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The Young Sentinel

from Good Stories For Great Holidays - MEMORIAL DAY





BY Z. A. MUDGE (ADAPTED)

In the summer of 1862, a young man belonging to a Vermont regiment was
found sleeping at his post. He was tried and sentenced to be shot. The
day was fixed for the execution, and the young soldier calmly prepared
to meet his fate.

Friends who knew of the case brought the matter to Mr. Lincoln's
attention. It seemed that the boy had been on duty one night, and on
the following night he had taken the place of a comrade too ill to stand
guard. The third night he had been again called out, and, being utterly
exhausted, had fallen asleep at his post.

As soon as Mr. Lincoln understood the case, he signed a pardon, and
sent it to the camp. The morning before the execution arrived, and the
President had not heard whether the pardon had reached the officers in
charge of the matter. He began to feel uneasy. He ordered a telegram to
be sent to the camp, but received no answer. State papers could not
fix his mind, nor could he banish the condemned soldier boy from his
thoughts.

At last, feeling that he MUST KNOW that the lad was safe, he ordered
the carriage and rode rapidly ten miles over a dusty road and beneath
a scorching sun. When he reached the camp he found that the pardon had
been received and the execution stayed.

The sentinel was released, and his heart was filled with lasting
gratitude. When the campaign opened in the spring, the young man was
with his regiment near Yorktown, Virginia. They were ordered to attack a
fort, and he fell at the first volley of the enemy.

His comrades caught him up and carried him bleeding and dying from the
field. "Bear witness," he said, "that I have proved myself not a coward,
and I am not afraid to die." Then, making a last effort, with his dying
breath he prayed for Abraham Lincoln.





Next: The Colonel Of The Zouaves

Previous: Ii The Bravery Of Richard Kirtland



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