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A Red and White Guidon
Comments on A Red and White Guidon
Mar 14, 2003
Posted Sep 10, 2003 - 9:37 PM:
Okay, I'm transcribing \"A Red and White Guidon\":
CHAPPELL: Quiet, please.
(SEVEN SECONDS SILENCE)
CHAPPELL: Quiet, please.
(MUSIC ... THEME ... FADE FOR)
ANNOUNCER: The Mutual Broadcasting System presents \"Quiet, Please!\" which is written and directed by Wyllis Cooper and which features Ernest Chappell.
\"Quiet, Please!\" for tonight is called \"A Red and White Guidon.\"
(MUSIC ... THEME ... END)
NOAH WELLMAN: A Troop's ... got a guidon now.
It's nice. It's red and white. It's got all the old silver rings on the lance pole with names of places engraved on 'em: Cold Harbor, Spotsylvania, all them places. And some new ones: Samar, Leyte. It looks fine. But it ain't the right one. It ain't the old silk one, the battle guidon. That's the one I lost for 'em.
And I'm payin' for it.
Oh, 'tain't that. You know the sayin' in the army: whatever you lose, you're gonna find it on the payroll. 'Tain't that. I'm payin' for it different.
I walk into Fiddler's Green once, twice a year and first thing some fella hollers at me, \"You get out o' here, Noah Wellman! You're the fella lost A Troop's guidon.\"
And that free whiskey there on the bar looks awful good to me but - [sighs] - I wipe my mouth on my sleeve and - turn around, go out again, change out o' my old blue uniform with the wide yellow stripes on my breeches' legs, my upside down sergeant's stripes. And I put on GI cotton and pick up my rifle and my bayonet - go back to A Troop. [disgusted] Rifle and bayonet. Imagine a cavalryman with a bayonet! Well, if you can imagine a cavalryman without no horse, I guess you can imagine a bayonet, too.
Yeah, they won't lead me into Fiddler's Green.
But, once in a while, somebody'll stop me as I'm leavin'. Maybe it'll be Shamus Dailey, that was guidon before me. And he'll say, kind o' homesick, \"Hey, Noah,\" he'll say, \"The band still playin' 'Garry Owen' in the old outfit?\" I'll say, \"You bet your life, Shamus. When they don't play 'Garry Owen' no more, there won't be no Seventh Cavalry.\" [chuckles] Shamus, he kind o' grins and he slips me a half-pint o' that Monongahela Rye. And I come away and maybe there's a - maybe there's a little nip in the bottle for some of the other boys that's - in the same fix I'm in.
And I walk along a ways with these other fellas and, most generally, we meet the Old Man.
SOUND: (Spurs JINGLE.)
NOAH WELLMAN: He'll be walkin' along slow and his spurs jinglin'. Them big Mexican spurs he always wore. And we'll snap it up and throw him a big sal-ute and he'll grin at us and holler, \"Howdy, boys!\" And we'll say, \"Howdy, sir!\" And he'll walk on slow, down towards Fiddler's Green.
An' we'll feel worse'n ever.
'Cause the Old Man, he can't get into Fiddler's Green either.
(MUSIC ... AN ACCENT)
NOAH WELLMAN: I don't know. Maybe I ought to tell you about this guidon, huh?
You know what a guidon is.
Well, it's a kind o' little swallow-tailed flag. Nowadays every outfit in the army has one. Company flag, you know. All colors. Even the MPs, they got one that's yellow and green.
But there was a day when nobody but cavalry had a guidon. Red and white. Top half red with the regiment's number in white. Lower half white with the troop letter in red, like 7-A -- A Troop, Seventh Cavalry. Only when I first enlisted, they still called 'em companies, just like in the doughboys.
Yes, quite a while ago.
(MUSIC IN AND UNDER ... \"GARRY OWEN\")
NOAH WELLMAN: A troop -- uh, a company o' cavalry -- was quite a sight in them days. Bold red and white guidon cracklin' away in the wind. Sixty-three men in blue suits with their sabers flashin' in the sunlight. And we had mounted bands! Yes, sir. Drum major out in front with his saber beatin' time, twenty-eight men on horseback blowin' horns, and a big ol' white drum horse with kettle drums big as a keg o' beer. [chuckles] Quite a sight.
