing, and volleys of sarcasm were
flung at their prisoner. There were inquiries as to how he liked the
study of geography as far as he had gotten; whether he would continue it
in more favorable weather, and whether this primary lesson would be
followed by others on the road to the mill, the path to the stable, and
the way to the spring. If the old man had not already been as angry as
he could be, his temper would have risen.

After a lot of toilsome plodding through the rain and mud which the
passing wagons had made fathomless, they came to the top of a high hill,
from which they could look down on a turbid sweep of yellow water, about
half a mile away, which filled nearly the whole valley.

The reason of delay was at once apparent. The insignificant stream had
suddenly become an almost impassable obstacle. Men were riding carefully
across the submerged bottom land, prodding with poles, to pick out
crossings. Others were digging down approaches to what seemed promising
crossings, and making rude bridges across gullies and smaller streams
that intervened.

It seemed that the fresh young Aid with whom the boys had the encounter
the day before had in some mysterious way gained charge of the advance.
He had graduated into the Engineer Corps from West Point, and here was
an opportunity to display his immense knowledge to the glory of himself
and the Engineers and the astonishment of those inferior persons who
were merely officers of cavalry, infantry and artillery. Now he would
show off the shrewd expedients and devices which have embellished the
history of military engineering since the days of Hannibal and Julius
Cesar.

That everybody might know who was doing all this, the Aid was riding
back and forward, loudly commanding parties engaged in various efforts
over more than a quarter of a mile of front. He had brought up the
pontoon-train, and the pontoniers were having a hard time trying to
advance the boats into the rushing waters. It was all that the men could
do to hold them against the swift current. If a pole slipped or went
down in a deep hole the men holding it would slip and probably fall
overboard, the boat would whirl around and drift far out of its place,
requiring great labor to bring it back again, and bringing down a
torrent of curses from the young Lieutenant on the clumsiness of "the
Stoughton bottles" who were pretending to be soldiers and pontoniers. He
was feeling that every word of this kind showed off his superior
knowledge to those around. Some of the men were standing waist-deep in
the water, trying to fasten lines to trees, to hold in place the boats
already stationed and being held there by arms straining at the poles.
Everywhere those engaged in the work were tumbling down in the water or
being carried off their feet by the current and rescued again with
difficulty, to be hauled out on the bank, exhausted, soaked to the skin
and covered with slimy mud.

For awhile this had seemed funny to the troops waiting to cross, and
they had yelled and laughed themselves hoarse at the mishaps of their
comrades. Now the fun had all evaporated and everybody was morose, with
a strong tendency to outbreaks of profanity.

The old man surveyed the scene with evident satisfaction. "Yo' Yankees
will git over thar about the middle o' July," he chuckled. "Now, I
reckon that's Goober Crick, an' as I have done seed hit you'll let me go
back home, I s'pose, won't ye?"

"That's probably Goober Crick, or at least Goober Crick is somewhere
under that muddy freshet," acquiesced Shorty. "But I'm not at all sure
that it's the crick. Looks more like a misplaced chunk out o' the
Mizzoori River. I'm not sure, either, that your eyes kin see that
distance. We'll have to walk you till we find a section of the crick
somewhere that kin be recognized by the naked eyes. Come along, and step
lively."

The old man groaned, but there was no hope for him from these relentless
executants of orders. For a half hour more they plodded on. The mud grew
deeper at every step, but the boys mercilessly forced the old man
through the worst of it, that they might reach some point where they
could actually see Goober Crick. He could not palm off on them any
common old mud freshet for a creek that had a regular place on the map.

Finally they came near the pontoons, and saw one almost capsize,
throwing everybody in it into the water, while another whirled madly
away toward the center of the current, with but one man in, who was
frantically trying to stop it and save himself.

"Yes, he'll stop it, much," said Shorty, looking after him. "If he gits
ashore before he reaches the Mississippi I'll be surprised. Say, Si,
it'll be easier lookin' for Goober Crick in a boat than wading through
the mud. Let's git in one o' them boats."

This terrified the old man till he was ready to yield.

"I begin t' know the place," he admitted. "If we take this path through
the woods t' the left hit'll bring us out whar yo' kin see Goober Crick
for sartin, an' no mistake. Hit's allers above high-water thar."

The boys followed. A very short walk through a curtain of deep woods
brought them on to much higher ground, where Goober Creek roared through
a narrow channel it had cut in the rocks. As they stood on the banks, Si
and Shorty's eyes met in a quick comprehension of the advantages of the
place. They looked backward through the woods to see a depression in the
hills, which promised a short and comparatively easy cut-off to the road
in the rear, where the 200th Ind. lay.

"Yes, this is Goober Crick," said the old man, with an air of recalling
an old acquaintance. "I'm sure of hit. Now, you'll let me go home, won't
yer? I hain't got a dry thread left on me, an' I know I'll jest fairly
die o' rheumatiz."

"Yes, you can go," said Shorty, who was filling his eyes with the lay of
the ground, and the chances it offered of getting the 200th Ind. across
ahead of the others and gaining the coveted head of the column. "I've no
doubt you're awful wet, but mebbe you know more'n you did a couple of
hours ago. Skip!"

The old man moved off with alacrity scarcely to be expected of him, and
the boys saw that it was wisest to follow him, for he was taking a bee-
line through the woods and brush for his home, and that they knew was
near where they had left their regiment.

Soon Co. Q, crouching under the cedars and ponchos spread over fence
corners, hovering around struggling fires, and sullenly making the best
of a very poor prospect, was electrified by Si and Shorty appearing on
as near a run as they could put up with their weight-soaked garments.

"Capt. McGillicuddy," gasped Si, "we've found a bully place to cross.
Tell the Colonel quick. Let the boys git all the axes and shovels they
kin, and come with us. We'll have a crossin' ready by the time the
Colonel comes up with the regiment, and we kin git the advance agin."

Si had gained that enviable position in the regiment where he could
always have plenty of followers to anything that he proposed. The sullen
despondency passed into active alertness as soon as he began speaking,
and before he was done some of them were rummaging around the wagons for
axes and shovels. Two or three of these implements were found in the old
man's yard.

"Go ahead," said the Captain. "I'll speak to the Colonel, and we'll
follow you with the regiment. You can get the teams across, too?"

"Certain," said Si, as he handed his gun, cartridge-box, haversack,
blanket-roll and overcoat to another boy to carry for him, shouldered
his ax and started off at a run, the others following.

They came back to the spot whither the old man had led them. Si's
experienced eye quickly selected two tall hickories, which could be
felled directly across the stream and form the stringers for his bridge.
The next instant the damp air was ringing with the strokes of eight as
skillful axmen as there were in the army, Si leading on one tree and
Shorty on the other. They could not keep up the feverish pace they had
set for many minutes, but the instant their blows relaxed eight other
men snatched the axes, and in a few minutes the trees toppled and fell
just in the right position. Co. Q was now coming up, followed by the
rest of the regiment, and they gave a cheer to echo the crash of the
falling trees. Instantly hundreds of men and officers were at work
clearing a road and completing the bridge. Some cut down other trees to
furnish filling for the approaches, or to split into flooring for the
bridge. Some dug down the bank and carried the clay to cover the brush
and chunks. In an incredibly short time a bridge was completed, over
which the regiment was marched, and the wagons pulled by the men, after
the mules had been detached and walked over.

