A little child shall lead them . . . on a damned big horse!

“A favorite anecdote of unknown origin concerned a young and inexperienced lieutenant who was assigned to a new company of rough-hewn men. The lieutenant was small, inept, and weak in appearance. When he rode in front of the men for the first time, out of the rear ranks came a shout: – And a little child shall lead them! – That drew a roar of laughter from the entire company.

Seemingly undisturbed by this reception, the lieutenant calmly went about the day’s business. The next morning the men awakened to discover a surprise notice that the company in full gear would be going on a twenty-mile march that day. “And a little child shall lead them,” continued the proclamation, “on a damned big horse!”

Cited in Soldiers Blue and Gray, Robertson: p. 49.

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