Nowadays ... Ah, well, it's still cavalry even if we do have our own feet. But I still kind o' miss them horses.
SOUND: (TROOP'S HOOFBEATS IN AND OUT)
NOAH WELLMAN: I met this Shamus Dailey when I first joined up with the old outfit. I'd been in the war and when they mustered us out in 'sixty-five, I fooled around home for a while and then I got kind o' restless so I just up and left. Went out West and took on another blanket, like the sayin' was.
They put me into the Seventh Cavalry, A Troop. A Company, I mean. That was where I first got to know this Shamus Dailey. He was guidon of A Company.
Oh, yeah, the guidon and the fella that carries it, both called guidon.
Mar 14, 2003
Posted Sep 11, 2003 - 6:39 PM:
I remember the night I was sittin' on the barracks porch. Doggone if I ain't forgot what post that was. Yeah, there been so many DA Russel maybe, or Laramie, or some'eres. Yeah, I was sittin' there smokin' this "cue end" cigar in the dark all by my lonesome and I hear this whistlin'.
SHAMUS DAILEY: [from a distance, whistling \"Garry Owen\"]
NOAH WELLMAN: \"Garry Owen.\" Well, sir, thinks I, that can't be nobody but Sergeant Shamus Dailey. Then Sergeant Shamus Dailey has been at a bottle some'eres on account o' he don't whistle \"Garry Owen\" 'less he has. So he steps up onto the porch and I say in the dark:
Good evenin', Sergeant Dailey!
SHAMUS DAILEY: And who'll that be?
NOAH WELLMAN: Me, Noah Wellman. The trumpeter.
SHAMUS DAILEY: Well, 'tis a fine night for it, Trumpeter Wellman.
NOAH WELLMAN: Fine night for what, Sergeant?
SHAMUS DAILEY: Well, for, er - er, whatever ye'd be wantin' to do.
NOAH WELLMAN: Ohhhh.
SHAMUS DAILEY: Well, for havin' a drop of the crater, if you have the inclination like.
NOAH WELLMAN: Well, now, if anybody's to offer me a little sup of some fine Monongahela Rye, Sergeant--
SHAMUS DAILEY: Trumpeter Wellman! You know that a noncommissioned officer is forbid by regulations to drink with a private soldier.
NOAH WELLMAN: Well, I'm a trumpeter, Sergeant.
SHAMUS DAILEY: Oh ho! Well, now. I've been through the cavalry drill regulations and the army regulations till me feet hurt. And I do not remember ever seein' anything about not drinkin' with trumpeters.
NOAH WELLMAN: And besides I was a sergeant once.
SHAMUS DAILEY: Hah! Who wasn't?! [shares a chuckle with Noah] Well, then, trumpeter, blow a blast for freedom onto the neck of this bottle, will ya?
NOAH WELLMAN: [grateful] Sergeant, that's an order.
SOUND: (Noah SWALLOWS and COUGHS on the rye.)
SHAMUS DAILEY: It does grasp ya by the gullet now, don't it? Er, did you leave any for me?
NOAH WELLMAN: [struggles to speak] Sure. Here. Sure.
SHAMUS DAILEY: [a toast] Then, here is confusion to all the enemies of the Irish!
SOUND: (Shamus SWALLOWS smoothly and EXHALES, deeply satisfied.)
SHAMUS DAILEY: Would you care to join me in an old ballad maybe then?
NOAH WELLMAN: Not at this time of night, Sergeant. Them beds in the guardhouse is awful hard.
SHAMUS DAILEY: Yeah, many's the time I slept on 'em. The Jefferson Barracks now, they got bugs. This is a very clean guardhouse.
NOAH WELLMAN: I like my own bunk.
SHAMUS DAILEY: Well, then. Seein' you won't sing, shall we have words?
NOAH WELLMAN: Sure. Sit down.
SOUND: (Shamus SITS.)
SHAMUS DAILEY: You was in the war, was you not?
NOAH WELLMAN: Company B, Second Michigan Cavalry.
SHAMUS DAILEY: Was ye, now? I was in the Fire Zouaves from New York.
NOAH WELLMAN: [impressed] That was quite an outfit, I hear.
SHAMUS DAILEY: Aw, it was all right. But the uniforms was kind o' silly like. Red pants! Ha! Will you toot another tune on the bottle, trumpeter?
