A prominent volunteer officer who, early in the War, was on duty in Washington and often carried reports to Secretary Stanton at the War Department, told a characteristic story on President Lincoln. Said he : "I was with several other young officers, also carrying reports to the War Department, and one morning we were late. In this instance we were in a desperate hurry to deliver the papers, in order to be able to catch the train returning to camp.
"On the winding, dark staircase of the old War Department, which many will remember, it was our misfortune, while taking about three stairs at a time, to run a certain head like a catapult into the body of the President,striking him in the region of the right lower vest pocket. "
The usual surprised and relaxed grunt of a man thus assailed came
"We quickly sent an apology in the direction of the dimly seen form, feeling that the ungracious shock was expensive, even to the humblest clerk in the department. "
A second glance revealed to us the President as the victim of the collision. Then followed a special tender of 'ten thousand pardons,' and the President's reply : " 'One's enough; I wish the whole army would charge like that.'"
From ABE LINCOLN'S YARNS AND STORIES A COMPLETE COLLECTION OF THE FUNNY AND WITTY ANECDOTES THAT MADE LINCOLN FAMOUS AS AMERICA'S GREATEST STORY TELLER