But Lieutenant Clemens never got any farther than Nuck Matson’s farm-house. His ankle was so painful by that time that Mrs. Matson had him put to bed, where he stayed for several weeks, recovering from the injury and stress of war. A little negro boy was kept on watch for Union detachments—they were passing pretty frequently now—and when one came in sight the lieutenant was secluded until the danger passed. When he was able to travel, he had had enough of war and the Confederacy. He decided to visit Orion in Keokuk. Orion was a Union abolitionist and might lead him to mend his doctrines.
As for the rest of the army, it was no longer a unit in the field. Its members had drifted this way and that, some to return to their occupations, some to continue in the trade of war. Sam Bowen is said to have been caught by the Federal troops and put to sawing wood in the stockade at Hannibal. Ab (A. C.) Grimes became a noted Confederate spy and is still among those who have lived to furnish the details here set down. Properly officered and disciplined, that detachment would have made as brave soldiers as any. Military effectiveness is a matter of leaders and tactics.
Mark Twain’s own Private History of a ‘Campaign that Failed’ is, of course, built on this episode. He gives us a delicious account, even if it does not strikingly resemble the occurrence. The story might have been still better if he had not introduced the shooting of the soldier in the dark. The incident was invented, of course, to present the real horror of war, but it seems incongruous in this burlesque campaign, and, to some extent at least, it missed fire in its intention.
—[In a book recently published, Mark Twain’s “nephew” is quoted as authority for the statement that Mark Twain was detailed for river duty, captured, and paroled, captured again, and confined in a tobacco-warehouse in St. Louis, etc. Mark Twain had but one nephew: Samuel E. Moffett, whose Biographical Sketch (vol. xxii, Mark Twain’s Works) contains no such statement; and nothing of the sort occurred.]
OVER THE HILLS AND FAR AWAY
When Madame Caprell prophesied that Orion Clemens would hold office under government, she must have seen with true clairvoyant vision. The inauguration of Abraham Lincoln brought Edward Bates into his Cabinet, and Bates was Orion’s friend. Orion applied for something, and got it. James W. Nye had been appointed Territorial governor of Nevada, and Orion was made Territorial secretary. You could strain a point and refer to the office as “secretary of state,” which was an imposing title. Furthermore, the secretary would be acting governor in the governor’s absence, and there would be various subsidiary honors. When Lieutenant Clemens arrived in Keokuk, Orion was in the first flush of his triumph and needed only money to carry him to the scene of new endeavor. The late lieutenant