NOAH WELLMAN: [hesitant] Mm, thanks. To, er, your health, Sergeant.
SHAMUS DAILEY: Ah, for that I thank ye.
SOUND: (Noah SWALLOWS with difficulty.)
SHAMUS DAILEY: And I drink to the Irish. And there's plenty of 'em in the Seventh Cavalry! [chuckles]
SOUND: (Shamus SWALLOWS and EXHALES.)
SHAMUS DAILEY: What would they do for sergeants without the Irish?
NOAH WELLMAN: Yeah.
SHAMUS DAILEY: What would all the armies of the world do without the Irish?
NOAH WELLMAN: Yeah, I guess that's right.
SHAMUS DAILEY: Ah, we're lost men, we are. We've no flag nor no country to fight fer. So we do our best for somebody else's flag and somebody else's country.
NOAH WELLMAN: I suppose.
SHAMUS DAILEY: You're a lucky man, young Wellman, that you've got a country and a flag of your own to fight fer.
NOAH WELLMAN: Ain't been doin' much fightin' so far - since the war.
SHAMUS DAILEY: Ah, that'll come. There's millions of Indians, laddie, 'bout that don't like the so-called white people. And the day'll come when they'll rise up in their might - [hiccups] - and the air'll be so thick with arrows, you could get up and chin yourself on 'em.
NOAH WELLMAN: [unenthusiastic] Yeah.
SHAMUS DAILEY: [chuckles] Many a lad'll do just that.
SOUND: (Shamus SWALLOWS.)
SHAMUS DAILEY: And end up with his hair decoratin' some Oglala buck's war belt - heh! - so have a drink.
NOAH WELLMAN: Gosh, Sergeant--
SHAMUS DAILEY: That's an order.
NOAH WELLMAN: Well, uh ...
SOUND: (Noah SWALLOWS and CHOKES.)
NOAH WELLMAN: It's powerful.
SHAMUS DAILEY: Like lamb's milk.
SOUND: (Shamus WHACKS a grunting Noah as he speaks.)
SHAMUS DAILEY: No, me bucko, me larapin', great big ugly bucko! I am a man without a flag. Livin' me life out in the field of - battle. Fightin' for a country that's not me own and perishin' for the thoughts o' the green shores of the old sod. Who's an old sod?! You call me an old sod?!
NOAH WELLMAN: [amused] I didn't say a word, Sergeant.
SHAMUS DAILEY: That's what I said. No, sir, son. No, sir. Er, whiskey makes me mellow. The Irish have fought for many a king, against many a king. One of me ancestors perished at Fontenoy, fighting for the King of France with the Wild Geese. And there's been an Irishman in every war since the Trojan War - for that, there's been one on either side! Heh! How can you have an army without an Irishman?
NOAH WELLMAN: Why, ya can't!
SHAMUS DAILEY: I am in me cups, Trumpeter.
NOAH WELLMAN: Well, that there is over-powerful whiskey, Sergeant.
SHAMUS DAILEY: To an Irishman, there is no such thing as powerful whiskey, Trumpeter. There is only weak men.
NOAH WELLMAN: That so?
SHAMUS DAILEY: Now, I said I had no flag of me own, son. I'm a homeless man. Far away from the land of me birth. I'm a lonesome man besides. And very unhappy.
NOAH WELLMAN: Well, cheer up, Sergeant!
SHAMUS DAILEY: [irritated] I was just about to say that I was goin' to cheer up, Trumpeter! [takes a breath, calms down] Trumpeter, I forgot. I do have a flag to follow. No, to lead. Here, have another drop of the potcheen, lad, and I'll tell ya all about it.
NOAH WELLMAN: [reluctant] Well, uh - er -
SOUND: (Noah SWALLOWS.)
NOAH WELLMAN: Er, go on.
SHAMUS DAILEY: I said a flag to follow, lad. But it - it's not to follow. It's a flag to lead. And it - it's not that great Stars and Stripes thing that Clancy, the color sergeant, carries. For I'm - I'm not one of you Americans.
