to favor him with the information as to who was the ordnance officer and where was the train?
The next minute ‘he wished he hadn't.’
quietly eyed his intruder a moment, and I can never forget those eyes, then said:
‘I think it very strange, Lieutenant
, that an officer of this command, which has been here a week, should come to me, who am just arrived, to ask who his ordnance officer is, and where to find his ammunition.
This is in keeping with everything else I find here — no order, no organization; nobody knows where anything is, no one understands his duty; officers and men are equally ignorant.
This will not do.’
Then pointing to a tent and some wagons on a knoll a few hundred yards off, ‘There you will find what you are looking for, sir, and I hope you will not have to come to me again on such an errand.’
It is needless to say, that the Lieutenant
went, and delayed not his going.
But a few days passed, and the army, now grown to 15,000 or 18,000 men, was in fighting trim.
It was evident to any observer that an attack on Rosecrans
's entrenched position was contemplated, and the order to ‘fall in’ was expected any hour of the day or night.
While this was the position of affairs, the orderly in charge of our company—a man about fifty years of age, whom patriotism and nothing else had brought as a volunteer into the war—received a letter from his wife.
Diphtheria was in the family, one child was dead or dying and others were stricken, and the poor wife begged piteously for her husband to come home.
The old Sergeant
brought the letter to his Captain
, made him read it, and begged him to go to General Lee
and get him a furlough.
W. said it would be useless, and he could not undertake to ask the General
to ‘go back on his order.’
S. then came with his letter to the writer, and while the tears streamed down his rough cheeks besought him to see General Lee
for him. How could I stand there and see an old soldier weep!
With the letter in my hand and a vivid recollection of our last interview, I sought the weather-beaten tent in the mountain ravine and found the General
sitting on a camp-stool at the door of his tent.
With a pleasant nod of recognition he inquired my business.
The letter was handed to him. He opened and read it, and as he read the expression of his face softened like unto that of a woman.
Handing back the letter he said, ‘I wish, Lieutenant
, I could send your man home to his sick children; but, my dear sir, we all went into this struggle expecting to make sacrifices ’