Welcome to Fifth Minnesota Fiction!
Update 1-26-15: Ladies and gentlemen, the show is coming to an end. For all of you who have read, supported, and encouraged this blog and my writing--thank you. While many of these stories have already been previously published in book form, I am about to join the 21st century and publish in electronic reader format. As such, this blog will vanish into the ether March 1st. Thank you all, I hope you have enjoyed my meager offerings.
This is a blog dedicated to the essence of what my experience doing Civil War living history is all about--telling a good story. In the case of the Co. A, Fifth Minnesota, we strive to tell the stories of history--everyday lives caught up in the turmoils of strife and change. Our purpose, is to give room for some of those stories to grow, and find an end for themselves. The process of good Living History is much the same as that used to write a story, the difference is that with the written word it is the reader that acts it out in their head. With Living History, the participants take those great narratives and give them life themselves in action and word.
Here those stories we have begun can go on. I hope you will enjoy them as much as I do writing them! A word of warning though--be patient with me. Posts may be spread out a bit (I write these whenever real life allows) but something new is almost always cooking; it simply may take time to get them served up at the table.
A. Wade Jones
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Of Folly & Pards
“How they cooking up Taylor?” asked Tom Lamb, sniffing loudly and smiling.
“The pork is snapping and that first batch made some very fine grease! The eggs are cooking in it now--lord this is going to be pleasant eats, no thought about it!”
Lamb smiled, exposing the gap where he had taken a grazing kick from a mule some months back. Everyone agreed that Lamb had been lucky that the mule had not fully connected or he might have been killed. Lamb himself, superstitious as many soldiers were or became over time, had carried an iron mule shoe in his haversack which he had gotten from one of the division teamsters.
“Why spit in the eye of fortune?” Lamb would say when asked about it, “No soldier is blessed with enough luck to risk that!” Lamb was joined by Dick Scarrow and the ravenous personality that everyone called ‘Possum’--not for the common practice of the word being slang for a pal or friend, but because of an incident which occurred shortly after he had joined their battalion.
His real name was Vincent Scott, and he had arrived as a replacement for a man who had been killed in their early days of deployment. Being a replacement was not easy, as no one much warmed to his presence nor offered much in the way of advice about the rigors of the life he had been ushered into. As such it was no wonder that shortly Scott became the target of practical jokes, culminating in one pulled by none other than his now boon companions. Scarrow had pretended to take the nervous Scott into his confidence about the dangers of cleaning ones musket.
“With every charge you fire, even after cleaning it there tends to be a build up of powder in the breech” Scarrow had said, taking the unwitting Scott aside with a fatherly aire, “And if you’re not careful when you are thrusting the rod down with the jag--BOOM--it’s all over!”
“Just like that?” Scott had asked wide eyed.
“God as my witness! Lost a good pard to just such a mishap!”
Scarrow had wandered off then, rejoining the sniggering Lamb and Taylor who had been watching from a nearby bush.
“Alright, he’s primed--are you?” Scarrow asked with a wide grin to Lamb, who stood by with his musket handy.
“Sure am. I just loaded the power and wadded the paper. Should still make enough of a noise to give him fits!” laughed Lamb, his face turning red.
“Okay…he’s back at cleaning it…look how careful he’s being!” snickered Taylor, trying his hardest not to make too much noise. They watched as Scott tried his best to run his rod and jag down the bore to clean his weapon, holding it with only two fingers as though he was sure any moment it would erupt with a sudden explosion. Scarrow slapped Taylor on the shoulder, and turned to Lamb.
“Okay…let’s put him out of his misery!” With that, Lamb turned out slightly and fired his musket into the air. As they watched, Scott jerked back and nearly threw his musket away from him as he fell hard to the ground. The three men staggered out, laughing hysterically and went over to share the successful culmination of their joke on Scott.
Scott however, did not move, but remained where he had fallen. Taylor looked down at the man and stopped laughing. Lamb kneeled down and shook Scott but the former did not respond. Now men where approaching, drawn by the sound of the musket shot.
“What the hell was that? Lord, is he dead?” shouted a bearded Private from another company.
“He shoot hisself cleaning?” asked another voice.
“What the blazes is going on here?” shouted a sergeant who appeared through the ring of men who had gathered. “Who fired that shot? What’s this?” The sergeant bent down and looked Scott in the face, then stood back up and gently kicked him with his foot.