NOAH WELLMAN: Now, take care, Sergeant--
SHAMUS DAILEY: Nor is it the great yellow standard that Miles Corrigan from [?] carries. I grant you, they're very fine flags, son. But Shamus Dailey - he has his own personal flag to carry and to lead with. I could wish they'd chosen green instead of red and white for it. Ah, but 'tis a fine flag after all. And it is the symbol of - the symbol - er, well, what IS it the symbol of, Trumpeter?
NOAH WELLMAN: What?
SHAMUS DAILEY: Huh?
NOAH WELLMAN: Er - what's what the symbol of?
SHAMUS DAILEY: Oh. I - I'm talkin' about the guidon that I'm privileged to carry, my young friend. The guidon of Company A, Seventh Cavalry! The only flag that Shamus Dennis Michael Brian O'Dailey ever swore allegiance to! Do you hear me?
NOAH WELLMAN: Uh huh. [chuckles]
SHAMUS DAILEY: Ah, you think I'm drunk. Now, listen, lad. There's been men died for that red and white rag. Noooo, they didn't die for the other ones that the color sergeant carries. Them things is not the - not the personal thing that the guidon is, lad. This is MY flag. Your flag. This is Cap'n Tom and you and me and - and that black-hearted Schlagel, the mess sergeant - and - and a thousand other men that died for it. And that WILL die for it in all the days to come. THAT'S my flag, Trumpeter. And it's yours. Don't you ever leave no harm come to it.
CAPTAIN TOM: You should have brought your fiddle, Sergeant Dailey.
SOUND: (Noah and Shamus RISE quickly to their feet.)
SHAMUS DAILEY: Excuse me, sir. I - I didn't see the Captain in the darkness. I - I - I was just discussin' with the trumpeter--
NOAH WELLMAN: [blurts out, drunkenly] We ain't drunk, Captain!
CAPTAIN TOM: I see you're not. But you'd better go on into bed before the-- somebody that doesn't know any better comes along.
SHAMUS DAILEY: Yes, sir. Yes, sir.
NOAH WELLMAN: Yes, sir.
CAPTAIN TOM: Good night, now.
SHAMUS DAILEY: Sir? God bless the Seventh Cavalry!
NOAH WELLMAN: [slurs his words a bit] And especially Company A, sir.
CAPTAIN TOM: That's a good idea, boys. We're going to need all the blessings we can get.
(MUSIC ... A SLOW BUGLE CALL: CALL TO QUARTERS)
CAPTAIN TOM: We're moving out into the field tomorrow. Go to bed now. There's \"Call to Quarters.\"
(MUSIC ... BUGLE CROSSFADES WITH \"GARRY OWEN\" WHICH STAYS UNDER)
NOAH WELLMAN: So, we went out into the field and we stayed there. Ya ask me how I feel about the Indians? I don't know. Lots o' ways, they got a raw deal, I suppose, but you haven't got much time to think about that when you're dodgin' arrows and slugs from .45-70 Winchesters. And when you ride up to a place where the buzzards are sailin' around overhead and you see what the Indians did to a fella that slept next to you in barracks -- then you don't think about it at all.
NOAH WELLMAN: New recruits come out to us from J.B. or Fort Hays all the time to fill up the empty spots in the muster roll that the Indians made. In a couple of years, there wasn't very many of us old timers left in A Company: Captain Tom, Shamus, me, a dozen others.
And, every once in a while, I'd think about what Shamus had said about our guidon. I was beginning to understand how he felt about it deep down in his Irish soul. He never said anything about it - er, only just once.
You see, it wasn't Indian-fightin' all the time, sometimes there'd be periods when we could go huntin' maybe or fishin' if there was a trout stream not too far away. Never one man alone, never less than two. We carried our revolvers and our carbines in a full-pack saddle.
This time Shamus spoke of it again, we'd been out for two days the two of us hopin' we'd find a deer. Well, we didn't. We didn't care too much. We'd had a good time away from the post and we were within a mile of the gate, ridin' along with that good tired feelin' a man has after a jaunt like this.
And there was a shot.
SOUND: (ONE LOUD GUNSHOT)
NOAH WELLMAN: And I looked around.
(MUSIC IN AND UNDER)
NOAH WELLMAN: And Shamus was on the ground.
NOAH WELLMAN: Well, I don't want to tell you about the next few minutes. If you've never had anything like that happen to you, just be thankful I'm not tellin' ya.
And, if you have -- well, you know all about it.
