experience in camp was comparatively limited.
The first summer I was on guard only once.
Then the corporal of the grand rounds tried to charge over my post without giving the countersign, because I had not challenged promptly.
We crossed bayonets, but I proved too strong for him, and he gave it up, to the great indignation of the officer of the day, who had ordered him to charge, and who threatened to report me, but did not. That night I slept on the ground outside the guard tents, and caught cold, from which my eyes became badly inflamed, and I was laid up in the hospital during the remainder of the encampment.
On that account I had a hard struggle with my studies the next year.
While sitting on the east porch of the hospital in the afternoon, I attracted the kind attention of General Winfield Scott
, who became from that time a real friend, and did me a great service some years later.
In our third-class encampment, when corporal of the guard, I had a little misunderstanding one night with the sentinel on post along Fort Clinton
ditch, which was then nearly filled by a growth of bushes.
The sentinel tore the breast of my shell-jacket with the point of his bayonet, and I tumbled him over backward into the ditch and ruined his musket.
But I quickly helped him out, and gave him my musket in place of his, with ample apologies for my thoughtless act. We parted, as I thought, in the best of feeling; but many years later, a colonel in the army told me that story, as an illustration of the erroneous treatment sometimes accorded to sentinels in his time, and I was thus compelled to tell him I was that same corporal, to convince him that he had been mistaken as to the real character of the treatment he had received.
That third-class year I lived in the old North Barracks, four of us in one room.
There, under the malign influence of two men who were afterward found deficient, I contracted the bad habit of fastening a blanket against