Every fresh success was announced by tremendous cheering, which carried
information to the rest of the brigade that the 200th Ind. was doing
something unusual. News as to what this was at last reached the ears of
the Lieutenant of Engineers, who was continuing his struggle with the
pontoons with a persistence worthy of better luck.

He rode up just in time to see Capt. McGillicuddy looking with elation
at the passage of the last wagon.

"Why was I not informed as to what you were doing here, sir?" he asked
angrily.

"Probably because we were too busy doing it to be talking about it. If
you had known of it you would probably have tried to apply the 47th
problem of Euclid to the case, and we wouldn't 've got ten over for a
week. Eventually, sir, I expect you will find out that there are several
things in the world that are not learned at West Point. Having
accomplished all that we want with the bridge, I now have the pleasure
of turning it over to the Engineer Department, and I wish that you may
find it very useful," continued the Captain, as with a mocking smile and
salute he followed the last of the regiment across the creek.

"Adjutant," said Si, saluting that official with great respect, "we've
now got the advance agin, hain't we?"

"You're right we have, you bully boy with a glass eye," said the
Adjutant, slapping him on the shoulder with a familiarity that would
have given the young Engineer Lieutenant a spasm and caused a strong
report on the discipline of the 200th Ind. "And you can just bet we'll
keep it, too. You ought to see the Colonel's eye. We'll lead the
procession into Shelbyville, which is only 15 miles away."



CHAPTER IV. THE FOURTH DAY OF THE TULLAHOMA CAMPAIGN "SHELBYVILLE ONLY
10 MILES AWAY."

AND it rained the fourth day rained as if there had been months of
drouth, during which it had been saving up water and gathering its
energies for an astonishing, overwhelming, make-up-for-lost-time effort.

"Great goodness," said Si, as he and Shorty were again wringing their
blankets out to lighten the load they would start with; "seems to me
they're tryin' to move Lake Superior down here, and dumping the water by
train-loads."

"Old Rosey ought to set us to buildin' arks," grumbled Shorty. "We'll
need 'em as bad as Noah did."

There was an alleviation to the weather and mud in the good news that
came from all parts of the long front of 75 miles, on which the 60,000
men of the Army of the Cumberland were pressing forward against their
enemies in spite of the apparent league of the same with the powers of
the air against them. Away off on the extreme right Gen. Mitchel's
cavalry had driven the enemy from Triune, Eagleville, Rover, and
Unionville; Gordon Granger's and Crittenden's infantry were sweeping
forward through Salem, Christiana, and Bradyville; grand old Pap Thomas,
in his usual place in the center, had swept forward with his accustomed
exhibition of well-ordered, calmly-moving, resistless power, and pushed
the enemy out of his frowning strongholds at Hoover's Gap; McCook, whose
advance had that splendid leader, John F. Miller, had struck success
fully at Liberty Gap, and far to our left the dash ing Wilder had led
his "Lightning Brigade" against the enemy's right and turned it. The
higher officers were highly elated at the success of Gen. Rosecrans's
brilliant strategy in forcing the very formidable outer line of the
enemy without a repulse any where. Their keen satisfaction was
communicated to the rank and file, and aroused an enthusiasm that was
superior to the frightful weather. Every body was eager to push forward
and bring Bragg to decisive battle, no matter how strong his
laboriously-constructed works were.

"Old Rosey may be a little slow to start," Shorty held forth oracularly
to the group crouching over the fire, "but when he does start, great
Scott, but he's a goer. I'll put every cent I may have for the next 10
years on him, even though he's handicapped by a Noah's deluge for 40
days and 40 nights. And when it comes to playin' big checkers, with a
whole State for a board, and brigades and divisions for men, he kin
skunk old Bragg every time, without half tryin'. He's busted his front
row all to pieces, and is now goin' for his king-row. We'll have Bragg
before Grant gits Pemberton, and then switch around, take Lee in the
rear, capture Richmond, end the war, and march up Pennsylvania Avenue
before Old Abe, with the scalps o' the whole Southern Confederacy
hangin' at our belts."

"Wish to Heaven," sighed Si, "Old Rosey'd thought to bring along a lot
of Ohio River coal scows and Wabash canal-boats to make our campaign in.
What fun it'd be jest to float down to Shelbyville and fight those
fellers with 100 rough-and-ready gunboats. Then, I'd like awfully to
know once more what it feels like to have dry feet. Seems to me my feet
are swelling out like the bottom of a swamp-oak."

"Hope not, Si," said Shorty. "If they git any bigger there won't be room
enough for anybody else on the same road, and you'll have to march in
the rear o' the regiment. Tires me nearly to death now to walk around
'em."

"There goes the bugle. Fall in, Co. Q," shouted the Orderly-Sergeant.

As the 200th Ind. had the advance, and could leave the bothersome
problems of getting the wagons across the creeks to the unlucky regiment
in the rear, the men stepped off blithely through the swishing showers,
eager to find the enemy and emulate the achievements on previous days by
their comrades on other parts of the line.

Being as wet as they could be, they did not waste any time about
crossing streams. The field officers spread out and rode squarely at the
most promising crossings in sight. The men watched their progress, and
took the best they found. If the water did not get above the middle of
the sides of the Colonel's medium-sized horse, they took off their
haversacks and unbuckled their cartridge-boxes, and plunged in after
him, the shorter men pairing off with the taller men, and clinging to
them.

So eager was their advance that by the time they halted at noon for a
rest and a cup of coffee, they were miles ahead of the rest of the
brigade, and beginning to look forward to catching glimpses of
Shelbyville.

They had encountered no opposition except long-taw shots from rebel
cavalry watching them from the opposite sides of the yellow floods, and
who would scurry away as soon as they began to cross.

The young Aid again appeared upon the scene.

"Colonel," he said, saluting, "the General presents his compliments, and
directs that you advance to that next creek, and halt there for the
night and observe it."

"What did that young man remark?" said Shorty in an undertone; "that we
wuz to advance to that crick and observe it? What in the thunder have we
bin doin' for the past four days but observe cricks, an' cross the
nasty, wet things?"

"He means, Shorty," said Capt. McGillicuddy, "that we are to go as near
as we can to the bank, and watch, that the rebels do not come across,
and wait there until the rest of the division get in supporting
distance."

"I guessed that was what his West Point lingo meant, if he has brains
enough to mean anything. Why didn't he say in plain United States: 'Git
down to the edge o' that there crick, watch for a chance to jump the
rebels, and keep your eye peeled that the rebels don't jump you?' That'd
be plain Methodist-Episcopal, that everybody could under stand.".

"I'll see that you are appointed Professor of Military Language and
Orders at West Point when you are discharged," said the Captain,
laughing.

The regiment advanced to the edge of the swollen flood and made
themselves as comfortable as possible under shelters improvised from
rails, cedar boughs, pieces of driftwood, etc. A considerable force of
rebels appeared on the opposite bank, whose business seemed to be to
"observe" the Yankees.

The restless Si and Shorty started out on a private reconnoissance. They
discovered that the shore opposite the left of the regiment was really
an island, separated by some hundreds of yards of rushing water from
them, but the main current ran on the other side of the island.

"We can't observe the crick through that mass o' willers and
cottonwoods," said Shorty. "That's certain. No tellin' what devilment
the rebels are up to on the bank over there. They may be gittin' up a
flank movement over there, with pontoons and flatboats, to bust the
whole army wide open."

"That's so," assented Si. "The orders are to observe this crick, and we
can't do it if we can't see the other bank. We ought to git over to that
island."

