HOT WORDS PASS BETWEEN TWO OFFICERS UNEQUAL IN RANK
By S. C. Turnbo
On the morning of the 13 of November, 1862, while we were in camp on Frog Bayou that empties into the Arkansas River between Ozark and Van Buren, Lieutenant J. C. (Curtis) Rea of our company (A), 27th Arkansas, was officer of the guard. A short while before we started on the march, J. R. Shaler, the Colonel of our regiment, gave instructions to the officer of the day how he desired Lieutenant Rea and the guard to take their position in line during the days travel of the regiment as rear guard. This was given to the officer of the day in regular form which of course Lieutenant Rea intended to obey. When the men of the regiment was formed in line ready to start, Shaler rode up to Rea and his detail of men and gave the officer orders which conflicted with those he had already received from the officer of the day. As the officer of the day was not present to hear the orders from the Colonel, Rea refused to obey them unless Shaler countermanded his first orders through the officer of the day, and he would then respect and obey them. At this Shaler drew his sword and raised it as if he intended to strike Rea with it. When the Colonel did this, Rea, who was standing near his Colonel who was on his horse, jerked his sword from its scabbard in readiness to defend himself. As he did so Shaler backed his horse away for he saw at once that he could not bulldoze or force him to obey an order in an irregular way and rode away, and as he was leaving Rea cursed the Colonel most vehemently for a while. The writer was standing in a few feet of the two officers when this occurred.
Springfield-Greene County Library