enough to resist any attack from a greatly superior force until Sherman
's movement could be accomplished.
I recollect even to this day a little incident of that time which was, at least to me, both amusing and instructive.
After receiving Sherman
's orders, which meant ‘suspend aggressive work and go to fortifying,’ I was directing the laying out of the new work at the most important part of the line, and the men had been ordered to commence digging, when I heard an old volunteer, as he laid aside his gun and put off his accoutrements with manifest reluctance, say, sotto voce
: ‘Well, if digging is the way to put down the rebellion, I guess we will have to do it.’
Our old soldiers had a ‘mind of their own,’ and were not afraid to let their commanders know it; yet they were essentially as thoroughly subordinate and reliable as any troops any general ever had the honor to command.
I now recall another incident which occurred a few days earlier, in which a young Indiana
volunteer was somewhat less respectful, though he had no idea whom he was addressing, nor, probably, any thought whatever about ‘relative rank.’
I had come out from my tent, before sunrise in the morning, and was performing my morning ablutions in the ordinary camp basin, preparatory to putting on my outer clothing.
None of my ‘people’ were yet up, and the night sentinel of my camp was a little way off. There came up a weary, belated soldier who had, perhaps, been trudging along much of the night, trying to overtake his regiment.
I heard him ask in a loud voice: ‘Where is the 128th Indiana?’
Not supposing the question was addressed to me, I did not look up. Then came in still louder tones and in an amended form which left no room for doubt as to whom it was addressed: ‘I mean you old fellow there with the red shirt!
Where is the 128th Indiana?’
If from lapse of time my memory may not be exact as to the number of the regiment, I am sure no apology is