They went back and reported to Capt. McGillicuddy, and told him what
they thought. He at once agreed with them, and sanctioned their proposal
to go over to the island, if they could find means of crossing.

After a diligent search they came across an old canoe hollowed out of a
tulip-tree log. It was a cranky affair, and likely to turn over if their
hair was not parted exactly in the middle; but both of the boys were
used to canoe management, and they decided to risk the thing.

It was ticklish business crossing the current, but they succeeded in
reaching the island, which extended a foot or more above the level of
the flood, and was covered with a thicket of willows and cottonwoods
about the size of hoe-handles. They pushed their way through these and
came in sight of the opposite banks. There was apparently some thing
important going on over there. Quite a number of rebels could be seen
moving about through the rain and mud, there was great deal of chopping
going on, several flatboats, canoes and rafts were lying at the bank,
wagons were passing, and the boys thought they could make out a cannon
or two.

"I can't make out what in the world they're up to," said Si. "But I'm
certain the Colonel ought to know it. Suppose you take the canoe,
Shorty, and paddle over and report, and I'll stay here and watch."

"All right," answered Shorty, starting back for the canoe.

He reported to Capt. McGillicuddy, who took him up to the Colonel.

"It don't seem possible that they can be doing anything to threaten us,"
said the Colonel; "though they may know of some practicable crossing
higher up the stream, which will let them in on our flank. Still, they
ought to be watched. I'll inform the General at once. You had better
station a picket on the island, Captain, if you can do so safely."

"Me and my pardner 'll look out for them, Colonel, if you think
necessary," said Shorty, proud to be of service under the Colonel's
direction.

"Very good," said the Colonel briefly. "I'll entrust the lookout to you
boys. Let me know at once if anything important develops."

The young Aid had been standing nigh during this conversation.

"Your men, Colonel," he said patronizingly, "are excellent soldiers, in
their way, but they lack the intelligence necessary to comprehend the
movements of the enemy on the opposite bank. I think I shall go over
there myself, take a personal observation, and determine precisely what
the meaning of the movements may be."

"As you like," said the Colonel stiffly. "As for myself, I don't think
it is necessary for me to go. I'd trust those boys' eyes as quick as I
would my own. They are as good soldiers as ever breathed; they are as
keen as a brier, with not a particle of nonsense about them. They are as
truthful as the day. When they tell me anything that they have seen with
their own eyes I can trust it as absolutely as if I had seen it myself;
and their judgment can not be beat."

"No enlisted man can possibly see anything so well as an officer who has
been educated," said the Aid.

"That is a matter of opinion," said the Colonel dryly.

"Anyway, I'm going over to see for myself," said the Aid. And he called
after Shorty:

"Here, my man, I'm going along with you."

Shorty muttered some very warm words under his breath, but discipline
asserted itself, and he answered respectfully:

"Very good, sir."

He halted until the Aid came alongside, and then started to walk beside
him as he would have done with one of his own officers when out alone
with him.

"Fall two paces behind," commanded the Aid sternly

Shorty said to himself some very hotly-disparaging things about
pretentious young snips of Regular officers. They reached the canoe, and
the Lieutenant calmly seated himself in the stern. This was another
aggravation. If Shorty had gone out with one of his own officers, even
the Colonel, he would have shown a deep interest in everything and
wanted to do his share toward getting the canoe safely over. This young
fellow calmly seated himself, and threw all the responsibility and work
on Shorty.

"Now, you set right in the center, there," said Shorty, as he picked up
the paddle and loosened the rope, "and keep mighty still."

"My man," said the Lieutenant, frowning, "when I want your advice I'll
ask it. It is for me to give you directions, not you me. You paddle out,
now, and head straight for that island. Paddle briskly, and get me over
there as quick as possible."

Shorty was tempted to tip the canoe over then and there, but he
restrained himself, and bent his strong arms to the hard task of
propelling the canoe across the strong current, avoiding the driftwood,
maintaining his balance, and keeping the bow pointed toward the place
where he wanted to land.

The Lieutenant had sense enough to sit very still, and as he naturally
had been drilled into bolt-up-rightness, Shorty had little trouble with
him until they were nearing the shore. Then the canoe ran into a swirl
which threw its bow around. Forgetting his dignified pose, the
Lieutenant made a grab for some overhanging willows.

"Let them alone, blast you; I'll bring her around all right," Shorty
started to yell, but too late. Before the words were out of his mouth
the cranky canoe went over. Shorty with the quickness of a cat jumped
clear, caught some branches with one hand, and made a grab for the canoe
with the other. But he saw the Lieutenant go down head foremost, with
fancy boots disappearing last. He let the canoe go, to make a grab for
the boots. He missed them, but presently the Lieutenant's head appeared,
and he gasped and sputtered:

"Save me, my good man. I can't swim a stroke."

Shorty plunged out, succeeded in catching the Lieutenant by the collar,
and after a vicious struggle with the current, grabbed with his right
hand a pole that Si thrust out to him, while with his left he dragged
the Lieutenant ashore, "wetter'n a blamed drowned West Point muskrat,"
as he after ward expressed it.

"My good man, you saved my life, and I thank you for it," said the
Lieutenant when he recovered his breath. "I shall mention you in my
report."

"If you don't stop calling me your 'good man' I'll chuck you into the
drink again, you wasp-waisted, stiff-backed, half-baked West Point
brevet Second Lieutenant," said Shorty wrathfully. "If you'd had the
sense of a six-months'-old goslin' you'd 'a' set still, as I told you,
and let me manage that canoe. But you never kin learn a West Pointer
nothin'. He'd try to give God Almighty points if he got a chance. Now
we've lost our canoe, and we're in a devil of a fix. I feel like
throwin' you back in the crick."

"Take care, my good" and then the Lieutenant caught the glare of
Shorty's eye. "Take care, sir. You're on the verge of mutiny. I may have
you court-martialed and shot, if you're not careful."

"Court-martial and be blamed," said Si, who was as angry as Shorty.
"You've lost our canoe, and we may be drowned before we can git off this
island. It's got so dark they can't see us from the shore, the water's
steadily rising, these trees are too small to climb, and the Lord knows
how we're goin' to git off."

"Corporal, I'll see that you're reduced to the ranks for disrespect to
me. I had intended to recommend this man for promotion on account of his
great service to the army in saving my life. Now I shall see that you
are both punished for insubordination."

"Insubordination be damned, and you with it," said Shorty. "You'd better
be thinking how we're to git off this island. The water's bin raisin'
about a foot a minute. I've bin watchin' while we wuz talkin'."

The Lieutenant stood, dazed, while the boys were canvassing plans for
saving themselves.

"I'll tell you, Shorty," said Si suddenly. "Le's ketch one o' them big
saw-logs that's comin' down, straddle it, and let it carry us somewhere.
It may take us into our own lines. Anything's better than drowndin'.
Here comes one in the eddy now."

Shorty caught the log with a long pole, and dexterously steered it up
close to the shore in comparatively still water. Si threw a grapevine
over it and held it.

"Now, all git on," said Shorty. "Be careful not to push it away."

"Let me get on ahead," said the Lieutenant, still mindful of his rank,
"and you two get on behind, the Corporal next to me."

"Not much, Mary Ann," jeered Shorty. "We want a man of sense ahead, to
steer. I'll git on first, then you, and then Si, to bring up the rear
and manage the hind end of the log."

