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[49]

Chapter 7: the winter at Muddy Branch.

The evenings at headquarters were often interesting. There was plenty of time to study, discuss and exemplify the tactics and regulations. Acting Adjutant Reynolds had a ‘wooden regiment,’ made and sent to him by his father, and these were frequently brought into use to demonstrate a movement in the tactics. This series of blocks is still preserved among his army collection.

Major Howe, or ‘JackHowe, as he was called, and Dr. J. Franklin Dyer, the regimental surgeon, were always good naturedly discussing the seniority of their respective positions, one being a major of the line, the other a major of the general (or medical) staff. This matter was brought up by one or the other of them nearly every evening, each making his claim and supporting it in strong but good humored argument. When sitting around the open fire and the conversation flagged, the major or the doctor would take a fresh cigar and between the whiffs, coincident to the lighting of it, would say to the other, ‘Well, Major—’ and all present would burst out laughing, hitch up a little closer and listen, for everybody knew that the old question was about to be re-opened by some new paragraph in the regulations or tactics which had been discovered since the last argument. But the question was never settled, and furnished material for an endless discussion. On one occasion, Major Howe, who had been studiously reading the tactics, was seen to suddenly put down the book, stand erect and say with much emphasis to Col. Hinks, ‘Colonel, I have read the tactics and army regulations through, and I can't find the first thing that a major is responsible for.’ Colonel Hinks looked at Major Howe for a moment, then replied, ‘Major, make a study of guard duty.’

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