Scott’s eyes popped open, and he started to laugh. This of course only made the sergeant even more furious, prompting him to drag Scott to his feet. The reality that somehow Scott had in fact pulled his joke on them begun to dawn and Lamb decided he wanted to kill him for real this time. Of course he never had the chance, since all four of them had been hauled to the Captains tent and sentenced to work details and a three day stay in the bull pit. By the time they had come out, there never were four souls more closely knitted. For his excellent job of playing possum, Scott would forever be known as such.
“Oh Taylor! I can smell those eggs cooking! You done real good brother!” said ‘Possum’ as he slapped Scarrow on the back. Taylor finished up the preparations, and each man in turn passed over their mess.
“Taylor,” said Lamb with a worried sound to his deep voice “the eggs are grey. Why are my eggs grey?”
“Kinda grey-green I’d say”, added ‘Possum’.
Scarrow said nothing, but simply dug into his deep tin cup and spooned a helping of greasy side pork and eggs into his mouth. He sighed in contentment and nodded his approval.
“It’s some wood ash”, answered Taylor as he passed his little cellar of salt around to Scarrow.
“Wood ash?” asked Lamb incredulously.
Taylor nodded and smiled to Scarrow. ‘Possum’ had helped himself to a dash of salt and begun to wolf down his portion with abandon. Taylor looked up from his eggs and smiled at Lamb.
“Wind blew in some ash from the fire; it isn’t affecting the taste at all.”
Lamb stared down at his food in his canteen half a moment. ‘Possum’ leaned over saying “If you don’t want yours…”, but this spurred Lamb into overlooking the color. The others laughed, as Lamb smacked his lips loudly.
“Grey or not, these are good!” he said with a gap toothed grin.
The morning wore on, and all signs seemed to suggest that it would be a quiet day. Of course this was no guarantee, but after being the Army for almost a year Taylor was starting to feel he had a feel for such things. He sat back, puffing thoughtfully on his pipe whilst ‘Possum’ washed up the skillet. Taylor watched his companion scrubbing over a canvas pail that Lamb had brought up from a little stream which ran nearby their camp. The skillet slipped from his hands into the pail with a splash, and ‘Possum’ threw up his hands in frustration.
“Slippery as a fish! Why do I have to wash up, huh?”
“It was your turn.” answered Taylor. ‘Possum’ scowled and retrieved the skillet, leaning over on his stump and scrubbing hard with the broom corn whisk they used for such things.
“Well, we’re gonna need a new whisk soon. This one is about done in; what with the amount of scrubbing I’m having to do to get this burnt egg out of here.”
“I expect so. Maybe we can just cut it back again and re-wrap it?” ‘Possum help up the bedraggled whisk and cocked an eyebrow. Taylor chuckled, and blew a cloud of smoke into the air. “Perhaps not then. Well, Scarrow will likely be able to get us another somewhere.”
Lamb and Scarrow rounded the line of tents at that moment, coats unbuttoned and looking hot. They had been summoned to a short work detail over near the officer’s tents, and returned with a funny look on their faces. Lamb knelt down and poked Taylor, his face betraying his need to share something.
“Hey, we heard something! You think we’re gonna just sit here all day?” He said with a glint of mischief in his eye.
Taylor looked over at Scarrow, who frowned and shook his head. “I’m guessing that the answer is, no?”
Lamb nodded and smiled conspiratorially. “That’s right pard! He heard them giving the orders ourselves, when we were digging out the Colonels fire pit. That rain we had last night apparently made the ground shift a bit filled the whole thing in.”
Taylor blinked at Lamb. “And?”
Lamb shook his head in confusion a moment, and then chuckled. “Oh, we’re going out on a--what he call it?”
“Reconnaissance in force.” answered Scarrow. Lamb nodded and resumed his gleeful report.
“Right, what he said. Sounds fun, huh?”
Taylor shrugged. “I guess. I thought that’s what the buttermilk cavalry was for? Looking about for what’s about.”
Scarrow nodded and took a seat. “It is, but Lieutenant ‘Folly’ is bored and argued that while the cavalry is busy to our West we could poke about to the East. Captain wasn’t all for it either, you know how he is about anybody swanning off without good reason. But, the Lieutenants got some big bugs looking out for him--so the Captain didn’t have much choice.”
Taylor groaned inwardly. ‘Folly’ was the nickname many of the men had for one of their newer Lieutenants. He was ambitious, adventurous, and typical of men who attained their rank through political connections. For the most part he was harmless enough, simply a pompous man who thought too highly of himself. Of course, that described a great many officers.
