‘The roughest looking sergeant he had ever seen’

 On this day in 1863: Private D.L. Day, Co. B, 25th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, writes in his journal while on duty at Hill’s Point:

“We were marched out and paraded, and [the inspecting officer] commenced his job. He found right smart of fault, but didn’t find a really good subject until he came to me. He looked me over, and taking Spitfire, gave it a very careful and thorough inspection. Handing it back he gravely informed me that he had inspected the whole army of the Potomac, and never before seen a rifle looking so bad as Spitfire and further complimented me by saying I was about the roughest looking sergeant he had ever seen.

“I nodded assent, venturing the remark that I had been in the artillery detail while here and my rifle had been somewhat neglected, but I had a gun on the Malakoff [a reference to Fort Fisher, designed after the Malakoff Tower in Sebastopol, Russia] that could knock the spots off the sun.

“He allowed that that was insolence and any more of it would subject me to arrest. Imagine the indignation of the chief of artillery on being threatened with arrest by an infantry captain. My first impulse was to call my command, lash him to the muzzle of the gun on the Malakoff and give him rapid transit over the tops of the pines, but better thoughts soon succeeded and I forgave him, thinking that perhaps he was doing as well as he knew how.”

 

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