the honor to call on me and read me a letter from General T. W. Sherman
, ordering him to ‘detail an officer to act as ordnance and artillery officer.’
‘None of my old officers,’ he said, ‘have any knowledge of ordnance or heavy artillery.
You, I have been informed, are well up in these branches, and I have instructed the adjutant to make out an order detailing you, with your company, for this service.’
To have him whose fame as a battery commander was a household word throughout the United States
(and the so-called ‘Confederate States of America
,’ as well) for my superior officer caused me to forget my Mobile Bay
On my first inspection I found two 100-pounder Parrott guns, and five eleven-inch Dahlgren
guns, all mounted in sand batteries, and all save the Parrotts practically unserviceable.
As for ordnance stores, the post lacked almost everything.
I immediately made out a requisition for such stores as I deemed essential, and referred it to the colonel, who said, ‘The war will be over before your requisition will be filled.’
‘On the contrary,’ I replied, ‘it will be filled by return boat, or Sherman
will give me a cursing that will be heard in Washington
The first steamer from New Orleans brought every article for which I had made requisition—not omitting the garrison gin and gin-sling, which were not brought in bottles.
‘I guess old Tom Sherman
knows you,’ was the colonel's comment as the stores were landed on the wharf.
‘I apprehend he will know
me before he is done with me,’ I replied, ‘for I have a report on the condition of the batteries which I would like to have you sign and transmit to the general by this boat.’
The report was forwarded.
It came back, with a Shermanese double-shotted letter.
In language that didn't look well as written nor sound heavenly when spoken, the general ordered the colonel to send the fool captain where he belonged, and detail the best officer he had, as he was originally ordered to do. The colonel was somewhat scared.
I was happy.
‘Please leave the report with me,’ I said, ‘and I will trump the general's trick.
Since I have been kicked by a government mule, I don't shy at trifles.’
The second report proved sufficient to bring the inspector-general
of the defences of New Orleans down upon me about five o'clock one