Little Johnny Clem
.--A pleasant little scene occurred last evening at the headquarters of General Thomas
Of course you remember the story of little Johnny Clem
, the motherless atom of a drummer-boy, “aged ten,” who strayed away from Newark, Ohio
; and the first we knew of him, though small enough to live in a drum, was beating the long roll for the Twenty-second Michigan.
, he filled the office of “marker,” carrying the guidon whereby they form the lines; a duty having its counterpart in the surveyor's more peaceful calling, in the flag-man who flutters the red signal along the metes and bounds.
On the Sunday of the battle, the little fellow's occupation gone, he picked up a gun that had fallen from some dying hand, provided himself with ammunition, and began putting in the periods quite on his own account, blazing away close to the ground, like a fire-fly in the grass.
Late in the waning day, the waif left almost alone in the whirl of the battle, a rebel Colonel
dashed up, and looking down at him, ordered him to surrender: “Surrender!”
he shouted, “you little d — d son of a----!”
The words were hardly out of his mouth, when Johnny brought his piece to “order arms,” and as his hand slipped down to the hammer, he pressed it back, swung up the gun to the position of “charge bayonet,” and as the officer raised his sabre to strike the piece aside, the glancing barrel lifted into range, and the proud Colonel
tumbled from his horse, his lips fresh-stained with the syllable of vile reproach he had flung on a mother's grave in the hearing of her child!
A few swift moments ticked on by musket-shots, and the tiny gunner was swept up at a rebel swoop and borne away a prisoner.
Soldiers, bigger but not better, were taken with him, only to be washed back again by a surge of Federal troopers, and the prisoner of thirty minutes was again John Clem
“of ours;” and General Rosecrans
made him a sergeant, and the stripes of rank covered him all over, like a mouse in a harness; and the daughter of Mr Secretary Chase
presented him a silver medal appropriately inscribed, which he worthily wears, a royal order of honor, upon his left breast; and all men conspire to spoil him; but, since few ladies can get at him here, perhaps he may be saved.
But what about last night?
Well, like Flora McFlimsey
, the Sergeant
“had nothing to wear;” the clothing in the wardrobe of loyal liver was not at all like Desdemona's handkerchief, “too little,” but like the garments of the man who roomed a month over a baker's oven, “a world too wide;” and so Miss Babcock
, of the Sanitary Commission, suggested to a resident of your city, that a uniform for the little Orderly
would be acceptable.
and other gentlemen of the “Sherman House” ordered it, Messrs. A. D. Titsworth
& Company made it, Chaplain Raymond
brought it, Miss Babcock
presented it, and Johnny put it on. Chaplain Raymond
, of the Fifty-first Illinois--by the by, a most earnest and efficient officer — accompanied the gift with exceedingly appropriate suggestion and advice, the substance of which I send you. This morning I happened at headquarters just as the belted and armed Sergeant
was booted and spurred, and ready to ride.
Resplendent in his elegant uniform, rigged cap-a-pie
, modest, frank, with a clear eye and a manly face, he looked more like a fancypicture than a living thing.
Said he to the Chaplain
: “You captured me by surprise, yesterday.”
Now, he is “going on” thirteen, as our grandmothers used to say; but he would be no monster if we called him only nine.
Think of a sixty-three pound Sergeant
— fancy a handful of a hero, and then read the Arabian Nights
, and believe them!
Long live the little Orderly