Achilles Deatheridge

“Your name is Achilles Deatheridge?
How old are you, my boy?”
“I'm sixteen past, and I went to the war
From Athens, Illinois.”

“Achilles Deatheridge, you have done
A deed of dreadful note.”
“It comes of his wearing a battered hat,
And a rusty, wrinkled coat.”

“Why, didn't you know how plain he is?
And didn't you ever hear
That he goes through the lines by day or night
Like a sooty cannoneer?”

“You must have been half dead for sleep,
For the dawn was growing bright.”
“Well, Captain, I had stood right there
Since six o'clock last night.

“I cocked my gun at the swish of the grass,
And how am I at fault
When a dangerous looking man won't stop
When a sentry hollers halt?

“I cried out halt, and he only smiled
And waved his hand like that.
Why, any Johnnie could wear the coat
And any fellow the hat.

“I hollered halt again, and he stopped
And lighted a fresh cigar.
I never noticed his shoulder badge,
And I never noticed a star.”

“So you arrested him? Well, Achilles,
When you hear the swish of the grass,
If it's General Grant inspecting the lines,
Hereafter let him pass.”
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