Sunday, June 30, 2013
Utterly untrained in marching, they walked at will, no two keeping step, while no two were dressed alike. There were almost as many different hues and cuts in their raiment as there were men in their ranks. The nearest approach to a uniform was in their rough fur caps made of raccoon skins, and with the streaked and bushy tail of the raccoon hanging down behind.
The amusement of the people was mingled with curiosity. "Are you the captain of this company?" some of them asked Gordon, who was rather proud of his men and saw nothing of the grotesque in their appearance.
"I am, sir," he replied, in a satisfied tone. What company is it, captain?"
As yet the company had no name other than one which he had chosen as fine sounding and suitable, but had not yet mentioned to the men.
"This company is the Mountain Rifles," said the captain, proudly.
His pride was destined to a fall. From a tall mountaineer in the ranks came, in words not intended for his ears, but plainly audible, the disconcerting words,
"Mountain hell! We are no Mountain Rifles. We are the Raccoon Roughs."
And Raccoon Roughs they continued through all the war, Gordon's fine-spun name being never heard of again. The feeble remnant of the war-scarred company which was mustered out at Appomattox was still known as Raccoon Roughs.