“I think it’ll be a lark! Might even be fun.” Said Lamb with his goofy smile.
Taylor shrugged. “Fun? Well I doubt that. When have you ever known marching around to be fun?” Lamb just frowned and shook his head. ‘Possum’ wandered over to Scarrow and presented the whisk for his inspection.
“We need a new one. This one is done in.”
“So I see.” Scarrow turned it over in his hands, before tossing the sad looking whisk into the remains of their cook fire. It smoldered for a long moment, before bursting into bright flames and being consumed fully.
Lieutenant ‘Folly’ rode up and down along the company front with a great smile upon his face, shouting encouragement to the men. Some of the men grumbled that they just wanted to get moving, since they had already been waiting in formation for some time. For others this show of the Lieutenants only elicited yawns and giggles, but this stopped when the Captain arrived to see them off. ‘Folly’ halted his horse, and smartly saluted the Captain. Captain Arkins returned his salute, looking like a reluctantly indulgent father.
“That’ll be enough prancing Lieutenant, I want you moving. Remember my orders on this little jaunt. “said the Captain glancing at the assembled men. Only second section of first platoon had been assembled, and the lucky fellows not chosen waved and smiled in glee that they did not have to wander around as toy soldiers for the enjoyment of the Lieutenant.
“Of course sir!” responded ‘Folly’, enjoying himself.
“No further along out Eastern flank than the crossroads near Fairfax. I expect you back before four o’clock, and will want your report on the conditions of the roads upon your return.”
“Yes sir, it shall be as you request. The boys are ready and--”
“The boys have been ready for some time now. Just do as you have been ordered Daley.” Interrupted the Captain trying to speak quietly so the men wouldn’t hear the anger seeping into his voice. “I may have to allow you this farce, but I don’t have to like it.”
‘Folly’ looked stung, but saluted smartly. The Captain returned his courtesy and turned his horse at a slow trot back towards the battalion headquarters. The men of the second section watched the Captain go, and resigned themselves to their task.
“Still think this is gonna be a lark, Lamb?” teased ‘Possum’ as they assembled into a column of fours and proceeded to march away along the dusty road.
“Shut up ‘Possum’!”
“Quiet in the ranks!” shouted a sergeant behind them.
The day proved to be hot, and as the clouds of morning gave way to the clear uninhibited sunshine of mid-afternoon, Taylor wiped his brow and unbuttoned his coat. Scarrow, who marched along beside him, had taken a rag wetted by his canteen and tied it around his neck. Lamb took a short drink from his canteen and looked around him. The section had been walking for nearly an hour, the Lieutenant trotting along at the front of the column seemingly happy as a clam.
‘Possum’ patted the side of his canteen and nudged Lamb. “How long you figure we’ll be out here?”
“I don’t know. You heard the Captain though; we have to be home in time for dinner.” Lamb chuckled at his own joke.
“It’s just, it’s so hot and I only have half a canteen left.”
Taylor looked back at his friend. “Well stop drinking so much!”
“It’s not my fault! I filled it full like most everyone else before we left, but then He had us standing there in formation for so long that I started drinking on it before we’d even left.”
Taylor nodded in understanding; he had done the same thing. They had been called into formation and stood there waiting for ‘Folly’ to arrive for over thirty five minutes. With the heat, men had availed themselves of their canteens--indeed the sergeant had ordered them to drink. “Well, just go slow ‘Possum’. I don’t imagine it’s gonna get any cooler before we start for home again.”
At last ‘Folly’ halted the section on the road. A scraggly line of trees ran along the right side of the dusty track way, and though they offered very little shade the men crowded into whatever they could find. Dismounting from his horse, ‘Folly” took his reins in hand and wandered over to a large tree just a short away ahead. Having insured his horse was safely into the deeper shade; he beckoned the sergeant over and stood looking around.
“Aint that a sight!” commented Private O’Carroll pointing at the Lieutenant and his horse in the shade of the tree. “Nice to see he puts such care fer his horse, an leaves us out here to bake!”
Corporal Hashbrook frowned. “Just keep it down. Sooner we get through this, the better. Let’s not anyone make it worse.”
