Daily Story Page – The Army

Daily Story

THE ARMYLincoln Reading
General Horace Porter relates how President Lincoln dealt with a delegation seeking a change in command of the Army of Tennessee:
“I thought the best way to get rid of them was to tell them the story of Syke’s dog.” “Have you ever heard about Sykes’s yellow dog?” said I to the spokesman of the delegation. He said he hadn’t. “Well, I must tell you about him,” said I. “Sykes had a yellow dog he set great store by, but there were a lot of small boys around the village, and that’s always a bad thing for dogs, you know. These boys didn’t share Sykes’s views, and they were not disposed to let the dog have a fair show. Even Sykes had to admit that the dog was getting unpopular; in fact, it was soon seen that a prejudice was growing up against that dog that threatened to wreck all his future prospects in life. The boys, after meditating how they could get the best of him, finally fixed up a cartridge with a long fuse, put the cartridge piece of meat, dropped the meat in the road in front of Sykes’s door, and then perched themselves on a fence a good distance off, holding the end of the fuse in their hands. They whistled for the dog. When he came out he scented the bait, and bolted the meat, cartridge and all. The boys touched off the fuse with a cigar, and in a bout a second a report came from that dog that sounded like a clap of thunder.”

Sykes came bounding out of the house, and yelled, “What’s up? anything busted?” There was no reply, except a snicker from the small boys roosting on the fence; but as Sykes looked up he saw the whole air filled with pieces of yellow dog. He picked up the biggest piece he could find, a portion of the back with a part of the tail still hanging to it, and after turning it round and looking it all over, he said, “Well, I guess he’ll never be much account again as a dog.”

Herbert Mitgang, Lincoln As They Saw Him, p. 295.