Sort of a Salute

From Stories, Anecdotes and Humor from the Civil War

The colonel of an Alabama regiment was famous for having everything done up in military style. Once, while field officer of the day, and doing his tour of inspection, he came on a sentinel from the eleventh Mississippi regiment sitting flat down on his post, with his gun taken entirely to pieces. The following dialogue then took place:

Colonel: "Don't you know that a sentinel while on duty, should always keep on his feet?"

Sentinel: (Without looking up) "That's the way we used to do when the war first began; but that's played out long ago."

Colonel: (Beginning to doubt if the man was on duty) "Are you sentinel here?"

Sentinel: "Well, I'm sort of a sentinel."

Colonel: "Well I'm sort of officer of the day."

Sentinel: Well, if you'll hold on till I sort of git my gun together, I'll give you a sort of salute."