There were several rude comments to this, but the griping subsided. A noise caught the section’s attention and they looked up to see the sergeant salute the Lieutenant and stiffly make his way back to the column with a frown upon his face. “Alright men, on your feet!” shouted the sergeant with a bit more bite than seemed necessary. ‘Folly’ had mounted and was making his way along the road again. The sergeant, grim faced and clearly unhappy was grumbling. They hadn’t marched along for more than an hour more when they crested a hill and saw below them a small farm and a long field of beans. Working amongst the furrows a short distance away was a woman and two younger children. They stood up upon the sight of the column, the smaller of the two children skittering behind her skirts. ‘Folly’ ordered the column to halt, and moved forward towards the woman and her sun browned children. They were not dressed well, and looked to have seen better times.
“Salutations madam! “Have you seen any rebels recently?” said the Lieutenant as his horse trampled the first of rows of beans. Taylor saw the sergeant hang his head a moment, and was not at all surprised when the woman and her children simply turned and ran back towards the farm house. ‘Folly’ simply turned his horse about in the field, and rejoined the column.
“Your orders, sir?” asked the sergeant with a tired lilt to his voice which spoke volumes.
“Odd, wasn’t it sergeant?” responded the Lieutenant as the column moved forward.
“That woman’s reaction, for her to run away like that.”
“Perhaps you frightened them sir.”
“Nonsense!” responded ‘Folly’ sounding as though he thought the sergeant’s suggestion utterly foolish. There was a sudden shout from nearer the farmhouse, and everyone’s attention was there.
“What was that sergeant? What did they say?” asked ‘Folly’ loudly. He had stopped the column just opposite on the road from the ramshackle house and outbuildings, and stared down at the sergeant for answers.
“They said go to blazes, sir.” came the sergeants reply.
Suddenly the shout came again, but this time it was clear what the voice said.
“You hear me, you bastards? You try an’ take anything off us and I’ll shoot you dead! Turn around, and tell your thieving friends we aint giving up nothing more!” It was a woman’s voice, of that Taylor was sure.
The sergeant looked up at the Lieutenant and shrugged. “She probably thinks we mean to requisition supplies from her, sir. Maybe we ought to…”
“You heard her sergeant! She threatened violence against Federal soldiers, clearly she must be a rebel sympathizer!” interrupted the Lieutenant, with a fierce cast to his gaze.
“With all due respect sir, I think she’s just scared.”
“Sergeant, we are going to search this property and take into custody anyone who resists us! Form the section as skirmishers!”
The Lieutenant wheeled his horse about and pointed at the sergeant. “That was an order, sergeant!” The sergeant did an about face and joined the column.
“Attention, section! By the right file, as skirmishers--take intervals--MARCH!” He shouted hoarsely, his face red and his hands trembling with anger. The Lieutenant formed on the right, and the section formed a long single line facing the farm house. Taylor looked at Scarrow with a frown unsure of what they were doing, but his gut telling him it was wrong.
“I can’t believe this!” whispered “Possum’ loudly on Taylor’s left side. All along the skirmish line the men stood looking at one another with eyes large and full of doubt.
‘Folly’ drew his sword with an unnerving rasping sound and shouted “Skirmishers, forward at the quickstep--March!”
Slowly, they began to make their way across the bean furrows, men tripping and coughing as they kicked up the loose soil. They had made only a short progress when suddenly the woman leaned out the window and shouted once more at them. She held an old looking fowling gun in her hands, but did not aim it at them.
“I mean it! You leave us alone, I aint foolin’!”
“She’s armed sergeant--are the men loaded?” asked ‘Folly’ pointing the tip of his sword at the woman.
The sergeant didn’t even look up. “Yes sir, as ordered before we left camp.”
“Good. Fix bayonets.”
As long as they lived the men of first Platoon--second section, would remember that moment. The Lieutenant was close enough that they all heard the order that was given, and every eye went to the sergeant. Bayonets? The sergeant for his part stopped advancing, and the other men with him. He said nothing, simply staring ahead of him. ‘Folly’ advanced a few more steps, and then wheeled back about to where the men had stopped.
“Did you hear me sergeant? I told you to have the men fix bayonets!”
The sergeant looked up at last at the Lieutenant, and didn’t move. After a long moment, we looked back down, and said in a quiet but clear voice--”No, sir. I will not obey that command.”
“NO!? THAT WAS AN ORDER!” shouted ‘Folly’, his pale face going red.
“I will not obey your order sir; I think that woman and her children are not a threat to us.”