Anyway, what I want to tell you about - is the talk we had. Shamus - knew he was dying.
SHAMUS DAILEY: You won't go away and leave me, Noah?
NOAH WELLMAN: Why, o' course I won't, Shamus.
SHAMUS DAILEY: I don't want 'em to get me hair.
NOAH WELLMAN: Yeah, they'll have to get mine first.
SHAMUS DAILEY: Good boy. Did you see 'em at all?
NOAH WELLMAN: There - there ain't a soul in sight.
SHAMUS DAILEY: Ah, they're watchin', though.
NOAH WELLMAN: Yeah. So 'm I.
SHAMUS DAILEY: None of that Monongahela left, huh?
NOAH WELLMAN: Yes. Yes, there is. Only a little, though.
SHAMUS DAILEY: Haven't got time to drink much, Noah.
SOUND: (Noah GETS OUT the rye and HELPS Shamus sit up.)
NOAH WELLMAN: Here, boy.
SHAMUS DAILEY: Good luck. No, no, wait.
NOAH WELLMAN: What?
SHAMUS DAILEY: You 'member long time ago, we talked about - guidon?
NOAH WELLMAN: Yes. Yes, I remember.
SHAMUS DAILEY: Listen. You put guidon on my grave.
NOAH WELLMAN: What?
SHAMUS DAILEY: Like a monument. My flag. All flag I ever had.
NOAH WELLMAN: Drink, Shamus.
SHAMUS DAILEY: Sure. Drink to guidon. Company A. My flag. My--
SOUND: (Shamus DRINKS.)
SHAMUS DAILEY: My monument. Now - you - blow a blast for freedom, Noah.
NOAH WELLMAN: No. I don't want to, Shamus.
SHAMUS DAILEY: [insistent] Drink.
NOAH WELLMAN: All right.
SOUND: (Noah DRINKS.)
SHAMUS DAILEY: Don't forget what I told ya.
NOAH WELLMAN: I won't.
SHAMUS DAILEY: [coughs a little] Meet ya - Fiddler's Green, Noah. Buy ya a drink. [sings weakly] \"Our hearts so brave, they won the name of Garry Owen...\"
(MUSIC ... MOURNFUL ACCENT)
NOAH WELLMAN: They heard the guns from the post and a patrol came out and got us. And seven or eight more Injuns went to that \"happy hunting ground\" of theirs, too.
Well, I kept my word to Shamus Dailey. I couldn't put the troop guidon on his grave but I did go to the artificer and had 'im make a little wooden guidon, a little swallow-tailed red and white flag on a little lance-pole. We put the seven and the \"A\" on it and Shamus' name. After the detail had fired the three rounds and Jim [Bowlen?] had sounded \"Taps\" -- I wanted to but I couldn't -- after that, I put the little guidon that had meant so much to him at the head of his grave.
Ah, it was a funny thing, you know. It started a thing in our regiment. Well, Shamus wasn't the only Seventh Cavalryman who died in those days. Some of them are buried way out in the yellow hills or along the walls o' little canyons. But there wasn't a grave that wasn't marked with a little red and white guidon. Yes, there was quite a number of 'em. And I wonder what the coyotes and the prairie dogs thought. Wonder if there's any of those guidons left anywhere. That was - better than seventy years ago.
I guess they're not.
Well, Cap'n Tom, he made me guidon. I'd not o' thought so much about it before, I s'pose, but you'd be surprised what that guidon meant to me. Or - would ya?
Oh, I know it's the fashion to cry down soldiers, sure -- always is right after a war but-- Well, soldiers ain't bad people, you know.
Shamus Dailey. Captain Tom. The Old Man.
Yeah, that guidon was pretty important to me. Shamus said men had died for it. He died for it. He said men WOULD die for it. That was true, too.
Men always have to have somethin' to follow, to believe in! A - guidon.
Well, anyway, like Cap'n Tom said, I ought to have brung my fiddle.
Cap'n Tom, him and me, we got to be pretty good friends. He was no officer to impose on enlisted man's time. He was all business. He was the kind o' officer that, well, soldiers dream about. Strict? But A Company had better'n any other company in the squadron. And tough? [chuckles] But leave one of his troopers get sick or somethin' and Cap'n Tom was like his father and mother put together.
