- Jul 23, 2017
- Southwest Missouri
In spite of the seriousness of the battlefield some amusing things will occur. Frequently an officer’s horse will give him trouble, and raise a laugh at his expense. During the battle of the 16th, Col. George Lay, formerly of the old army, and on the staff of Gen. Scott, was serving on the staff of Gen. Beauregard.
During the early part of the day the General had dismounted and sat upon the earthwork, giving orders through his staff, and receiving reports from the General commanding the troops engaged on the right, left, and centre. Col. Lay’s horse became right restive when the shells would scream past or explode near by, and gave him considerable trouble as he held him by the bridle in the road. In front of the earthwork was a deep ditch full of water, and the Colonel's horse maneuvered disagreeably close to its edge.
Finally a shell burst close by, and the horse backed, and continued backing in spite of his (Lay's) hallooing " Whoa! Whoa!" and being dragged at the other end of the bridle. The contest between the two, brain and matter, became so intense that all the staff laughed and watched. The gallant steed was rapidly bringing his rear to bear upon the edge of the ditch, notwithstanding the appeals of the Colonel, when, with one more step too far to the rear, ker-splash! he went into the muddy ditch, leaving the Colonel upon the bank in a quandary as to what was the next proper move to rescue the brute, — coaxing wouldn't do it, and no other means could be resorted to.
And there the Colonel sat on the edge of that ditch during the whole battle watching his horse, who seemed content to be safe from the enemy's fire. When the battle was over a pioneer party dug steps into the ditch and the sensible brute was rescued.
In Camp and Battle With The Washington Artillery