I opened the coach door one morning and said, “I will see your leave of absence, if you please,” to an officer who wore the strap of a major.
He growled out, “Call your officer; I don't show my leave of absence to any enlisted man.”
I replied, “I am the only officer here; I have my orders in writing from headquarters and know my duty.”
He put his head out of the coach window and said, “Driver, go on.”
I called to the sentry on duty, “If that driver starts, shoot him off the box.”
The driver did not start, and after swearing awhile the major gave in, but declared he would report me,--and he did. In a few days Major How rode up. I turned out the guard, and after presenting arms stood at attention.
“Corporal, dismiss your guard, I want to see you a moment.”
Taking me one side he said, “You have been reported to the headquarters of the regiment.”
I explained the case to him. He patted me on the shoulder and said, “Corporal, you are right; you are in command of this post, and if the Apostle Paul
undertakes to go through this town, unless he wears the uniform of a brigadier-general, don't you let him go without showing his pass, and if he refuses bring him to camp.”
No corporal in the Union
army felt better than I did that day, and I was glad that the major had reported me.
In February we were relieved by another detail from the regiment and ordered to Rockville
The night before we left, Mrs. Hayes
, of one of the first families of the town, gave us an oyster supper, and her daughter, who was a pleasant young lady but a red-hot “reb,” presented me with a rebel flag.
Thirty-eight years have passed since those days, but I shall never forget the kindness of those Darnestown
people, and trust that to-day they are prosperous and happy.