Ray bowed with laughing grace, and sung out cheerily, "Don't expect the major home just yet, Mrs. Stannard; he's giving me fits, and I'm in for a lecture." The ladies were silent a moment, until the pair had passed on out of earshoot. Then Mrs. Turner took up the cudgels again. "And yet, Mrs. Stannard, it wasn't so when Mr. Truscott was adjutant.
"In Illinois," I answered. "You will soon see your wife and child. I shall start in the morning with my division for Adam-on-Diamond. You are at liberty to select two of your comrades and go with me as guide to pilot us there. Be ready for an early start and report to my adjutant." "Thank you, sir, I will do as you request," said I. The next morning I selected two good men.
Major C.G. Johnson, M.C., who was adjutant of the 7th N.F. when I joined the battalion, was now attached to B.H.Q. as Assistant-Staff-Captain. He was an exceedingly able man, and had a good knowledge of military law. We all liked him well as adjutant of the battalion, and our relations at B.H.Q. were always friendly. He left us eventually to become D.A.Q.M.G. in a higher Staff formation.
Major Wilson, our regimental commander, fell mortally wounded; Lieutenant Kirk was killed, and also Captain Stopfard, Adjutant General of the brigade. Lieutenants Cobb and Mitchell dropped with wounds that proved fatal in a few days.
Back of the adjutant stood the cadet officer of the day and Captain Vesey, of the Army, who was the tac. doing duty as O.C. The calling of the roll, while the cadets stood in ranks, wondering, brought a surprise to Captain Vesey. Every cadet supposed to be in camp was present or satisfactorily accounted for.
"Captain Haller Major Twing," said Clayley, introducing me. "Happy to know you, Captain. Can you find seats there? No. Come up this way. Cudjo, boy! run over to Colonel Marshall's tent, and steal a couple of stools. Adge, twist the neck off that bottle. Where's the screw? Hang that screw! Where is it anyhow?" "Never mind the screw, Mage," cried the adjutant; "I've got a patent universal here."
A corporal of the guard, with a couple of men, was on hand to keep vigilant eye on the arrivals and to persuade certain proscribed parties to re-enter the cars and go on, should they attempt to revisit the post, and the faces of these were lighted up as they saw their old adjutant; but none others of the garrison appeared. "Let us wait a moment and get these people out of the way," said Armitage.
This is one of the most important and responsible offices in the regimental organization. The duties are manifold, and often thankless and unappreciated. Colonel Kennedy, of the Second, appointed as his Adjutant E.E. Sill, of Camden, while Colonel Nance, of the Third, gave the position to his former Orderly Sergeant, Y.J. Pope, of Newberry.
While the adjutant was yet reading, in a low and solemn voice, the service for the dead, a fierce and distant yell, as if from a legion of devils, burst suddenly from the forest, and brought the hands of the startled officers instinctively to their swords. This appalling cry lasted, without interruption, for many minutes, and was then as abruptly checked as it had been unexpectedly delivered.
Then, taking Tutmosis aside, the adjutant declared to him directly that the troops were demoralized; that, because they had fled in a panic, as many were wounded and killed as in a battle. "What is happening now with the troops?" inquired Tutmosis in consternation. "Of course," replied the adjutant, "we were able to rally the men and bring them to order.