The Lieutenant had to comply. They all got safely on, and Shorty pushed
off, saying:

"Here, sit straight, both of you. Here goes mebbe for New Orleans, mebbe
for Libby Prison, mebbe for the camp of the 200th Ind.

"We're out on the ocean sailin'."

Here Goes, Mebbe to Libbey Prison. 55



CHAPTER V. AFLOAT ON A LOG SI, SHORTY AND THE WEST-POINTER HAVE AN
EVENTFUL JOURNEY.

THE log swept out into the yellow swirl, bobbing up and down in the
turbulent current.

"Bobs like a buckin' broncho," said Shorty. "Make you seasick, Si?"

"Not yet," answered his partner. "I ain't so much afraid o' that as I am
that some big alligator-gar 'll come along and take his dinner off my
leg."

"Bah," said Shorty, contemptuously; "no alligator-gar is goin' to come
up into this mud-freshet. He'd ruther hunt dogs and nigger-babies
further down the river. Likes 'em better. He ain't goin' to gnaw at them
old Wabash sycamore legs o' yourn when he kin git a bite at them fat
shoats we saw sailin' down stream awhile ago."

"The belief in alligator-gar is a vulgar and absurd superstition," said
the Lieutenant, breaking silence for the first time. "There, isn't
anywhere in fresh water a fish capable of eating anything bigger than a
bull-frog."

"Hullo; did West Point learn you that?" said Shorty. "You know just
about as much about it as you do about gittin' over cricks an' paddlin'
a canoe. Have you ever bin interduced to a Mississippi catfish? Have you
ever seen an alligator-gar at home in the Lower Mississippi? Naw! You
don't know no more about them than a baby does about a catamount. I have
heard tell of an alligator-gar that was longer'n a fence-rail, and sort
of king of a little bayou down in the Teche country. He got mad because
they run a little stern-wheel steamboat up into his alley to git their
cotton off, an' he made up his mind to stop it. He'd circle 'round the
boat to git a good headway and pick out his man. Then he'd take a run-
and-jump, leap clean across the boat, knock off the man he'd picked out,
an' tow him off under a log an' eat him. He intended to take the Captain
fust, but his appetite got the better of him. He saw a big, fat, juicy
buck nigger of a deck-hand, an' couldn't stand the temptation. He
fetched him easy. Next he took a nice, tender little cabin-boy. Then he
fetched the big old Mate, but found him so full o' terbacker, whisky and
bad language that he couldn't eat him nohow, an' turned him over to the
mudturtles, what'll eat anything. The Captain then got scared an' quit.
He didn't care a hat for the Mate, for he was glad to git rid of him;
but he liked the cabin-boy an' he had to pay the owner o' the nigger
$1,200 for him, an' that made runnin' up the Teche onprofitable."

"Oh, Shorty," Si gasped. He thought he was acquainted with his partner's
brilliant talents for romance, but this was a meteoric flight that he
had not expected.

"But that wasn't nothin'," Shorty continued, "to a he catfish that a man
told me about down near Helena, Ark. He used to swim around in a little
chute near a house-cabin in which lived a man with a mighty good-lookin'
young wife. The man was awful jealous of his woman, an' used to beat
her. The ole he catfish had a fine eye for purty women, and used to
cavort around near the cabin whenever his business would permit. The
woman noticed him, and it tickled him greatly. She'd throw him hunks o'
bread, chunks o' cold meat, and so on. The man'd come out and slap her,
and fling clubs and knots at him. One day the man put his wife in a
basswood canoe, and started to take her across the river. He hadn't got
a rod from the shore when the old he catfish ups and bites the canoe in
two, then nips the man's hand so's he didn't git over it for months, and
then puts his nose under the woman's arm, and helps her ashore as polite
as you please."

"Shorty," gasped Si, "if you tell any more such stories as that this
log'll certainly sink. See it how it wobbles now."

"I consider such stuff very discourteous to your officer," said the
Lieutenant stiffly. "I shall make a note of it for consideration at some
future time."

"Halt! Who goes thar?" rang out sharply from the bank.

"Hush; don't breathe," said Shorty. They were in an eddy, which was
sweeping them close to the rebel bank.

"Who air yo' haltin'?" said a second voice.

"I see some men in a canoe out thar. I heared their voices fust," said
the first voice.

"Whar' yo see any men in a canoe?" asked the second incredulously.

"Right over thar. You kin see 'em. They're comin' right this-a-way. I'm
a gwine t' halt 'em agin an' then shoot."

"Stuff," said the other. "You're allers seein' shadders an' ghostses.
That 'er's only an ole tree with three limbs stickin' up. Don't yo'
shoot an' skeer the whole camp. They'll have the grand laugh on yo', an'
mebbe buck-an'-gag yo'."

"'Tain't stuff," persisted the other. "Thar never wuz a tree that ever
growed that had three as big limbs as that all on one side. You're moon
blind."

"A man mout well be rain blind in sich a storm as this, but I tell yo'
that's nothin' but an ole sycamore drift log. If yo' shoot the boys'll
never git tired o' damnin' yo', an' jest as likely as not the
ossifers'll make yo' tote a rail through the mud termorrer."

The boys were so near that every word could be distinctly heard, and
they were floating nearer every moment.

The suspense was thrilling. If the man fired at that distance he could
not help hitting one of them and discovering the others. They scarcely
breathed, and certainly did not move a muscle, as the log floated
steadily in-shore in the comparatively stiller waters of the eddy. The
rain was coming down persistently yet, but with a sullen quietness, so
that the silence was not broken by the splashing of the drops.

A water-moccasin deadliest of snakes crawled up onto the log and coiled
himself in front of Si, with that indifference to companionship which
seems to possess all animals in flood-times. Si shuddered as he saw it,
but did not dare make a motion against it.

The dialog on the bank continued.

"Thar, you kin see thar air men in a canoe," said the first voice.

"I can't see nothin' o' the kind," replied the other.

"If hit ain't a log with three dead limbs, hit's a piece o' barn-timber
with the j'ists a-stickin' up."

"I don't believe hit nary mite. Hit's men, an' I'm a-gwine t' shoot."

"No, yo' hain't gwine t' make a durned fool o' yourself. Wait a minute.
Hit's a-comin' nigher, an' soon you kin hit it with a rock. I'll jest do
hit t' show yo how skeery yo' air. Le'me look around an' find a good
rock t' throw. If I kin find jest the right kind I kin hit a
yallerhammer at that distance."

This prospect was hardly more reassuring than that of being fired at,
but there was nothing to do but to take whatever might come. To make it
more aggravating, the current had slowed down, until the motion of their
log was very languid. They were about 100 feet from the shore when they
heard the second voice say:

"Heah, I've got jest the right kind o' a dornick. Now jest keep yer eye
peeled an' fixed on that center limb, an' yo'll hear it chunk when I
plunk hit an' show hit's nothin' but a stick o' wood."

Si thought he saw the Lieutenant crouch a little, but was not sure.

The stone came whistling through the air, struck the top of the
Lieutenant's cap and knocked it off into the water.

"Thar," said the second voice triumphantly; "yo' see hit ain't no men.
Jest as I done tole yo'. I knocked the bark offen the end o' one o' the
sticks."

The log moved slowly on, and presently catching in a stronger current,
swept out into the stream again. It seemed so like deliverance, that Si
made a quick blow and knocked the snake off into the water, and Shorty
could not help shouting triumphantly:

"Good-by, Johnnies! Sorry we can't stay with you longer. Got other
engagements down the crick. Ta-ta! See you later."

