Join Date: November 2, 1998
Militia Muster (final installent)
In our final installment, we learn the difficulties of the militia.
It may be thought an easy matter by the inexperienced to form a company of men into a straight line; but if it is so, our militia captains have never discovered that fact. They commence at one end of the winding line, and with threats, entreaties, and much trouble to get a tolerably fair and straight row, especially if there be any corn-ridges in the immediate neighborhood, but, unfortunately, before they reach the other extreme, their soldiers having a predisposition for Mahometanism, are generally in a crescent, and then they are compelled to begin afresh. And thus we have seen them go on for hours and hours, and at last end of their labours, not being in much better array or condition than at the beginning of their arduous and impossible undertaking. Tall, low, long, short, thin, and fat, old and young, men and boys, clothed with fur and wool hats, caps, and no hats at all; cloth coats and jeans, calico and linsey, and no coats at all; boots, shoes, and moccasins, and no shoes at all; new and old pants, white, black, and striped, and no pants at all; shirts ruffled and unruffled, white, black, green, and gray, cotton, linen, and calico, and no shirts at all - are all mingled together in the most beautiful and checkered confusion, giving a motley and ludicrous appearance to the ununiformed, straggling, and crooked corps.
The officers are generally the most silly and ignorant men of the community, for none but such will seek a command in so farcical a concern as a militia company; and most frequently elected, as the saying is, unanimously, for they are considered most “unanimous fools,” and no one will vote either for or against them. As for a knowledge of military tactics, they never dream of any such thing. They are unable (with a few exceptions, of course) to form even a straight line, unless they have the assistance of a ditch or a corn-row, and as for giving any other orders save “About face!” to which they add “right!”) “March!” it is a thing not only unknown but unheard of. Those who can read are accustomed to carry “Scott’s Tactics” in their pockets, from which they read out the different commands for manoeuvres, but as for knowing what it is then to be done, after spelling through the various movements, they don’t think of such a thing, for it is none of their business. They are placed there to give the orders, and it is the duty of the company to obey; and if they fail to do so, then it is their own fault, for their skilful captains have read out all the necessary instructions as plain as Scott himself could give them.
If militia musters were like this, I'd attend too for fun & food.
Vigilantibus et non dormientibus jura subveniunt. Molon Labe!