mail for three months. Then the commanding officer ordered me to go to Charleston
by the sloop that had brought us supplies, and bring back the mail by the regular route.
I made the round trip in little more than a month.
That same paymaster whom I had found away from his post on my first arrival in Charleston
intrusted to me a carpet-bag
full of gold
, to pay off the garrison for the past six months, with as much advance pay as the officers would consent to take, so that he would not have to make the trip down for a long time to come.
I had to carry the money-bag and a revolver about with me for twenty-five days or more.
I have never consented to handle Uncle Sam's money since that time.
It was during that short visit to Charleston
that I became engaged, for the first and only time, in an ‘affair of honor.’
A young man who had been in my class at West Point
, but had resigned before the class had graduated, came to me at the hotel, and asked me, as his ‘friend,’ to deliver a note he held in his hand.
I replied: ‘Yes.
If you will place yourself in my hands and do what I decide is honorable and right, I will be your friend.
Tell me all about it.’
My condition was accepted without reserve.
My friend, whose home was in a distant city, had been in Charleston
some weeks, and had spent all the money he had and all he could borrow.
He was on the eve of negotiating a further loan from a well-known banker when the son of that banker, who had met my friend about town, told his father the plain truth about my friend's habits and his probable value as a debtor.
The negotiation was ended.
My friend had become a stranger in a strange land, without the means to stay there any longer or to go home.
It was a desperate case— one which could not be relieved by anything less than the blood of the young ‘villain’ who had told his father that ‘infamous’—truth!
I replied: ‘Yes, that is a bad case; we will have to fix that up. How are you off at ’