Something unusual was going on at division headquarters. The men in the nearest regimental camps, regular and volunteer, were "lined up" along the sentry posts and silently, eagerly watching and waiting. For a week rumor had been rife that orders for a move were coming and the brigades hailed it with delight. For a month, shivering at night in the dripping, drenching fogs drifting in from the Pacific, or drilling for hours each day on the bleak slopes of the Presidio Heights, they had been praying for something to break the monotony of the routine. They were envious of the comrades who had been shipped to Manila, emulous of those who had stormed Santiago, and would have welcomed with unreasoning enthusiasm any mandate that bore promise of change of scene--or duty. The afternoon was raw and chilly; the wet wind blew salt and strong from the westward sea, and the mist rolled in, thick and fleecy, hiding from view the familiar landmarks of the neighborhood and forcing a display of lamplights in the row of gaudy saloons across the street that bounded the camp ground toward the setting sun, though that invisible luminary was still an hour high and afternoon drill only just over.
Company after company in their campaign hats and flannel shirts, in worn blue trousers and brown canvas leggings, the men had come swinging in from the broad driveways of the beautiful park to the south and, as they passed the tents of the commanding general, even though they kept their heads erect and noses to the front, their wary eyes glanced quickly at the unusual array of saddled horses, of carriages and Concord wagons halted along the curbstone, and noted the number of officers grouped about the gate. Ponchos and overcoat capes were much in evidence on every side as the men broke ranks, scattered to their tents to stow away their dripping arms and belts, and then came streaming out to stare, unrebuked, at headquarters. It was still early in the war days, and, among the volunteers and, indeed, among regiments of the regulars whose ranks were sprinkled with college men who had rubbed shoulders but a few months earlier with certain subalterns, the military line of demarcation was a dead letter when "the boys" were out of sight and hearing of their seniors, and so it happened that when a young officer came hurrying down the pathway that led from the tents of the general to those of the field officers of the Tenth California, he was hailed by more than one group of regulars along whose lines he passed, and, as a rule, the query took the terse, soldierly form of "What's up, Billy?"
Scrivi una recensione per "Found in the Philippines: The Story of a Woman's Letters"