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[287] approach his mules that were standing unhitched from the wagons, when, presto! one of them knocked him to the ground in a twinkling with one of those unexpected instantaneous kicks, for which the mule is peerless. Slowly picking himself up, the negro walked deliberately to his wagon, took out a long stake the size of his arm, returned with the same moderate pace to his muleship, dealt him a stunning blow on the head with the stake, which felled him to the ground. The stake was returned with the same deliberation. The mule lay quiet for a moment, then arose, shook his head, a truce was declared, and driver and mule were at peace and understood each other.

Here is another illustration of misplaced confidence. On the road to Harper's Ferry, after the Antietam campaign in 1862, the colored cook of the headquarters of the Sixtieth New York Regiment picked up a large and respectable looking mule, to whom, with a cook's usual foresight and ambition, he attached all the paraphernalia of the cook-house together with his own personal belongings, and settled himself down proudly on his back among them. All went on serenely for a time, the mule apparently accepting the situation with composure, until the Potomac was reached at Harper's Ferry. On arriving in the middle of the pontoon bridge upon which the army was crossing, from some unexplained reason — perhaps because, on looking into the water, he saw himself as others saw him — the mule lifted up his voice in one of those soul-harrowing brays, for which he is famous — or infamous — and, lifting his hind legs aloft, in the next moment tossed his entire burden of cook and cookhouse into the river, where, weighted down with messkettles and other utensils of his craft, the cook must have drowned had not members of the regiment come to his rescue. Not at all daunted by this experience, the cookey harnessed the mule again as before, led him across the remaining portion of the bridge, where he remounted and settled himself among his household goods once more, where

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Harper's Ferry (West Virginia, United States) (2)

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1862 AD (1)
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