He used to like to walk around of an evenin' after \"Tap,\" too. Sometimes I'd see him down around the stable or some'eres and then we'd stop and talk. He was always borrowin' a chew of eatin' tobacca. I 'member that one night:
CAPTAIN TOM: Give us a chew, Sergeant.
NOAH WELLMAN: Yes, sir.
CAPTAIN TOM: I'm gonna buy you a plug one o' these days.
NOAH WELLMAN: Ha ha. Aw, you don't use up much, Cap'n.
CAPTAIN TOM: Thanks, Noah.
SOUND: (Captain CHEWS tobacco.)
CAPTAIN TOM: Fine night, eh?
NOAH WELLMAN: Yes, sir. S-s-sir, w-would the Captain put in for a new lance-pole for the guidon?
CAPTAIN TOM: Mm, what's the matter with the one you got?
NOAH WELLMAN: Well, sir, it's - kind o' warped a little bit and, well, it's gettin' to look kind o' - er, you know - used like.
CAPTAIN TOM: [chuckles] You're as bad as Shamus Dailey used to be with that guidon, Noah.
NOAH WELLMAN: Well, I - I mean to be, Cap'n.
CAPTAIN TOM: Poor Shamus. I had a great regard for that man.
NOAH WELLMAN: Me, too, sir.
CAPTAIN TOM: Well, God rest his soul. He's better off'n we are.
NOAH WELLMAN: Yes, sir. I suppose so.
CAPTAIN TOM: If ever a man went straight to Fiddler's Green, Shamus is the man.
NOAH WELLMAN: Sir? Shamus said somethin' about buyin' me a drink in Fiddler's Green. I never heard that expression before and, well, I been meanin' ever since to ask somebody--
CAPTAIN TOM: You never heard of Fiddler's Green?
NOAH WELLMAN: No, sir. I-is that an Irish sayin' for Heaven?
CAPTAIN TOM: [amused] No, Sergeant. No. You see, good cavalrymen don't want to go to Heaven 'cause they won't find any of their friends there. And they don't want to go to the Other Place because they've had too much o' THAT on Earth. So - there's a very special place, right in between the two, that's for good cavalrymen only. And that's Fiddler's Green.
NOAH WELLMAN: That's where Shamus'd be then, sir.
CAPTAIN TOM: Yes, sir. All the good cavalrymen from the day the world began are in Fiddler's Green. The Roman catafracts of Julius Caesar. King Arthur and his knights. The Cavaliers and the Roundheads.
NOAH WELLMAN: And Shamus, sure as shootin', sir.
CAPTAIN TOM: Yes. I believe that.
NOAH WELLMAN: Well, I hope I make it.
CAPTAIN TOM: You take care of that guidon, boy, you will.
NOAH WELLMAN: I aim to, sir.
CAPTAIN TOM: Well, thanks for the chew.
NOAH WELLMAN: Welcome, sir.
CAPTAIN TOM: Oh, say, Noah, want to take a little trip?
NOAH WELLMAN: Yes, sir.
CAPTAIN TOM: Do you know my brother's coming out to command a regiment, didn't you?
NOAH WELLMAN: Yes, sir, I heard that.
CAPTAIN TOM: Well, I think I ought to send an escort out to bring him. Long as I'm senior officer, present with troops, so you take a detail of men from the troop and go pick him up and bring him back, huh?
NOAH WELLMAN: Yes, sir. Sure.
CAPTAIN TOM: Good enough. You must start tomorrow night, after retreat. Make it in a couple o' days and a couple o' days coming back.
NOAH WELLMAN: Yes, sir.
CAPTAIN TOM: All right then. Come over to my quarters after breakfast tomorrow and I'll give you the details.
NOAH WELLMAN: Yes, sir.
CAPTAIN TOM: Good night, Sergeant.
(MUSIC ... BUGLE ... CALL TO QUARTERS IN AND UNDER)
NOAH WELLMAN: Good night, sir.
I can remember that date just as plain. The twenty-first of June, 1875.
I took my detail and we rode overland to the railroad.