The chagrined sentry fired an angry shot, but they were already behind a
clump of willows.

"Lootenant," said Shorty, "you put on a whole lot of unnecessary frills,
but you've got good stuff in you after all. You went through that little
affair like a man. I'll back you after this."

"When I desire your opinion, sir, as to my conduct," replied the
Lieutenant, "I shall ask you for it. Until then keep it to yourself. It
is for me to speak of your conduct, not you of mine."

But again they "had hollered before they were out o' the woods," as
Shorty afterward expressed it. The gunfire and the sound of their voices
so near shore had stirred up the rebels. A canoe with three men in it
had pushed out, and, struggling with the current, had made its way
toward them, guided by their own voices. The top of a floating tree had
hidden it from their sight until it suddenly came around the mass of
leafage, and a man standing up in the bow leveling a revolver at them
ordered instant surrender. The other two men were sitting in the middle
and stern with paddles, and having all they could do to maintain the
course of the canoe.

Si and Shorty were so startled that for an instant they made no response
to the demand. The Lieutenant was the first to speak:

"Are you a commissioned officer?" he inquired.

"No," was the answer.

"Then I refuse to surrender. I'll surrender to no one inferior to me in
rank."

"Sorry we'uns can't obleege yo', nohow," said the man with the revolver,
in a sneer; "but we'uns'll have t' be good enough commissioned ossifers
for yo' jist now, an' yo'll have t' done hold up yo'uns hands. We'uns
hain't no time t' send ashore for a Lootenant."

The other two chuckled as they struggled with the current, and forced
the canoe up close to the log. Shorty made a motion as if throwing up
his hands, and called out in a submissive way:

"Here, le'me git hold o' the bow, and I kin help you. It's awful hard
paddlin' in this current."

Without thinking the men threw the bow in so close that Shorty could
clutch it with his long hand. The grab shook the ticklish craft, so that
the man with the revolver could scarcely keep his feet.

"Heah," he yelled at the other two. "Keep the dugout stiddy. What air
yo'uns doin'? Hold her off, I tell yo'uns."

Then to the Lieutenant:

"Heah, yo'uns surrender to wonst, or I'll blow yo' heads offen yo'uns."

The Lieutenant started a further remonstrance, but Shorty had in the
meantime got the other hand on the canoe, and he gave it such a wrench
that the man with the pistol lost his footing and fell across the log,
where he was grabbed by Shorty and his pistol-hand secured. The stern of
the canoe had swung around until Si had been able to catch it with one
hand, while with the other he grabbed the man in the stern, who, seeing
the sudden assumption of hostilities, had raised his paddle to strike.

Si and Shorty had somewhat the advantage in position. By holding on to
the log with their legs they had a comparatively firm, base, while the
canoe was a very ticklish foundation for a fight.

The middle man also raised his paddle to strike, but the Lieutenant
caught it and tried to wrest it away. This held the canoe and the log
close together while Si and Shorty were struggling. Si saw this, and
letting go, devoted both hands to this man, whom he pulled over into the
water about the same time that Shorty possessed himself of the other
man's pistol and dragged him out of the canoe.

"Hold fast in the center there, Lieutenant," he called out, as he
dropped the pistol into his bosom and took in the situation with a quick
glance. "You two Johnnies hold on to the log like grim death to a dead
nigger, and you won't drown."

He carefully worked himself from the log into the canoe, and then Si did
the same. They had come to a part where the water spread out in a broad
and tolerably calm lake over the valley, but there was a gorge at the
further end through which it was rushing with a roar. Log and canoe were
drifting in that direction, and while the changes were being made the
canoe drifted away from the log.

"Hold on, men," shouted the Lieutenant; "you are certainly not going to
abandon your officer?"

"Certainly not," said Shorty. "How could you imagine such a thing? But
just how to trade you off for this rebel passenger presents
difficulties. If we try to throw him overboard we shall certainly tip
the canoe over. And I'm afraid he's not the man to give up peaceably a
dry seat in the canoe for your berth on the log."

"I order you to come back here at once and take me in that boat," said
the Lieutenant imperatively.

"We are comin' back all right," said Shorty; "but we're not goin' to let
you tip this canoe over for 40 Second Lieutenants. We'll git you out o'
the scrape somehow. Don't fret."

"Hello, thar! Help! Help!" came across the waters in agonized tones,
which at the same time had some thing familiar in them.

"Hello, yourself!" responded Shorty, making out, a little distance away,
a "jo-boat," that is, a rude, clumsy square-bottomed, square-ended sort
of a skiff in which was one man. "What's wanted?"

"I'm out here adrift without no oars," came in the now-distinctly
recognizable voice of Jeff Hackberry. "Won't yo' please tow me ashore?"

"Le's go out there and git him," said Shorty to Si. "We kin put all
these fellers in that jo-boat and save 'em."

A few strokes of their paddles brought them alongside.

"How in the world did you come here, Hackberry," asked Shorty.

"O, that ole woman that I wanted so bad that I couldn't rest till I got
her wuz red-hot t' git rid o' me," whined Hackberry. "She tried half-a-
dozen ways puttin' wild parsnip in my likker, giving me pokeberry
bitters, and so on, but nothin' fetched me. Finally she deviled me to
carry her acrost the crick to the Confederit lines. I found this ole jo-
boat at last, an' we got in. Suddenly, quick as lightning she picked up
the oars, an' give the boat a kick which sent hit away out into the
current. I floated away, yellin' at her, an' she standin' on the bank
grinnin' at me and cussin'. I've been havin' the awfulest day floatin'
down the freshet, expectin' every minute t' be drowned, an' both sides
pluggin' away at me whenever they ketched sight o' me. I wuz willin' t'
surrender t' either one that'd save me from being drownded, but none of
'em seemed t' care a durn about my drowndin'; they only wanted t' plug
me."

"Please save me, Mister," begged Jeff, "an' I'll do anything under the
shinin' sun for yo'; I'll jine the Yankee army; I'll lead you' to whar
thar's nests o' the pizenest bushwhackers. I'll do anything yo' kin ax
me. Only save me from being drownded. Right down thar's the big falls,
an' if I go over them, nothin' kin same me from drowndin'." And he began
a doleful blubbering.

"On general principles, I think that'd be the best thing that could
happen," remarked Shorty. "But I haven't time to discuss that now. Will
you do just what we want, if we save your life?"

"Yes; yes," responded he eagerly.

"Well, if you don't, at the very minute I tell you, I'll plug you for
certain with this," said Shorty, showing the revolver. "Mind, I'll not
speak twice. I'll give you no warnin'. You do what I tell you on the
jump, or I'll be worse to you than Mrs. Bolster. First place, take this
man in with you. And you (to the rebel in the canoe) mind how you git
into that boat. Don't you dare, on your life, kick the canoe over as you
crawl out. If I find it rocks the least bit as you leave I'll bust your
cocoanut as the last act of my military career. Now crawl out."

The rebel crawled over the gunwale into the boat as cautiously as if
there were torpedoes under him.

"Now," said Shorty, with a sigh of relief, as the man was at last out of
the canoe, "we'll paddle around here and pick up some pieces of boards
for you to use as oars. Then you bring the boat over to that log."

