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How true they are to nature every veteran can abundantly testify from his own service. Really, only the name of the regiment was invented. There is no doubt that there were several men of the name of Josiah Klegg in the union Army, and who did valiant service for the Government. They had experiences akin to, if not identical with, those narrated here, and substantially every man who faithfully and bravely carried a musket in defense of the best Government on earth had sometimes, if not often, experiences of with those of Si Klegg, Shorty and the boys are strong reminders.
Uncle Sam generally furnished Si with plenty of coffee—roasted and unground—but did not supply him with a coffee mill. Si thought at first that the Government had forgotten something. He saw that several of the old veterans of '61 had coffee mills, but he found on inquiry that they had been obtained by confiscation only. He determined to supply himself at the first opportunity, but in the meantime he was obliged to 'use his bayonet as a substitute, just as all the rest of the soldiers did.
By a gradual process of development his appetite reached the point when he could eat his fat pork perfectly raw. During a brief halt when on the march he would squat in a fence corner, go down into his haversack for supplies, cut a slice of bacon, lay it on a hardtack, and munch them with a keen relish.
When the hour was up the Captain of the company came around to see how the boys were getting along. The upshot of it was that poor Si was immediately organized into an "awkward squad" all by himself, and drilled an extra hour.
"I now take my pen in hand to let you know that I am well, except the doggoned blisters on my feet, and I hope these few lines may find you enjoying the same blessings."
"Shorty," said Si, as they slowly walked back to eat their supper, which had been neglected in the excitement of the hour, "before Co. Q left Posey County to jine the rigiment a feller 't was home on furlow told me ter let my finger-nails grow long 'n' sharp. He said I'd need 'em. I didn't know what he meant then, but I b'lieve I do now."
Si's knapsack had experienced the universal shrinkage, as told in a previous chapter of our hero's martial career. He still had, however, a good many things that he thought he couldn't spare, but which he found later he could very well get along without.
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