At the door of the Chronicle Office in Washington was a bulletin board, on which proof-slips of important telegrams were posted.
Passing the other day, said a correspondent, I found an old man there alone. Tall, erect, firm of mouth, tender of eye, nervous of nostril, of speech quick–he looked fifty or sixty years of age, and like a master mechanic. He stood close to the board slowly rolling a lead pencil down the list of killed and intently following it with his eye. He turned as he heard my step. “Young man, let me use your eyes a minute.” “Certainly, sir,” I answered. “I’ve lost my glasses–I’ve got a boy in the army–we first heard he was wounded and then we heard he was killed–help me.” He told me the name of the regiment–the twelfth New Jersey. I ran down the half column of “dead.” “Not there,” I said. “Ah!” –sharp and reserved, but there was a long relieving breath thereafter. Then I began the columns of “wounded.” Down the first one–down the second one–slowly, a little nervously, for I heard the labored breathing of the firm-mouthed old man close at my side, and through his dress and bearing was looking into his Newark home. Three or four inches down the third column I found the name. He knew I had found it before I took my finger from the paper. “Well?”–The boy is a hero if he is like his father. “In the arm and in Judiciary Square Hospital,” was my answer. I left him at the gate of the square. Next day I called at the hospital. The old man met me at the door. “All right; left arm just above the elbow: I’ve got him a furlough, and we go home to-morrow morning.” I shall not soon forget the proud tone in his voice as he said that “all right.”
Originally posted 2008-12-18 13:48:40.