This was done, and the Lieutenant and the two rebels clinging to the log
were transferred to the jo-boat. The moment the Lieutenant felt himself
in the comparative security of the jo-boat his desire for command
asserted itself.

"Now, men," said he, authoritatively, "pull away for the other side,
pointing up stream. That glow over there is our campfires. Make for it."

"All right, Lootenant," said Shorty. "You command that boat. You've got
your revolver with you, and kin make 'em mind. We'll pick up some more
boards, so as to have oars for all o' 'em. They'd better use 'em lively,
for it ain't a great ways t' the suck. If you git into that you'll go to
Davy Jones's as sure as the Lord made little apples. Paddle, now, if you
value your lives. Me and Si are goin' back to look for that galoot that
shot at us. We want to make a present of him to our Colonel, who's after
information from the other side. We want his gun and another one to make
up for the two that we had to leave on the island. We'll join you before
you git acrost."

The Lieutenant lifted up his voice in remonstrance against the desperate
undertaking, but Si and Shorty paddled swiftly away, leaving him and his
squad to struggle over the muddy lake in their clumsy bateau.

Though the boys were sadly worn by the day's exciting adventures, yet
they were animated by the hope of doing something that would signally
retrieve their earlier misfortunes. Both were adepts at canoe
navigation, the canoe was light and easily managed with but two in it,
and they had gotten the lay of the shore so well in mind that they felt
sure that they could slip around and come in on the man who had fired
upon them. The drizzle of the rain helped curtain them; they pushed the
canoe through the top of a paw-paw thicket that rose but a little way
above the flood, Shorty sprang out, and in a few steps came up behind
the two pickets, who were crouching over a little fire they had built
behind the cover of some dense weeds.

"Was this the post that fired on men in a canoe a little while ago?" he
asked, as if a rebel officer out on a tour of investigation.

"Yes," the men stammered, as soon as they could recover from the startle
of his sudden appearance.

"Which man fired?" asked Shorty.

"Me," answered one.

"Well, I want you and both your guns," said Shorty, thrusting his
revolver against the man's face. "Pick up them guns and go right ahead
there."

The man meekly did as bid, and in a few minutes was landed into the
canoe, into which Shorty jumped and pushed off. When nearly across they
came upon the jo-boat, with the Lieutenant standing erect with drawn
revolver, while the men were laboring hard to propel it to shore. The
boys fastened its painter to the stern of the canoe and helped by
towing.

They headed for a large fire burning brightly on the bank, indicating
that it was the headquarters of the pickets. In response to the sharp
challenge, the Lieutenant responded:

"Friends, without the countersign."

Quite a number of officers and men thronged to the water's edge to see
what could be coming from that unexpected quarter. The Lieutenant
ordered the boys to fall to the rear with their canoe, that he might be
the first to land, and as his bateau labored close to the shore he
recognized the Colonel in command of the picket line, and said in a loud
voice:

"Sir, I have the honor to report that I have been across the creek
reconnoitering the enemy's lines. I have with me five prisoners four
soldiers and one guerrilla."



CHAPTER VI. DISTRESSING ENEMIES OTHER THAN THE REBELS AND RAIN, MUD, AND
SWOLLEN STREAMS.

SI WOKE up early the next morning with a savage exclamation.

"I declare, I'm all on fire," he said. "Some thing's just eating me up.
I believe I've got a million graybacks on me."

I'm All on Fire 77

"Same here, Si," said Shorty. "Never knowed 'em to be so bad. Seem to
've just got in from a march, and are chawin' three days' rations out o'
me every minute. I'd 'a' thought they'd all 've bin drowned from the
duckin' they've bin havin' for the past five days, but it only seems to
've sharpened their teeth and whetted their appetites. They've all come
to dinner, and invited their friends."

"Where in the world could they have all come from?" meditated Si. "We
wuz certainly clean of 'em when we started out six days ago."

"O, the rebels skipped out in sich a hurry," ex plained Shorty, "that
they even dropped their house hold pets, which we inherited as we
follered 'em up. I wish this infernal rain'd let up long enough for us
to do some skirmishin' and bile our clothes. Or if the sun'd only come
out an hour or two, we could find an ant-hill, an' lay our clothes on
it. I don't know any little thing that I enjoy more on a pleasant day
when we've bin a long march and got mighty 'crumby, than to pull off my
shirt and lay it on a lively ant-hill, and light my pipe and set there
and watch the busy ants collar its inhabitants and carry 'em off to fill
up their smoke-houses with Winter meat."

He put his hand meditatively into his bosom as he spoke. As he withdrew
it he looked down and exclaimed:

"Jehosephat, it's fleas, too. Just look there. I'm alive with fleas."

"Same here," ejaculated Si, who had made a similar discovery. "Just look
at 'em, hoppin' out every where. The rebels have not only set their
grayback infantry on to us, but are jumping us with their flea cavalry."

"If you call the graybacks infantry and the fleas cavalry, what in the
world do you call these, Si?" said Shorty, who had made still another
discovery, and was pointing to his wrists and ankles, where rows of
gorged ticks, looking like drops of fresh blood, encircled his limbs.

"Them's heavy artillery," answered Si; "and, Great Scott, I've got more
of 'em on me than you have. And there's some just back of your ears,
Shorty. Be careful, Shorty. Don't touch 'em. Le' me work 'em off. Be
awful careful. If you break their heads off they'll stay in and make a
sore that'll almost never get well."

They looked down the lines of men who, like themselves, had been rudely
awakened from their slumber on wet beds by "the pestilence that walketh
by night." There were howls, yells, oaths and imprecations from
everybody. Officers forgot their carefully-maintained dignity, and were
as vociferous and profane as the men.

Many were stripped, and trying to singe their wet clothes over the
smoldering fires. Many were even trying to subdue the pests by thrashing
their garments in the cold water of the creek.

"'Bout as much use as a General Order from Army Headquarters would be
agin the varmints," said Shorty, as he watched their futile labors.
"Say, you fellers," he called out to them; "why don't you repeat the Ten
Commandments to 'em? Or sing the doxology? It'll do just as much good as
sloshing your duds around in the water. The water only makes 'em
savager'n ever. You ought to know that from experience."

By the happy thought of gently touching the gorged wood-ticks with the
point of a pin Si and Shorty had gotten rid of those plagues, heads and
all, so as to leave no apprehension as to future sores. They
communicated this method to their afflicted comrades, and then turned
their attention to the other parasites.

"I guess I'll just go down to the Surgeon's tent and git a pound of
angwintum," said Shorty, "and rub myself from head to foot with it.
That's the only thing I know of that'll do the least good."

"Mustn't do that," objected Si. "Put angwintum on you and get wet, and
you'll be salivated. You ought to know that."

"I don't care," said Shorty desperately. "I'd rather be salivated till
my teeth drop out and my hair falls off than be carried off in large
chunks by fleas and graybacks. Come along."

"Mebbe the Surgeon has something else that'll pizen these little
cusses," said Si, falling in with his comrade.

They found a clamorous group around the Surgeon's tent, asking for
"angwintum (mercurial ointment) or anything else that would alleviate
their torments. The worried Surgeon was scratching himself as he
explained to the Colonel:

"It seems to me, 'Colonel, that the rising water has concentrated all
these parasites on the higher ground over which we have come. This is
the only way in which I can account for their severe visitation upon us.
The parasites seem to have the same instinct to gather on elevated spots
when the water is rising that other animals have, and we have
consequently gathered up four or five times as many, to say the least,
as we should otherwise have gotten. But you don't know the worst of it
yet. You see those men? They have sore feet. But it isn't ordinary sore
feet. They've got chiggers in their feet."

