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Trying to Conquer the Deacon's Scruples. 212
Si and Shorty uttered exclamations of surprise at this cold-blooded cruelty.
"Should think you were," mused the Colonel, hefting the lightened vessel. "Bugler, sound the assembly and let's get back to camp."
"No, there's not enough," said Bolivar savagely. "It's treasonable for you to say so. Our enemies outnumber us everywhere. It is the duty of every true Southern man to kill them off at every chance, like he would rattlesnakes and wolves. You are either not true to the South, or you hain't the right kind of grit. Why, you have told me yourself that you let two Yankees capture you, without firing a shot. Think of it; a Confederate officer captured by two Yankee privates, without firing a shot."
"Getting to the regiment" was tedious and hard. Shorty was still very weak from his tobacco experiment, and Si had worked almost to exhaustion in helping his sore-footed squad along. These were as eager to get back to the regiment in time for the fight, and Si had not the heart to leave any one of them behind. The roads were filled with teams being pushed forward with ammunition and rations, and every road and path crowded with men hurrying to the "front." They were on the distant flank of their corps when they started out in the morning, and did not succeed in reaching the rear of their own division until nightfall. Though worn out by the day's painful tramping and winding around through the baffling paths between regiments, brigades and divisions, sometimes halting and some times moving off suddenly and unexpectedly, they nerved themselves for one more effort to reach the 200th Ind. before they lay down for the night. But the night was far harder than the day. The whole country was full of campfires, around which were men' cooking their supper, standing in groups, pipe in mouth, anxiously discussing the coming momentous battle, and the part their regiments would likely play in it, or sitting writing what they felt might be their last letters home. All were unutterably tired, and all earnestly thoughtful over the impending conflict. None felt ordinarily jovial, communicative and sympathetic with foot-sore stragglers trying to find their regiments. Even when they were, the movements and changes during the day had been so bewildering that their best-intentioned directions were more likely to be wrong than right.Without a thought the Deacon surrendered the kettle to him, and he took his place in line. The Deacon watched him edging up toward the spring for a minute or two, and then his attention was called to a brigade manuvering in a field across the river. After awhile he thought again about his kettle, and looked for the kindly young man who had volunteered to fill it. There were several in the line who looked like him, but none whom he could positively identify as him.