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Poor Si scarcely dare to breathe. He hoped the man would think he was dead, and therefore no longer of any account. But the soldier began to prod him with his bayonet, ordering him to get up and move on.
"I suppose so," he said sullenly.
The fact was that Si and his companions hardly had a fair shake in this respect, and entered the field at a decided disadvantage. It had been customary for a regiment to be constantly drilled for a month or two in camp in its own State before being sent to the front; but the 200th was rushed off to Kentucky the very day it was mustered in. This was while the cold chills were running up and down the backs of the people in the North on account of the threatened invasion by Bragg's army. The regiment pushed after the fleeing rebels, but whenever Suell's army halted to take breath, "Fall in for drill!" was shouted through its camp three or four times a day. It was liable to be called into action at any moment, and it was deemed indispensable to begin at once the process of making soldiers out of those tender-footed Hoosiers, whose zeal and patriotism as yet far exceeded their knowledge of military things. Most of the officers of the 200th were as green as the men, though some of them had seen service in other regiments; so, at first, officers and non-commissioned officers who had been in the field a few months and were considered veterans, and who knew, or thought they knew, all about tactics that was worth knowing, were detailed from the old regiments to put the boys through a course of sprouts in company and squad drill.
By the time Si had been in the service a year there was less zeal in the enforcement of orders of this kind, and Si had become a very skillful and successful forager. He had still been unable to reach with his bayonet the body of a single one of his misguided fellow citizens, but he had stabbed a great many pigs and sheep. In fact, Si found his bayonet a most useful auxiliary in his predatory operations. He could not well have gotten along without it.The old Kentuckian declared that he was a "union man," and that he would demand of the Government full revenge for this outrage. It was noticed that there were no young men around as there should be according to the economy of nature, to preserve the balance of sex in so large a family. The officer in command asked him where all his sons were.
"What company do you belong to?"