Who I Eat With

A story in a "Letter to the Editor from a Rebel Prisoner"

from Harper's New Monthly Magazine's "Editor's Drawer"

            General Magruder is a brave officer and kind man, but filled with as much vanity, self-conceit, and pomposity as— as any general in the Federal army is. Shortly after the war commenced he was sitting one day in a restaurant in Richmond, enjoying, solus, a twelve o’clock déjeuner with rigid dignity, every button of his splendid uniform exactly in situ, and his immaculate shirt-collar adjusted at precisely the proper angle. He had hardly tested the merits of his repast when in sauntered a tall, long-haired, red-shirted private of the Louisiana First, which regiment had just arrived in the city. With the utmost coolness red- shirt sat himself down in the vacant chair opposite the General, and let into the good things before him with a zest that plainly told of long marches and previous scanty rations. This was too much for the aristocratic old officer. Drawing himself up á la General Scott, and with one of his severest frowns and the harshest voice he could command, he exclaimed, in tones of evident disgust,

            “Sir, what do you mean? Do you know at whose table you are sitting?”

            The soldier, scarcely looking up, replied, in the interval between a bite and a drink, “I know I am dreadful hungry; and I ain’t a bit particular who I eat with since I’ve gone soldierin !”

Smith, Dr. J. F., "Editor's Drawer", Harper's New Monthly Magazine, Volume 28, Issue 164, January 1864, page 282, New York: Harper and Brother's

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