"Chiggers. What are they?" asked the Colonel.

"Chiggers, jiggers, chigoes pulex penetrans," answered the Surgeon.
"They are a great pest in the tropics, where the people go barefooted
and do not take any care of their feet. This is the first time that I
have ever heard of them being so far north. But there is no doubt about
their being chiggers. They burrow in under the skin, and cause a great
deal of suffering. Some of the men's hands and fingers are also affected
by them. They are terrible things to deal with when they once get the
start. If this thing goes on, not a man in the regiment will be able to
walk a step."

"What can be done?" gasped the Colonel, gripping for a flea in his
bosom.

"Nothing," answered the Surgeon, smashing an insect on the back of his
hand, "except to issue a stringent order that the men must take special
care of their feet and hands."

"Humph," said the Colonel, scornfully, as he caught a bug on his wrist;
"much sense in an order of that kind, when the men have to wade through
mud and water 18 hours out of 24, and then sleep in it the other six. Is
that the best you can suggest? Is that all your conscience has to offer?
Remember that you are responsible for the efficiency of the men on this
great campaign, upon which the safety of the country depends. It will be
a severe reflection upon you if you allow them to be broken down by a
few insects."

"Great Pharaoh and Moses," responded the Surgeon irritably, as he
grabbed for "a bite" on his throat. "Here we are, confronted with a
condition of things like the curses which God Almighty sent against the
Egyptians, and you expect me to manage it with quinine and epsom salts.
It can't be done, Colonel."

"Isn't there anything that you can suggest or recommend that will
mitigate this trouble?" said the Colonel in a more conciliatory manner,
for he had just succeeded in crushing a tormentor. "Certainly, there
must be something in your pharmacopeia which will at least retard these
infernal vermin from eating my men alive. Can't you at least check them
a little until we can get through the campaign? Then the men can be
trusted to take care of themselves." And the Colonel made a swoop for a
particularly vicious flea which was banqueting on the lobe of his ear.

"I never set up as a sharp on parasites," said the Surgeon, running down
a "small deer" inside his collar; "but I remember to have read that an
application of tobacco-juice is about as effective a preventive of
insect bites as can be found."

"That'll do; that'll do," said Shorty triumphantly, as he and Si started
back to their places to act at once on the Surgeon's suggestion. "Just
the thing. Tobacker'll kill 'em deader than small-beer. Why didn't I
think about it before?"

Shorty had some strong black plug tobacco. He cut this up into small
pieces, while Si found an old tin can, into which they were put, and
then the can filled up with boiling water.

"Let's make her good and strong, Si," said Shorty, putting in some more
tobacco; "for the fellers are sock-dolagers, and it will take a horse
dose to kill 'em. They'll just enjoy a little taste o' terbacker. Make
it strong enough to bear up an aig. Now, let's git our clothes off while
it's coolin' down. You drench me, and I'll drench you, and we'll
salivate these gallinippers in a way that'll surprise 'em."

The surprise seemed to be mostly on the other side. Shorty's skin was
raw from head to foot from the depredations of the various tribes of
"epizoa," as the physicians generalize them. He gave a yell that could
be heard through the whole regiment as the acrid, biting tobacco-juice
struck a thousand little punctures in his skin inside of a second.
Everybody rushed up to see what was the matter, and stood around,
laughing and commenting, while scratching and slapping at their own
colonies of tormentors. Then Shorty began the most vehement stream of
profanity, and showered maledictions on everything in the State of
Tennessee, which was only a breeding place for fleas, woodticks,
jiggers, graybacks, niggers, rebels, traitors, bushwhackers, guerrillas,
thieves, robbers and murderers, and other spawn of Jeff Davisism.
Presently he grew violently sick at the stomach, turned deathly white,
and fainted. Frightened, Si rushed for the Surgeon.

"Only tobacco poisoning," said the latter, after he had looked Shorty
over carefully. "You made that solution too strong, and the lot of
little punctures took it directly into his circulation. You might have
killed him if you had made it stronger, or got more of it on him. I
never saw such rapscallions as you boys are. You are always trying to
kill yourselves or one another, in spite of all that I can do or tell
you. A man that's Surgeon of this regiment has to earn his money, I tell
you. He will come out all right pretty soon, only he will be very weak.
I'll send you down some whisky to give him."

"Real old rye, Doctor?" said Shorty, very faintly, and opening his eyes
feebly. "None of your Commissary stuff. This is a powerful bad case, and
I need the best."

"You shall have it," laughed the Surgeon. "I know you. You are all right
when you are all right. But you won't be able to march with the column
to-day. I'll give you an excuse from duty. And you (to Si) had better
stay with him. I'll speak to your Captain."

The bugles were sounding the "assembly" every where, and the men,
slapping and scratching as if they would tear their flesh and their
clothes off, were hastily swallowing their last mouthfuls of hot coffee
and bread and pork, snatching up their guns and blankets and falling in.

"Shelbyville is only six miles away," said the Orderly-Sergeant as he
lined up Co. Q, and clawed around his clothes at his persecutors.
"There'll be a circus to-day, and no postponement on account o' the
weather. It'll either be the gol-darnedest fight that the 200th Injianny
Volunteers ever got into or the cussedest foot-race that ever wuz run.
Here, Biles, consarn you, leave that fire and your munching, and fall
in. You're like a cow's tail always behind."

Shorty made a violent effort to rise up and join the company, but he was
manifestly too weak. Si was in sore distress. He didn't want to leave
him, but he was anxious to be with his company.

"Corporal Klegg," said the Captain, coming down the line, and giving a
frequent furtive scratch at himself, "Shorty can't possibly go with us
to-day. I'm awfully sorry, but there is no use talking about it. You
must stay behind and take care of him, and take care of these sore-
footed men who will be unable to keep up. The Colonel orders you to
command the whole outfit. You keep them together, keep up as well as you
can, and if you see any place that you can be useful, go in. I know and
the Colonel knows that you can be trusted to do that."

This made Si more reconciled to being left behind, and he mentally
resolved that, though he might not be with his beloved regiment, he
would manage to do his full share in the impending battle for
Shelbyville.

The "Second Lieutenant and Aid-de-Camp" came up. It was noticed in the
distance that he was suffering from the same causes as the others, but
as soon as he came into the immediate presence of the men his official
dignity asserted itself, he refrained from nervous pursuit of his
verminiferous assailants, and walking stiffly up to the Colonel,
saluted, and said:

"Colonel, I came to report the conduct of a couple of your men who came
under my command night before last, and who, while doing very well in
some respects, were so grossly disrespectful to me that they should be
given a sharp lesson. Unless this is done, it will tend to impair
discipline and diminish the respect which men should show officers."

The Colonel looked straight at the young officer, and noticed an
unusually large insect emerge from his collar and walk deliberately up
his neck onto his cheek. It must have been intensely annoying, but
dignity triumphed, and the Lieutenant stood stiffly as a ramrod.

"I'm very sorry to hear that any of my men should seem wanting in
respect to their officers," said the Colonel quietly, as he "attended
to" a wicked flea which was breakfasting off his wrist. "I can hardly
believe it. I have the most obedient and respectful men in the whole
army. I'm afraid you did something that provoked, if it did not justify,
disrespectful conduct."

