Beau Hackett as a Zouave.
- Militia companies have always been popular, but never so much so as
since we war broke out. Young men with stay-at-home-and-take-care-of-the-women
proclivities, are more than ever inclined to join the Home Guards, in
consequence of increased mortality in the army of the United States, as shown
by the newspaper statistics.
- With a laudable ambition to support the Government, in any and every
emergency, I have recently become a member of the War Department myself. I
joined the Ellsworth Zouaves, a remnant of what used to be a troupe of
acrobats, who distinguished themselves all the way from Chicago to Washington,
by turning double somersaults, with muskets in their mouths and bayonets in
- There are no members of the Old Zouave battalion in the new one,
but the new one retains the name of Ellsworth because one of the members has a
brother that once saw a picture of Colonel Ellsworth’s grandfather. The names
of organizations frequently have a more remote origin than this, and many of
them are about as consistent and reasonable as a man claiming relationship to
the President of the United States because he was born in Lincolnshire, or
supposing he would be Governor if he married a governess, or trying to pass
free at a circus as a representative of the press because he is a
- I was put through a rigid course of examination before I could be
made a Zouave, and I say it with feelings of gratification and self-esteem,
that I was remarkably wall posted in the catechism. My father was a hero of
the revolution, having been caught once in a water-wheel, and whirled around
rapidly a number of times. Others of the family have also distinguished
themselves as military men at different periods, but their deeds of courage
are too well known to need repetition.
- The following is a copy verbatim et literatim et wordim of most of
the questions propounded to me, and the answers thereto, which my intimate
acquaintance with the Army Regulations and the report of the Committee on the
Conduct of the War enable me to answer readily and accurately. My interrogator
was a little man in Federal blue, with gold leaves on his shoulders. They
called him Major, but he looked young enough to be a minor. He led off with—
- “How old are you, and what are your qualifications?"
- “Twenty-two and a strong stomach."
- Then I requested him to fire his interrogations singly, which he
- “What is the first duty to be learned by a soldier?"
- "How to draw his rations."
- "What is the most difficult feat for a soldier to perform?"
- "Drawing his bounty."
- "If you were in the rear rank of a company during an action, and the
man in the front rank before you should be wounded and disabled, what would
- “I would despatch myself to the rear for a surgeon immediately. Some
men would step forward and take the wounded man's place, but that is
- "If you were commanding skirmishers, and saw cavalry advancing in
the front and infantry in the rear, which would you meet?”
- "Neither; I would mass myself for a bold movement, and shove out
- “If yon were captured what line of conduct would you pursue?”
- “I would treat my captors with the utmost Civility."
- “What are the duties of Home Guards?"
- “Their duty is to see that they have no duties."
- “What will you take?"
- The latter question may have been answered with too much vehemence,
and may have impressed listeners with the belief that I am in the habit of
jumping at conclusions. Such, however, is not the case.
- I am a Zouave; I am a Home Guard. I have been through all the
manæuvres, and can right about face; I can also write about any other part of
the body. I can do the hand-springs, and the tumbling, and the lay down and
roll-overs, which are done with or without a musket. I have been drilled till
the drill has become a bore. I have drilled in all the marches and leaps and
vaults, and in the bayonet exercises, and in all the steps,¾the
common step, the quick step, the very quick step, and the double quick step,
and the trot and the run; also in slow tune and long time, which I never
learned from my landlady nor my tailor. I can shoulder arms, and bear arms,
and carry arms, (if they are not too heavy,) and reverse arms, and support
arms, (ordinarily my arms support me,) and I can order arms better than I can
pay for them after they are ordered. I can parry and tierce, and I can throw a
hand-spring with a sword-bayonet in my hand without breaking the sword-bayonet
in more than three pieces, and I can bite off a cartridge without breaking my
- Once, when an order was given to sling knap-sacks, I slung mine out
of the window, and when the order was given to unsling knapsacks, I went out
and slung it back again quicker than any-body else could have done it. I have
got a pretty knapsack too¾there are
letters on it. It is just the thing to sit down on in the time of an action,
and is big enough for a breastwork in case of danger from bullets or anything
of that sort. It's heavy, though, and I felt that there was an immense
responsibility resting on me the first time I shouldered it. I must have felt
some-thing like Atlas did the first time he shouldered the world. It was so
heavy that, as apiece of masterly strategy, I fell back the first time I
strapped it on; and as a piece of unmasterly strategy I came near breaking my
head against the floor. The Major had promised to put saw-dust, softened with
soda-water, on the floor hereafter.
- I have been getting a Major General's uniform made. There is every
opportunity that could be desired for promotion, in our corps, where real
merit exists, and a Major General of Home Guards is not to be sneezed at. I
may have to keep my uniform a few years before I will have occasion to wear
it, but a Major General's toggery is a good thing to have in case of
promotion. I trust my friends will give them-selves no uneasiness, as I feel
sure of ultimate success in the enterprise I have undertaken. I mean to strike
the keynote of my campaign soon, and then look out for a sensation in military
- I haven't shaved my upper lip since yesterday afternoon. To-morrow
will be the third day. I mean to grow a moustache that will be an object of
admiration and envy. Mustachios are indispensable to the achievement of a
Major General-ship. Mustachios are absolutely necessary to the achievement of
anything that is useful.
- In the event of. a war between the United States and the Esquimaux,
Chicago my residence will, in all likelihood, be one of the first cities
attacked by the invading enemy, and every precaution should be taken to be
fully prepared for them. Should such attack ever be made by the warlike and
bloodthirsty Esquimaux, or any other of the great powers of the earth, and
should it be my misfortune to be unable personally to command my forces, (for
I have often observed that an invasion is productive of sickness,) I shall
take care that my second officer is a man of sufficient capacity to defend
the city as ably as I would do it myself. Should the worst come to to the
worst, I stand ready to sacrifice a substitute on the altar of my country.
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