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Old December 8, 2009, 09:30 PM   #341
4V50 Gary
Join Date: November 2, 1998
Location: Colorado
Posts: 19,401
From John Coski's book, Capitol Navy: The James River Squadron, is a tale of a Confederate midshipman who was somewhat less than gentlemanly.

"William F. Clayton, a young midshipman from Georgie who was in the Academy from 1861 to 1864, recalled his own participation in one of these "incidents." IN early January 1864, Clayton returned with his class to the school ship and enjoyed a reunion with an old friend, boatswain Jim Smith. To celebrate their reunion, Clayton and Smith planned a night on the town. After a few drinks, the men went to the theater, where they found themselves seated behind a gentleman wearing a fashionably tall beaver hat. The hat, Clayton recalled, "cut off Jim's view of the stage, and he politely asked the individual to please "douse the glim." To this request, Clayton wrote, the man, "replied that he would not take in his royals--that is remove his hat."

"Now Jim was a tolerably large-sized man," Clayton continued, "and had on him the hand about the size of an ordinary spade, and letting fall his hand on the top of this beaver, it went down, with the rim resting on the owner's shoulders. Immediately, a cry was raised, 'Put 'em out." The ludicrious attempt of the fellow to get his head out of that beaver would have made a saint laugh."

Transformed from spectators to fugitives, the two sailors made their escape from the theater. Several policemen gave chase, but, having been stationed there before, the sailors knew the streets and alleys of Richmond and found their way safely back to the American Hotel. "Of course," Clayton mused, "The Richmond Examiner gave an account headed: 'Some More Ruffianism from the Navy,' but we preferred to remain quiet and let Mr. Pollard soothe his wounded arm with any use he might care to make of printer's ink."
Coski's book is available from Savas (& Beatie) Publishing.
Vigilantibus et non dormientibus jura subveniunt. Molon Labe!
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