with the utmost determination to do their whole duty when one of these Gatling guns of curses opened fire upon them.
Some reader may prefer to adjudge as a reason for this good behavior the fear of the Black Snake
, which was likely to be applied close upon the volley of oaths; but I prefer to assign as a motive the mule's interest in the advancement of good morals.
In all seriousness, however, dealing only with the fact, without attempting to prove or deny justification for it, it is undoubtedly true that the mule-drivers, when duly aroused, could produce a deeper cerulean tint in the surrounding atmosphere than any other class of men in the service.
The theory has been advanced that if all of these professional m. d.‘s in the trains of the Army of the Potomac could have been put into the trenches around Petersburg
, in the fall of 1864, and have been safely advanced to within ear-shot of the enemy, then, at a signal, set to swearing simultaneously at their level-worst
, the Rebels
would either have thrown down their arms and surrendered then and there, or have fled incontinently to the fastnesses of the Blue Ridge
There may have been devout mule-drivers in Sherman
's army, but I never saw one east.
They may have been pious on taking up this important work.
They were certainly impious before laying it down.
Nevertheless, in these later days, when they are living better lives, any twinge of conscience which they may occasionally feel must be relieved by the knowledge that General Grant
has given them credit for being able to swear a mule-team out of the mud when it could not be moved by any other process.
I have stated that the mule was uncertain; I mean as to his intentions.
He cannot be trusted even when appearing honest and affectionate.
His reputation as a kicker is worldwide.
He was the Mugwump of the service.
The mule that will not kick is a curiosity.
A veteran relates how, after the battle of Antietam
, he saw a colored mule-driver