“She is armed sergeant! Fine, you are relieved! Section, fix bayonets!” screamed the Lieutenant, wheeling his horse about towards the barn again. As he did, there came a shot from the window and birdshot peppered the furrows well off to their right. While the woman’s shot posed no real threat to any of then, the loud report spooked the Lieutenants horse and it bucked hard. With an angry shout, ‘Folly’ was thrown hard to the ground, knocking him senseless. The terrified horse kicked and bucked a moment, before finally racing off over the hill from which they came. The men dropped into the dirt, muskets up.
“She shot ‘Folly’!” said Franks at the end of the skirmish line.
“Naw, his horse shied--I saw her shot go off wide to the right!” responded Doyle.
“Is he dead?” whispered Sykes.
“If only!” responded Hashbrook.
“You men stay down now.” shouted the sergeant down the line. “Cover that window boys.”
“What are we gonna do sergeant?” asked ‘Possum’.
“Whatever we have to boys! We have to get ourselves out of this pickle the Lieutenant done put us in.” came the reply.
The sergeant drew out a handkerchief from his breast pocket, and drawing his ramrod out from his musket tied the grey-white cloth to the fluted end. “Now, you boys keep quiet while I see if I can get this affair back from the cocked hat it’s been knocked into. I want you all to keep a sharp eye, but fingers off those triggers! No more carelessness today!” There was quiet agreement, and with that the sergeant crawled forward slightly and raised the rod upwards whilst waving it back and forth.
“Hey there in the house!” It was silent for what seemed like a long while. At last, the woman spoke, but did not show herself.
“I hear you out there!”
“Ma’am, I want you to lay down the bird gun!”
“Aint doing! You all get out and leave us be!”
“Ma’am that is exactly what we plan to do, but frankly I’m afraid of getting birdshot in my backside!”
They could hear the woman laughing softly, but then she answered. “I’ll not shoot any of you boys--but I want you all off my land.” The sergeant looked back at the skirmish line and nodded at them. Slowly they rose to their feet, and began to start back towards the road they had come from. The sergeant called Lamb and Doyle over to carry the Lieutenant back towards the road, both men groaning but obeying the order. As they heaved him onto Lambs shoulder, the woman cried out to them once more.
“He aint dead, is he? I wasn’t aiming at nobody!”
The sergeant shook his head and replaced his ramrod and handkerchief into their proper places. “No, he fell from his horse and dazed himself--but don’t go making a habit of waving muzzles at folks from now on!” The woman came into view in the window, and with a look of guilt set the bird gun off to the side. Her children crowded up next to her, and the sergeant could see the tears spill from her tired green eyes. He doffed his cap to her, and then followed Doyle and Lamb back towards the road.
The heat did not abate, but only seemed to grow stronger as the sun made its way across the late afternoon sky. Nearly everyone had taken turns carrying ‘Folly’ by this point, as he sprawled unconscious in the outstretched gum blanket offered up from the sergeant’s haversack. Coming to a halt at the large tree where the Lieutenant and his horse had taken refuge some while earlier, the men fell into the long grass. Between the heat and effort of lugging ‘Folly’ along, they were becoming exhausted. The sergeant had ordered everyone to strip their fatigue blouses and to march in shirt sleeves, but now the water supply was dwindling dangerously. Scarrow knelt down next to Taylor and poked his friend.
“You alright Taylor?” asked Scarrow.
“I’m not feeling so great; remind me to play hospital rat next time someone has a fancy idea like this, eh?”
Scarrow shook his head and took Taylor’s canteen, making him drink. The lightness of his canteen betrayed the seriousness of the problem they faced. Scarrow took up his own canteen and made Taylor drink some more. The sergeant came over and glanced at Scarrow knowingly, then slapped Taylor on the shoulder.
“Don’t you worry” the sergeant with a smile “Scarrow has a lot of horse sense, he knows the way home.” Scarrow patted Taylor on the shoulder and telling his friend that he’d be right back, he took the sergeant aside.
“Taylor was down with the heat awhile back. Usually it aint much trouble because he carries an extra canteen, and that seems to keep him going. But with all the rush and wait--”
“He didn’t bring it” interrupted the sergeant “Yeah, I think it’s safe to say none of us are out here feeling like this was well planned or carried off.” The sergeant shook his head and wiped his brow. “No one is much good on water, so Taylor isn’t the only one who will be suffering with the heat before we get back. Lugging the Lieutenant doesn’t help matters.”
Scarrow looked over that the body half covered by the gum blanket. “He really wanted to take bayonets to that woman and her children; it’s hard to believe even now.”
