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"Si Klegg, of the 200th Ind., and Shorty, his Partner," were born more than 25 years ago in the brain of John McElroy, editor of The National Tribune, who invented the names and characters, outlined the general plan, and wrote a number of the chapters. Subsequently, the editor, having many other important things pressing upon his attention, called in an assistant to help on the work, and this assistant, under the direction and guidance of the editor, wrote some of these chapters. Subsequently, without the editor's knowledge or consent, the assistant adopted all the material as his own, and expanded it into a book which had a limited sale and then passed into the usual oblivion of shortlived subscription books.
One day on the Atlanta campaign the regiment moved up in line to the top of a bald hill. As it rose above the crest it was saluted with a terrific volley, and saw that another crest across the narrow valley was occupied by at least a brigade of rebels.
We regret to say that Si, having thrown away his "Baxter's Call to the Unconverted" in his first march, and having allowed himself to forget the lessons he had learned but a few years before in Sunday-school, soon learned to play poker and other sinful games. These, at night, developed another use for the bayonet. In its capacity as a "handy" candlestick it was "equaled by few and excelled by none." The "shank" was always ready to receive the candle, while the point could be thrust into the ground in an instant, and nothing more was necessary. This was perhaps the most general sphere of usefulness found by the bayonet during the war. Barrels of candle-grease flowed down the furrowed sides of this weapon for every drop of human blood that dimmed its luster.
For the first time in his life Si went to bed hungry that night. Impelled by the gnawings of his appetite he made repeated assaults upon the hardtack, but the result was wholly insufficient to satisfy the longings of his stomach. His supper wasn't anything to speak of. Before going to bed he began to exercise his ingenuity on various schemes to reduce the hardtack to a condition in which it would be more gratifying to his taste and better suited to the means with which nature had provided him for disposing of his rations. Naturally Si thought that soaking in water would have a beneficial effect. So he laid five or six of them in the bottom of a camp-kettle, anchored them down with a stone, and covered them with water. He thought that with the aid of a frying-pan he would get up a breakfast that he could eat, anyway.
"Must grow funny kind o' hogs out there—a mile long each, I should say. What do you mean?"
Si had always been used to speaking right out when he had anything to say, and had not yet got his "unruly member" under thorough subjection. He saw that it wouldn't do to fool with the Drill Sergeant, however, and he held his peace. But Si kept thinking that if he got into a fight he would ram in the cartridge and fire them out as fast as he could, without bothering his head about the "one time and three motions."
"Silence!" again roared the Sergeant. "One more word, sir, and I will tie ye up, fer a fact!"
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