A Lieutenant in the Twelfth Indiana relates the following:
Being out on a scout with a squad of his men, and becoming fatigued, they stopped at a house to see if they could get some buttermilk to drink. In their squad was a young man who had been highly educated, but who had become dissipated before entering the army, and had the appearance of one very low in life. When they entered the house, there were two young ladies sitting in the room, very busily engaged in reading, and did not seem to take any notice of them whatever. After getting their buttermilk, the young man, supposed to be an ignorramus, walked to one of the ladies, and very politely asked her what book she was reading. Thinking his question impertinent, she indignantly replied, “You would not know, if I should tell you.” “That may be true,” says he; “still, I would like very much if you would tell me.” “Well,” says she, “if you must know, I am reading Virgil.” “Ah! Virgil! And how do you like it?” “Very well; but I have come to a hard, knotty sentence here, that I cannot translate.” “Well, perhaps I can assist you about it, if you will allow me.” “You assist me! It is Latin that I am reading!” “Very well, miss. Will you be so kind as to let me see if I cannot assist you with it?” Somewhat softened by his kind and gentlemanly manner, she handed him the book, when, to her utter astonishment, he translated the difficult sentence with great ease. She now addressed him politely. “Are you an officer, sir?” “O, no, miss; I am only a private. If I had had a little better education, I do not know but I might have been an officer in the Federal army.” Surprised still more, she replied, “I am astonished! I thought I was a good Latin scholar. Here is a boy in the Federal army who can read Latin better than I can, and yet he says he is not well enough educated to be an officer. Why, sir, what kind of an army have you?” “Well, miss, we have a very intelligent army; one that knows what they are fighting about, and what they are fighting for. We have an army of men who will continue to fight until this wicked rebellion you intelligent Southerners have stirred up is crushed. Good by, miss.”
Originally posted 2009-09-27 04:58:16.