Friday, October 18, 2013

Howitzer shenanigans !

An amusing story from-- 
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 situ- 
ation 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 Avas on duty the night it 
occurred responsible. The guard consisted of six can- 
noneers. 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
 prosecuting attorney; Robert Styles was Benjamin's
 counsel. The finding of the court was, that the 
guard was guilty, and the punishment named was that 
each member of the guard was to be bumped three times, 
kneeling on all fours, using Benjamin as a battering 
ram. I was appointed sheriff, to execute the sentence. 
I appointed James Ellett my deputy. Several of the 
guards were staid and dignified fellows, and they did 
not relish the procedure, yet there was no evading it. 
The speeches made were of the highest order, and 
abounded with wit, humor and pathos. 

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