Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 31.djvu/115

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In a Louisiana Regiment. 107

right, Cap. ; I want to serve my country. Just give me your list and I will sign." " Oh, no, my boy; we don't manage in that way; but just step across the street to the office of the justice of the peace and take the enlisting oath, and I will attend to the rest," said I. 4 'Ain't you going to give me something? Gim'me a dollar," said the dodger. Handing him the money, we entered the office of the venerable Judge Walker, and the young fellow was shortly after a Confederate soldier. As soon as he had taken the oath, he re- marked, a smile of cunning on his face, that he would meet me next day in time to catch the New Orleans boat. " No," I said. " There will be no more parting. The constable will take you down under the hill where the other recruits are quartered, and there you will remain strictly guarded until we leave." The smile instantly van- ished; he was sobered by the intelligence, and quietly remarked:

41 Well, I'll be d d if I ain't trapped!" He had a father and

several sisters whom I had not taken into account, who soon came weeping and begging for the release of the worthless vagabond. I thought of the great relief of the taking off of the fellow would be to the townspeople, and remained obdurate and hard-hearted. Be- sides, I had no right to discharge an enlisted soldier. The boat was due about noon, and not caring to march on board at the head of my Falstaffian army, I appointed a corporal from among my embry- onic heroes, with strict instructions to take on board, whether

he would or not. Hearing the boat's whistle shortly after, I started for the landing. What a picture presented itself to my vision! Some forty men, most of whom were drunk as lords, were marching two by two, singing "Dixie," while the rear was brought up by three of the strongest, partly dragging and partly carrying the only native among my recruits, and those in turn were followed by an old father and the sisters imploring the men to turn "Buddie" loose, and when tears and prayers failed to soften the hearts of the soldiers, they showered imprecations good and strong upon their heads. " Buddie " was taken aboard and seated upon the capstan by a big raftsman detailed for the purpose. " Set thar, sonny, and stop your whimpering, er I'll turn you up 'an spank ye," said the big fellow. Buddie heeded not, but gazing ashore at his weeping relatives and familiar scenes of his childhood, exclaimed: "Well,

I'll be d d. They have got me off to the war at last, and I

wouldn't give a picayune for my life."

My recruits reached camp in due time, and most of them proved excellent soldiers, and many finally fell in the front ranks in battle,