and observed in a tone of great dissatisfaction to the friends who had hurried in, supposing that he had been killed, “Plague that shell!
It has split my hair brush.”
Of course this was an affectation of indifference, for no man can knowingly escape, almost by a miracle, from a terrible death, and really remain unmoved; but even affectation may be admired where it evinces pluck.
They all laughed at their perils, and took a sort of pride in making light of them.
Yet I think that none of those soldiers who have now sobered down into middle aged men, and have lost their youthful exuberence of spirit, would care to go back and repeat their experiences at Morris Island
and Fort Sumter
Many of those who survive still dream of the old times occasionally; in slumber they fancy that they are lying on the well known parapet, by the cannon, waiting and watching for the foe; or imagine that they again hear the shells bursting around them.
Colonel Alfred Rhett
and the gentlemen who messed with him, had just sat down to dinner one day when a shell interrupted their frugal feast by dropping into the middle of the table, wounding several officers, and filling the casemate with a blinding blast of powder, and a shower of bricks and mortar.
Several individuals rushed in at once, to see if the commander, or any of the others had been killed; amongst these was Colonel Rhett
's faithful old negro servant, Dick
; as soon as he perceived that his master had not been destroyed he proceeded to take a very practical view of the situation, looking with profound disgust and melancholy at the chaotic pile of rubbish composed of about a cart load of bricks, and the fragrants of the table, crockery, etc., he said slowly, shaking his head despondently.
“All the dinner is gone, and God only knows where we are to find any more.”
The regulars were very particular as to the good appearance of their guns, their dress, and everything appertaining to them; those who were disposed to be critical, even called them dandies.
In summer the officers often wore as an undress uniform, white linen suits, set off and rendered military by their brass buttons and handsome scarlet “kepis.”
This costume was far more suited to a Southern garrison than the heavy padded broad-cloth regulation uniforms which they always were obliged to wear on parade.
Soon after sun-rise one morning during the bombardment, Colonel Rhett
went upon the parapet to examine through his field-glass the progress of the Federals
works on Morris Island
He was dressed all in white, and standing just at the head of the steps that led up to the parapet, with the rays of the eastern sun striking full on his tall figure, and the dark piles of sand bags on either hand, he presented a fine