and were apt to be fired upon during these.
Along the farther side of what we called the “Debatable land” there was a line of cottages, hardly superior to negro huts, and almost all empty, where the Rebel
pickets resorted, and from whose windows they fired.
By degrees all these nests were broken up and destroyed, though it cost some trouble to do it, and the hottest skirmishing usually took place around them.
Among these little affairs was one which we called “Company K's skirmish,” because it brought out the fact that this company, which was composed entirely of South Carolina
men, and had never shone in drill or discipline, stood near the head of the regiment for coolness and courage,--the defect of discipline showing itself only in their extreme unwillingness to halt when once let loose.
It was at this time that the small comedy of the Goose occurred,--an anecdote which Wendell Phillips
has since made his own.
One of the advancing line of skirmishers, usually an active fellow enough, was observed to move clumsily and irregularly.
It soon appeared that he had encountered a fine specimen of the domestic goose, which had surrendered at discretion.
Not wishing to lose it, he could yet find no way to hold it but between his legs; and so he went on, loading, firing, advancing, halting, always with the goose writhing and struggling and hissing in this natural pair of stocks.
Both happily came off unwounded, and retired in good order at the signal, or some time after it; but I have hardly a cooler thing to put on record.
Meanwhile, another fellow left the field less exultingly; for, after a thoroughly courageous share in the skirmish, he came blubbering to his captain, and said,--
“Cappen, make Caesar
gib me my cane.”