Monday, July 22, 2013

Men in Battle, Boys in Camp.

This is one of my favorite stories of the Howitzers, From the book --

REMINISCENCES of the First Company Richmond Howitzers

It was at Mead's Farm that a piece of fun occurred. At the battle of Manassas, an ambulance with a horse was captured. The ambulance was a clumsy affair, shaped like a large box poised up on two wheels, with a seat in front, and doors in the rear, with shafts attached to it. At Fairfax Court House two recruits, brothers, joined the Company, Benjamin and John Grover. Benjamin was the youngest, not over sixteen or seventeen years old. He was as wild and unlettered as a Comanche Indian. Ben was detailed as driver of the ambulance, he used it to sleep in. One night, when he was sleeping soundly, a cannoneer tied his feet to the seat, and threw the shafts up. His feet were up and his head down, he bellowed like a good fellow. His brother came to his assistance, and cut him down.

Ben complained to Captain Shields of the treatment he had received. The Captain took the situation in at once and told Ben that he should have re- dress for the ill treatment. The Captain said that he would hold the guard that was on duty the night it occurred responsible. The guard consisted of six cannoneers. They were court-martialed. Everything was conducted in accordance with army regulations, charges, specifications, and finding of the court. Lieutenant Henry Williams was judge-advocate; Taylor Martin was the matter. He called Benjamin to him and lectured him upon the evil of cursing, and if he continued where it would land him. After the Captain concluded he paused, and asked Ben, "What good does it do to curse the horse"?
  Ben promptly replied, "It makes the old scoundrel stand still when I am currying him." The Captain turned off with a smile on his face. He had been lecturing the boy for half an hour and had produced no effect whatever. The seed had fallen on stony ground and brought forth no fruit,

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