Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

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Sergeant Major
Apr 1, 2016
Atlanta, Georgia

"I trust I may be pardoned for relating an incident that reveals the sunny side of Longstreet's genial nature. When I visited Georgia, in March, 1892, I was touched by a call from the General, who came from Gainesville to Atlanta to welcome me to his State. On St. Patrick's Day we supped together as guests of the Irish Societies of Atlanta, at their banquet. We entered the hall arm in arm, about nine o'clock in the evening and were received by some three hundred gentlemen with the wildest and loudest "rebel yell" I had ever heard.

When I rose to respond to a toast in honor of the Empire State of the North, Longstreet stood also and leaned with one arm on my shoulder, the better to hear what I had to say, and this was a signal for another outburst. I concluded my remarks by proposing,— "Health and Iong life to my old adversary, Lieutenant- General Longstreet,'*assuring the audience that, although the General did not often make speeches, he would sing the " Star-Spangled Banner." This was, indeed,risky promise, as I had never heard the General sing. I was greatly relieved by his exclamation: "Yes,I will sing it. And he did sing the song admirably, the company joining with much enthusiasm.
As the hour was late, and we had enjoyed quite a number of potations of hot Irish whiskey punch, we decided to go to our lodgings long before the end of the revel, which appeared likely to last until daybreak. When we descended to the street we were unable to find a carriage, but Longstreet proposed to be my guide; and, although the streets were dark and the walk a long one, we reached my hotel in fairly good form.
Not wishing to be outdone in courtesy, I said, "Longstreet, the streets of Atlanta are very dark and it is very late, and you are somewhat deaf and rather infirm; now I must escort you to your headquarters.""All right,'* said Longstreet; "come on and we'll have another handshake over the bloody chasm.
"When we arrived at his stopping-place and were about to separate, as I supposed, he turned to me and said, "Sickles, the streets of Atlanta are very dark and you are lame, and a stranger here, and do not know the way back to your hotel ; I must escort you home.""Come along, Longstreet," was my answer.
On our way to the hotel, I said to him, "Old fellow, I hope you are sorry for shooting off my leg at Gettysburg. I suppose I will have to forgive you for it some day." "Forgive me?" Longstreet exclaimed. " You ought to thank me for leaving you one leg to stand on, after the mean way you behaved to me at Gettysburg."
How often we performed escort duty for each other on that eventful night I have never been able to recall with precision; but I am quite sure that I shall never forget St. Patrick's Day in 1892, at Atlanta.

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