The sergeant spit, kicking dust at his feet. “She shouldn’t have been waving that fowling piece in our faces either! She was lucky no one shot her being so careless that way, but I imagine she had her reasons.”
“Given any thought to what we are going to tell the Captain when we get back with ‘Folly’ over there?”
The sergeant squinted at Scarrow a moment, and then shook his head. He looked over where the Lieutenant lay for some moments before he looked up again.
“Don’t give yourself grey thinking about it Scarrow.” He tapped his fading stripes. “That’s what these are for boy. Go tend your friend.”
When they had rested for a bit, the sergeant made them move on again. They drew lots to see who had the dubious honor of taking the first round hauling ‘Folly’, and once situated they trudged along. For Taylor, it was mostly a blur. He moved as a man driven by the promise he would be back to his own tent again soon and the constant encouragement of Scarrow at his side. The sergeant moved like a man possessed of great energy, moving up and down the staggered column keeping everyone moving. When they reached at last the picket line just beyond their encampment, they looked the worse for wear. The sight of their officer in tow as he was set action in motion and a wagon was brought up to carry them the remaining distance. Questions were shouted left and right around them, but Taylor heard none of it. As Scarrow helped him into the wagon he lost all sense of place and drifted into nothingness.
Taylor woke with a start and sat bolt upright, but was then instantly sorry he had.
“OOOH! My head feels like I’ve had horses running over it all afternoon!” He closed his eyes and lay back again, as the sound of Scarrow’s laugh filled his ears. “It isn’t funny! It hurts! Where am I anyway?”
“Hospital, you’ve been out senseless for most of a day. Orderly says you’ll be alright, but you need to watch the heat and exhaustion.” came Scarrow’s response. Taylor opened his eyes slowly; they ached with a feeling between headache and extreme fatigue.
“Careful with the heat, huh? Easier said than done down here!”
Scarrow nodded at him and frowned. “Yeah well, pard you are being cashiered.”
Taylor let his friends words sink in a moment, closed his eyes and frowned.
“The Army is discharging me?”
“That’s right pard, medical reasons. Surgeon says with your body so messed with the heat, it’s only a matter of time before it could kill you if you don’t get a long stretch of recovery.”
Taylor couldn’t believe it; he was going home from the Army. He felt a sudden panic, and realized with amazement that he wanted desperately to stay here. Despite all the many hours they had all dreamt of going home, he did not want to go.
“I can’t go home Scarrow, not like this! I got better before, why shouldn’t I get better this time?” he asked, tears in his aching eyes. Scarrow laid his hand in Taylor’s, and nodded.
“Aint no sense fighting it Alan. Orderly says the orders have been cut and you head out with the other wounded tomorrow. It’s done brother, aint your fault--it just is.”
Taylor closed his eyes, but his tears rolled down his cheeks anyway. He opened them again, staring at the canvas ceiling of the large wall tent, and leaned over slightly towards his friend in the creaky cot he lay in.
“You saved my life Scarrow. You kept me moving out there; I would have died out there if not for you.”
Scarrow smiled thinly and put out his hand. Taylor took it in his own hand and squeezed it tightly. “You know,” continued Taylor with sudden emotion making his lip quiver, “I’m your friend forever more Dick. You ever need anything--anything--and I’ll be there for you.”
Scarrow sniffed, his eyes welling up slightly. He let go of Taylor’s hand, and nodded. “We had some good times,” he answered as he turned to make his way out of the tent, “we certainly did.”
“Wait! What happened with the Lieutenant? Did the sergeant catch it for refusing back there in the field?” asked Taylor suddenly, feeling as though his grasp on this world he had lived in was slowly fading away. Scarrow stopped and shrugged.
“Nothing came of it. ‘Folly’ knocked himself silly and can’t remember what happened beyond how rude the sergeant was before that rabbit spooked his horse and he took a tumble. The Captain was so furious over the whole affair I rather think--big bugs or not--the Lieutenant will catch hell.”
“But there wasn’t any rabbit…” Taylor smiled as Scarrow tapped the end of his nose knowingly.
“I’ll come back and see you with the boys later.” said Scarrow with a wave as he left the tent. He brushed past an orderly who made his way beyond where Taylor’s cot rested, and on into the rest of the ward. Somewhere in the camp beyond the hospital tent, a soldier played ‘Home Sweet Home’ as his pards sang along.