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He was thrifty and provident, and believed in being ready for any emergency. His friends and family coincided with him. The Quartermaster provided him with a wardrobe that was serviceable, if not stylish, but there were many things that he felt he would need in addition.
The bully of the 200th took it into his thick head one day to try to "run over" Si. The latter had just filled his canteen, and the bully found that the momentum of three pints of water swung at arm's length by an angry boy was about equal to a mule's kick.
But for a long-time Si's stomach was in a state of chronic rebellion, and on the whole he had a hard time of it getting used to this staple article of army diet. He did not become reconciled to it until after his regiment had rations of flour for a week, when the "cracker-line" had been cut by the guerillas and the supply of that substantial edible was exhausted. Si's experience with the flour swept away all his objections to the hardtack. Those slapjacks, so fearfully and wonderfully made, and those lumps of dough, mixed with cold water and dried on flat stones before the fire, as hard as cannon balls, played sad havoc with his internal arrangements. For the first time he was obliged to fall into the cadaverous squad at sick-call and wabble up to the doctor's shop, where he was dosed with castor-oil and blue-mass. Si was glad enough to see hardtack again. Most of the grumbling he did thereafter concerning the hardtack was because he often couldn't get enough.
As a general combustion of powder by the armies of Buell and Bragg was hourly expected, it was thought best for the 200th to learn first something about shooting. If called suddenly into action it was believed the boys could "git thar," though they had not yet mastered the science of company and battalion evolutions. Co. Q was divided into squads of eight for exercise in the manual of arms. The man who took Si's squad was a grizzled Sergeant, who had been "lugging knapsack, box and gun" for a year. He fully realized his important and responsible functions as instructor of these innocent youths, having at the same time a supreme contempt for their ignorance. "Attention, Squad!" and they all looked at him in a way that meant business.
"You jest do 's I tell ye; let 'em grow, 'n' keep 'em right sharp. Ye'll find plenty o' use fer 'em arter a while, 'n' 'twont be long, nuther. I know what I'm talkin' 'bout; I've been thar!"
"Look a' thar," he said to Shorty. "What 'n name of all the prophets 's them fellers up to?"
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