NOAH WELLMAN: We met the new commanding officer. I apologized for not being an officer but I said Captain Tom didn't have enough officers, so would the General pardon me, too? So he laughed. He was a great big jolly fella. Looked just like his brother Tom. Big moustache, same yellow hair. And he says:
THE GENERAL: [already laughing under above line] That's all right, Sergeant. After I get hold of the regiment for a while, I'm goin' to see that we get enough officers so my sergeants won't have to work their heads off.
NOAH WELLMAN: That'd sure be fine, sir. Yeah, that sure will. Now, if the General's ready to go, sir?
THE GENERAL: Move out.
NOAH WELLMAN: Fan 'em out! Mmmm-out! Fo'ward trot! Yee-oooohhhhhh!
(MUSIC ... MIMICS MARCHING, \"GARRY OWEN\" UNDER AND OUT)
NOAH WELLMAN: Well, all the way along, he kept askin' questions. 'Bout the Indians, about casualties, about the chance of one big campaign against 'em, finishin' up the killin' and murderin' once and for all. He sure was anxious to make a good showin'.
And he - knew his business. He was so glad to get into the open after bein' in them posts back East for so long. He asked me a million questions about Injun fightin'. And I answered 'em best I could. I was gettin' to be quite a veteran then myself, see. And anybody that fought under Cap'n Tom'd get to be a veteran awful fast anyway.
So we had some pretty good talk. Then, the second morning out on the way back. We had some breakfast. He was just saddlin' up. The General calls me over to him.
THE GENERAL: Sergeant!
NOAH WELLMAN: Yes, sir?
THE GENERAL: What's that up there on the side of that hill?
NOAH WELLMAN: Where, sir?
THE GENERAL: Right over there, don't you see?
NOAH WELLMAN: [after a pause] No, sir. I don't see anything.
THE GENERAL: Look over my finger.
NOAH WELLMAN: Yes, sir. [another pause] What kind o' thing, sir?
THE GENERAL: Well, looks like a cavalry guidon to me but--
NOAH WELLMAN: Ah, it couldn't be, sir.
THE GENERAL: No?
NOAH WELLMAN: Least, I don't think so.
THE GENERAL: Well, I'll have a look through the glasses. Mm, yeah. By Jove, it IS a guidon. Here, look.
NOAH WELLMAN: [after a pause] Sir, I don't see nothin'.
THE GENERAL: Give me the glasses. Yep. It is. I can see the number and the letter. It's the Seventh. And it's Company A. Yeah, what could that be? Is Tom--?
NOAH WELLMAN: Why, no, sir. But I think I know what it is.
THE GENERAL: What?
NOAH WELLMAN: That'd be the grave of a Seventh Cavalryman, sir. But I didn't know--
THE GENERAL: What's the name of that river down there?
NOAH WELLMAN: Why - that's the Little Bighorn, General Custer.
(MUSIC ... A SLOW MOURNFUL ACCENT)
NOAH WELLMAN: So, you see, it was just one year later, the twenty-fifth of June, 1876, while everybody was enjoying the Centennial Exposition back East, that General Custer led us -- me and Cap'n Tom Custer and all of us -- onto that battlefield at the Little Bighorn and - well - you know - we all got killed.
It was a Seventh Cavalryman's grave. Well, that's why we can't get into Fiddler's Green. I lost A Troop's guidon - and - he lost the regiment.
And neither one of us can get into Fiddler's Green till there isn't any more Seventh Cavalry.
And that'll be a long, long time.
(MUSIC ... THEME FADE FOR)
ANNOUNCER: You have listened to \"Quiet, Please!\" which is written and directed by Wyllis Cooper. The man who spoke to you was Ernest Chappell.
CHAPPELL: And both Mr. Cooper and myself are mighty happy to have had Mr. Pat O'Malley with us tonight to play Shamus Dailey. Captain Tom Custer was Arthur Kohl and Floyd Buckley played General George Armstrong Custer.
The original music for \"Quiet, Please!\" is composed and played by Albert Buhrmann. Now for a word about next week's \"Quiet, Please!\" here is our writer-director Wyllis Cooper.
COOPER: My story for next week is called \"Whence Came You?\" It's about a man who traveled in the East and - well, you listen, will ya?
CHAPPELL: And so, until next week at this same time, I am quietly yours, Ernest Chappell.
ANNOUNCER: This program comes to you from New York. This is the world's largest network, the Mutual Broadcasting System.
(MUSIC ... THEME ... END)
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