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[109]

A telling one on President Lincoln.

In one of the companies, of the ‘Old Fifteenth’—I think Company E—there was a tall, stout, robust fellow; a dare—devil, rollicking chap, who gloried in a fight; in the Sharpsburg fight when about half the regiment had been killed and wounded my comrade and hero, ‘Beauregard’—a nickname given him in the regiment—was badly wounded and left on the field; the enemy already in superior force and receiving additional reinforcements drove us from that part of the terrible field, compelling us to leave ‘Beauregard’ with many others; he was taken to the Federal field hospital, where he received as good attention as the crowded condition permitted.

A bright, sunny day of the week following the great battle, there was a grand review of the Federal army which had failed to defeat ‘Marse Robert's’ veterans. President Lincoln did the reviewing, riding a tall horse—both rider and steed being tall—and all under a very tall silk hat. The President was not considered a striking military figure (he was at his best as a tall, gaunt, rawboned, angular citizen in ill-fitting clothes and awkward manners). Our wounded hero, with other badly wounded comrades had been brought out on stretchers and placed on cots in front of the hospital, doubtless with the idea of impressing them with the grand parade: several hundred pieces of artillery had passed in most imposing array when the President rode up and drew reins near our ‘Beauregard’ whom he noticed and thus addressed: ‘Now, Johnnie, tell me what do you think of our artillery, honest, now, a square opinion?’

“Well, Mr. President, I will tell you, it surely does look fine, and there's lots of it too. In our army we haven't got so much, but it looks jest like yours, on nearly all the limber chests there's the letters U. S. same as yours.” This retort courteous, and straight from the shoulder greatly pleased Mr. Lincoln, who never failed to see and enjoy a good joke no matter at whose expense, or whose undoing.

The kindly and tactful Lincoln was quick to see such a palpable hit, he knew full well how often the ranks of the Federal Army had been rent, shattered and torn by the captured ‘U. S.’ guns so well served by the Confederate artillerists.

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