In his diary a lieutenant colonel of a Northern regiment relates an incident which took place near Berryville, Virginia, during the Civil War. In the gather darkness, while the battle was still raging, the colonel saw three men going toward the rear and leaving the battle, two of them supporting the companion that limped between them. This was a favorite dodge of cowards to pretend that they were carrying a wounded comrade to the rear, and so escape the perils of the battlefield.
Convinced that this was another case of pretended injury and wounds, the angry colonel stopped the three men and ordered them to go back to the firing line. The man who was being helped protested that he was wounded, and badly wounded.
But the angry colonel said to him, “You are not wounded; are trying to sneak out of the fight in the dark. Go back to your regiment.”
The wounded soldier then said, “Give me your hand, Colonel.”
Not knowing just what he meant, the colonel put out his hand, whereupon the wounded man took it and thrust it into a hole in his shoulder while the warm blood spurted up the arm of the skeptical colonel.
Shocked and overcome, ;the colonel exclaimed, “You poor fellow! Forgive me; go back to the doctor quick.”
The man took a step forward and fell dead. He had given his life for his country; but in the moment of supreme sacrifice he had been mistaken for a coward and a deserter.