The Lieutenant would have been different from the rest of the army if he
had not been very short of temper that morning. The pangs that he was
compelled to endure without the relief of scratch ing made him still
more irritable, and he forgot him self sufficiently to answer:

"I beg your pardon, sir, but you are in error when you represent your
men to be respectful and subordinate. On the contrary, they are the most
lacking in that of any men in the army. I am constantly yelled at by
them as I pass, and they say very insulting things to me. I'm determined
to put a stop to it, and I want you to begin with those two men. If you
don't I shall make a strong report on the subject to the General, which
may lead to your being placed under arrest."

"Young man," said the Colonel severely, as he calmly exterminated
another one of his tormentors, "you are so infested with vermin that I
can see them crawling out from your clothes. It is an insult to me to
have you appear before me in such a condition. Get out of here at once,
and never approach me again in such a condition, or I shall be compelled
to deal with you as you deserve."

The Lieutenant marched away, holding himself more stiffly than ever, and
the Colonel walked to ward the other flank of the regiment, looking so
cross that no one dared give the laugh he was bursting with until he had
mounted his horse and shout ed the command, "Forward!"

The rain actually ceased, and the sun came out for the first time in 10
long days; from miles to the right and left came sounds of infantry and
artillery firing, gradually swelling in volume. Under these exciting
influences, aided, perhaps, by a really fine article of whisky, which
the Surgeon had left, Shorty rapidly recovered, picked up his gun, threw
his blanket-roll over his shoulders, and announced his eagerness to move
forward. The sore-footed men began to feel that their feet were not
really as sore as they had thought, and they also hobbled forward. The
road by which they had camped led straight to Shelbyville, and they felt
that by following it they would have the best chance of getting into the
fight. The road was filled with cavalry, and Si and his squad worked
their way through the woods to the right to get up nearer the front and
find an infantry line.

"What in the world are they doin' with all these cavalry here?" said
Shorty fretfully. "They can't do nothin' agin the mud forts and big guns
and miles o' breastworks and abatis and felled timber that the rebels
've bin puttin' out in front of Shelbyville for the last six months.
Horses are only in the way for sich work. They must 'v'e put the cavalry
back here to be safe, while the infantry does the work. We'll git in
ahead o' the 'critter-companies' somewhere and find the dough-boys."

At last they came out on a hill which commanded a view of the country,
and halted, with an exclamation of delight at the magnificant sight
spread out before hem. The sun was now half-way up in the sky, and
shining with a brightness which seemed divine after the long period of
drenching showers. Its light was reflected in brilliance from thousands
of sabers and accouterments and the waving of flags of the cavalry
divisions which filled the country as far as the eye could reach.
Ascending the slope at the farther side of the valley was a skirmish-
line, two miles long, of dismounted cavalry men, from which rose
wreathes of smoke as it pressed steadily forward up the hill against the
rebels ensconced there. In the green fields on either side of the road,
and in the road itself, were regiments and brigades of horsemen, massed
up solidly, impatiently waiting for the progress of the skirmishers to
bring about the moment when they could be hurled against the enemy in a
mighty avalanche of war. Bugles were sounding, flags flying, and all was
intense, high-wrought, exciting animation.

The boys gave a cheer of exultation at the sight. Suddenly two little
regiments separated themselves from the rest, drew sabers, and, with
bugles sounding the charge and the men yelling, rode straight at the
infantry and the batteries defending the crest of the hill. The rebels
broke before the cavalry could reach them, and began a wild flight, with
infantry, cavalry and artillery mixed in wild confusion, and our
horsemen swooping down on them, capturing horses, men and cannon.

On everybody swept until the crest was gained which commanded a view of
Shelbyville and its famous intrenchments. From these cannon thundered
out, and long lines of infantry could be seen hurrying into the works to
repel the audacious horsemen. Si and Shorty held their breaths, for it
seemed that nothing but destruction awaited the cavalry in those
awfully-planned defenses. But the cavalry thundered on with a headlong
speed. Artillery galloped up on our side, to answer that in the works,
and the boys lost speech in amazement at seeing the horsemen tear
through the wide abatis and jump the high breastworks, while the
defenders streamed back in rout into Shelbyville, pursued every step
with yell and blow by the furious cavalry. Then came the noise of
terrible fighting in the streets of Shelbyville. Jo Wheeler was massing
every cannon that could be brought up to him in a desperate effort to
hold the town, at least, until Forrest could come to his help, or he
could make an orderly retreat across Duck River. But, bitterly as he
fought, the Union troopers fought still more savagely. They simply would
not allow the thought of successful resistance, and wave after wave of
fierce charges followed so rapidly that Wheeler's men broke and fled for
safety into and across the river.

The boys yelled themselves hoarse as they saw the stream of rebel
fugitives pour across the river and seek safety in the country beyond.

"Well, Shelbyville is ours at last, after all this waiting and marching
and manuvering," said Si, in a tone of intense exultation. "And the
cavalry took it. Wish it had been the 200th Injianny Volunteers. I've
always looked down on the cavalry, but I won't do so any more. I wish
the 200th Injianny was mounted. My gracious, wasn't it grand the way
those fellers just galloped over everything in sight breastworks, forts,
batteries, felled timber, and lines of infantry."

"Yes," assented Shorty. "I wouldn't 've missed the sight for the best
farm in the Wabash bottoms. It was worth marching 10 days in the mud and
rain to see."

"Here, Corporal," said a Cavalry Lieutenant, riding up, "I want you to
take charge of these prisoners with your squad, so we can go back and
get some more. The woods are full of them. I'll make out a receipt for
you to sign. I think there's just 100 of them. Count them over for
yourself."

"Sure," said Si, springing forward.



CHAPTER VII. THE EXCITING ADVANCE TULLAHOMA THE GREAT BATTLE THAT DID
NOT COME OFF.

"DON'T yo'uns crow too much over gittin' Shelbyville," the prisoners
said to Si. "Yo'uns couldn't never 've got hit in the world if Jinerul
Bragg hadn't a'wanted yo'uns to."

"O, come off," said Shorty. "You tried your best to keep us from gittin'
in. You put up a very pretty little fight, but our cavalry jest rode
over you."

"Thar wuz nobody thar but Jo Wheeler and his critter company," persisted
the prisoners, "and they'd fout for anything. They'd fout yo'uns for a
chaw of terbacker, and then gin the chaw back. Ole Bragg wuz jist a-
foolin' with yo'uns. He wuz drawin' yo'uns on. He made up his mind that
Shelbyville wuzn't the best place for a fout, and he'd lay for yo'uns at
Tullyhomy. He's got his whole army together down thar, and he'll wollop
yo'uns till your hides won't hold shucks. Ole Bragg's smarter'n ary
Yankee that ever lived, and he's fixed up a dead-fall for yo'uns at
Tullyhomy that'll mash yo'uns flatter'n a pancack."

"Let him go ahead with his mashin' flat," answered Shorty; "we're some
on the mash ourselves, as you fellers found out at Stone River."

"We'uns 'd 'a' welted the life outen yo'uns at Stone River, if we'uns 'd
had jest a few more men; ez hit wuz we'uns run yo'uns all over them 'ere
old cotton-fields fur two days, tuk all yo'uns's cannon, an' more'n a
million prisoners. Fust night I done thought we'uns 'd tuk the whole
Yankee army. We'uns done got tired pickin' up prisoners in them ceders
an' sink-holes, an' concluded t' leave the rest tha