and in the stampede of the wagon-train most of my baggage was lost, which leaves me nearly destitute. . . . . Williams says I look ten years older since I returned from Rebeldom; but I am well and hearty, though this work is enough to make the youngest old.
At South Mountain
the writer met him, and he expressed a modest satisfaction that, joining the regiment as he did in the field, very young, and being at the outset unknown to most of the officers, he had succeeded in gaining their respect.
A boy fresh from college, he might well be pleased to have successfully endured the severe scrutiny of older men; but his gallantry was already known beyond the limits of his regiment.
Three days later, at Antietam
, he had another chance to prove his manhood, and he showed himself equal to the need.
Most of the men of his regiment were killed or wounded, and hardly an officer remained unhurt.
‘Then,’ he says,
they seemed to come to me for orders, as I was the only field or staff officer left.
After the color-sergeant was shot, I ordered three different men to take the colors up, and saw one after another wounded; and when the last fell, I had not the heart to order another up, so I picked them up and brought them off myself, till we were out of danger, and then gave them to one of the men.
For this he was honorably mentioned in the report of his brigade commander.
But his labors did not end here.
As soon as his regiment was sent to the rear, he rode to Colonel Coulter
, now commanding the brigade in the absence of General Hartsuff
, wounded, and offered his services, which were accepted.
For the rest of that day, and for several days afterwards, he accordingly did double duty, as Adjutant
of his regiment and as Acting Assistant Adjutant-General
of the brigade.
In the same month of September, Lieutenant Dehon
was detailed as Acting Aid-de-Camp to Major-General Meade
, then temporarily commanding the Twelfth Army Corps.
He was present in his new position at the review when the President
visited the army, shortly after the battle of Antietam
, and it seems to have suggested a contrast to his mind.
‘I notice ’