of the Ninety-first Regiment, received an honorable discharge.
, on assuming command at Fort Macomb
, told me that the company to which I had been assigned at Ship Island
was under orders to proceed to Mobile Bay
, where Admiral Farragut
was making preparations to attack the forts.
The astonished major said, ‘What!
are you that
anxious to have your head knocked off?’
‘Oh, no, not that,’ I answered, ‘but I have a consuming desire to lead these boys where we can get a wholesome whack at this edge of the diabolical rebellion.’
My orders directed me to proceed to Ship Island
via New Orleans.
On arriving at the latter place, without stopping to even tighten my belt, I hastened to the office of the quartermaster of transportation to secure passage to my post, explaining the urgency of the request.
By way of answer, the officer said that ‘he had sent every sort of craft that could carry a major-general or a bag of oats to Mobile Bay
, and he didn't expect any boat would return within a day or two.’
‘But I've got
to go,’ I protested.
‘Have you got a sailboat, yawl, or pirogue, for I am as much of a sailor as a soldier, and I can manage anything that will float?’
The quartermaster became interested, thinking, perhaps, that the applicant was a lunatic.
Discovering that there was method in my madness, he courteously said, ‘Captain
, call here to-morrow at 10 o'clock, and if a boat comes in I will send you to Ship Island
forthwith if I have nothing but a bale of hay for freight.’
I do not know what else the boat carried, but I have a vivid recollection of the fact that she bore me, freighted with anxiety, hope, and expectation, to my destination, just in season to learn that what should have been my company had already gone to Mobile Bay
, and I had been assigned to Company ‘K,’ which was composed in part of the ‘surplus men’—odds and ends—of the ‘consolidated regiment,’—a company at least one-third larger than any other in the regiment,— and every man at the post, white
, was an entire stranger to me. I was the victim of a situation and a condition.
I might have said O. K
. at the outlook, but I didn't. I said nothing
, but went to work
. After a few days the colonel did me