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The Joke On The Chaplain

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It was just before the battle of FredericksbHi-g, under Gen. Burnside. The Bixth Army Corps was encamped near Stafford Court House. In the First New Jersey Brigade, belanging to this corps, there were men who were at the lïrst Buil Kun battle- who, under Gen. Kearny were led to Manassas the spring following - who i'ought at Gaines Milis, White Oak Swainp, Malvern Hill, and returning from the 1 euinsula, were sent as a brigade, under Gen. Taylor, to Manassas against thirty thousand men, were out to pieces, surrounded, and escaped under cover of aarknöss as ff$ I.lw skin of tlieir tecth. fought again under Gen. Slocum at Crampton Gap, dislodging the enemy from his well-chosen position, driving all before them, then again under Gen. Torbit at Antietam. Survivors of so many battles, and sharers of the samecommon experience of exposure and service, they were bound together by no common tie. But soldiers must play as well as iight, and for the want of other material, they will play their jokes upon one another. The chaplains come in for their share. . Belonging to one of the regiments ot the above named brigade was a jolly, good-natured, f un-loving, talking Captain W - . He was an efficiënt officer, had been promoted to the position of Brigade Quarter-Master, and was always on good terms with his chapi;ün. Returning from Aquia Creek one evening, he thought of a capital joke he might play on the chaplain of his old regiment. It was easily executed- the circumstances were all propitious- and it would be so f ruitf ui in fun, on their blank and weary marching days, that the thought must become a fact. The captain, that day, among other otlices of kindness inbehalf of his comrades, had obtained and brought to camp, for a captain in the Fourth Kegiment, a gallon demijohn of whiskey. This demijohn, before being carried to its owner, must be placed in the chaplain's tent without his knowledge ;then the captain, on the plea that the demijohn had been stolen, and that a gentleman dressed in black had been seen about dusk with such an article, in the vicinity of the stafi' officers' tents of sucha reeinient, would demand tb at said staff officers' tents should be searched, and of course the demijohn would be f ound, and the guilt located accordingly. The chaplain would have the problem of its location to solve, and plenty of time to do it. That no failure should defeat his plan, the captain decided that he would executethe difflcult part of the undertaking himself ; then all would be easv and certain. It was already dark ; so taking the demijohn he walked over to the chaplain's tent, and, unobseryed, raising the side-wall, quietly deposited the same under the toot of the chaplain's improvised bunk. on wlüch he was then reclining. Then entering the tent, the usual salutations were passed, when, handing the chaplain a tract, the captain very graciously remarked, "ïhis tnict was sent you by a lady from Elizabeth, N. J., (giving her name) witli her compliments, and the request that you would give it a careful reading." The title of the traet was, "The Demon in the Demijohn." Glancing at the title, the chaplain responded, "Return my compliments, captain, in yonr letter ; thank Mis. 13. l'or her kindness, and assure her of my immediate and profound attention to The Demon in the Demijohn,' " The captain, seeing that all promised well su f ar, then took hi9 leave, and called on the Colonel and his staff, informing them of his plot, and requesting them to cali at the chaplain'a tent aimultaneously, in ten minutes, and sec the fun. Major 8. was the offlcer of the day, and was with the colonel when the captain called and stated his scheme. By the army regulations, the oflicer of the day is obliged to make search for lost or stolen articles, if required. The major saw the situation at once, and feeling particularly friendly towards the chaplain, or towards the demijohn - perhaps both - immediately on the captain leaving the colonel's tent, he said, "Oolonel, that is a nttle severe on our chaplain ; he is entitled to soine help in tlüs crisis. You go and get that demijohn, we can make better use of that than can the chaplain." Five minutes after the captain had left his tract with the cbaplain, tlie colonel willed and startled the chaplain with the annoucement, "Captain W. is pJaytng aserioua joke onyou, chaplain. lie ha placed a demijohn of whiskey In your tent, lias gone after the oilicer of the day to search your domain, and, iidmg it here, inay cause you some enibarrassment, I want it, if you have no objections. The chaplain answered, "You must be mistaken, colonel. Captain W. was here a few minutes since, and gave me this tract, from a lady in New Jersey, which I am reading. Ho wever, you are welcome toall the whiskey thereis on my premises." liaising a blanket spread over the foot of the chaplain's bunk, the colonel saw the demijohn, seized it, and left the chaplain durnb with amazement. Going to the rear of the tent, as he passed the chaplain's corner, in an undertone he said, "Chaplain, -mum is the word." "All right," said the chapiáín. lie saw, ananenceforth was "master of the situation." ïo the assistant surgeon, occupying quarterB with Mm, he said: "Surgeon, cheek Don't you falter." In three minutes Captain W. carne in; then the Heutenant-colonel, and soon the colonel, witli his adjutant and Major S., the officer of the day, each receiving a cordial greeting from the chaplain. The captain led the conversation, in details of his mishaps and ill-luck durïhg the day. "Last of all, returning home last night, some choice whiskey he had been keeping for speciflc occasions had been stolen, and the only clue he could obtain of its whereabouts was the remark made to him that a gentleman dressé"u in black was seen about dusk making his way, with a package, towards the staff officèrs' tents of the Third Regiment." The chaplain was on his feet. "Captain, I wear black. Do you intímate that I have stolen your whiskey ?" "Why, chaplain, you appear innocent; but"- "No buts, captain. Explain yourself, if you please." "1 propose that the staff oflicers' tents shall be searched, and for this purpose 1 have requested the officer of the day to assume the responsibility of this duty," replied the captain. Apparently confused and excited on account of the implication, the chaplain inquired with some vehemence, "Who is the offlcer of the day 't" "Major S.," was the reply. The major was sitting on the foot of the chaplain's bunk;the captain sat directly opposite on the foot of the surgeon's. "The chaplain, passing one of liis lighted candles to the major, said,"Major, the sooner you attend to your duty, the better I shall be pleased." The major" lifted the blanket, and With his light exposed the vacancy so recently accupied by the demijohn. The captain, leaning forward, his countenance feil. The secreted treasure was gone. His confusión was apparent to all. The surgeon, patting him on the shoulder, said, "Captain, sold! sold! I tliink." And suoh . broKe irom tne cmuimny i nuiaeni heard. They saw the fun and enjoyed it. The captain turned on the surgeon, and charged him with having taken his property ; then sought a private interview, that lie might obtain some clue to the lost treasure. But no clue was given. As the company was leaving, tne chaplain said, "Captain, that tract,'The Demon in the Demijohn,' 1 flnd it very interesting. May succesa attend your search of the staff oflicera' tents." But the laugh was too significant, or the captain's pluck too faint for further search. What became of the contenta of the demijohn no one could ever teil. The next morning, without the chaplain's knowledge, the dernijohn, iilled with pure cold water, was sent to the captain's quarters with the message, "The chaplain's conipliments, and a special invitation that the captain dine with him to-day." The chaplain, with the assistant surgeon, arranged to visit the Pickets, three miles distant, that day, and consequently had an early dinner. About twelve o'clock, the captain called at the door of the chaplain's tent and inquired, "Chaplain, what time do yo dine to-day ?" "We have already dined, as we make an early start f or our Pickets." "How'sthat? I received vour compliments this morning, and an invitation to dine with you to-day." "Soldlsold! Captain," cried the assistant surgeon ; and the captain turned on his heel, and speedily took himself away. The captain never made allusion to his lost property after this. Moral- Chaplains have their share of hazards in our army.


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