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[345] away from the ford; and I remember what a jolly night the troops made of it when they came to this ford. At short intervals I was awakened from slumber by the laughter or cheers of the waders, as they made merry at the expense of some of their number, who came out after immersion using language which plainly indicated their disbelief in that kind of baptism. Here was the field for the tired, overloaded “Headquarters” in trouble. headquarters mule to display his obstinacy to a large and changing audience, by getting midway of the stream and refusing to budge. I can see the frenzied Ethiopian in charge, now, waist-deep in water, wild with despair at the situation, alternating reasoning with pulling and beating, while the brute lies down in the stream all encumbered with the baggage, the passing column jeering poor Sambo, and making the adjacent woodland echo with their loud guffaws at his helpless yet laughable condition.

That was a noisy night, and it has always been a matter of wonder to me that we remained undisturbed, with the enemy less than three miles up the river, as General Birney, with whom we then were, has left on record. There was no stopping to wring out. But “close up!” was the order after

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David B. Birney (1)
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