November 1, 1862, Nashville Daily Union (Tennessee)
A military operation, involving a large amount of strategy, was reported to us the other day, which deserves at least an humble place in the history of this war. It seems that Buck, the well known porter at the Capitol, combining a desire for speculation, with a taste for ornithology, had invested divers and sundry dimes and quarters, which he had accumulated, in the purchase of several specimens of the popular domestic fowl known as the American Turkey, intending, doubtless, to reap a handsome per centage on their original cost, when their bodies should reach the proper degree of corpulency, and the blockade should render the purchase of even a turkey-buzzard, let along a simon-pure turkey; an impossibility. The plan and conception, so far as we are able to judge, were good, were faultless. We do not care indeed, as newspaper correspondents say, we do not feel authorized, to state the precise number of the turkeys purchased, but, we are not violating any confidence reposed in us, as the same wise men would say, in stating that at least an approximation to the true number may be attained by thrice counting the digits of one hand. Alas! for the uncertainty of all human speculation; the turkeys suddenly vanished. Their owner went one morning full of hope to feed his biped flock, and like Joseph and Simeon “they were not.” who can blame Buck for uttering several words not to be found in the celebrated Theological Dictionary, published under his name! His fowls had been foully dealt with. His suspicions were directed immediately to a squad of soldiers quartered in a neighboring house, for he knew how fond college boys and soldiers are of turkeys; and obtaining the proper authority, he immediately instituted a search. The soldiers manifested a most laudable interest in assisting Buck, unlocking clothes-presses, trunks and valises; opening bureaus, looking into quart bottles, and under carpets, and, in fact, in every place where the abducted individuals would be most likely to be—not found. Buck wanted to go up into the loft, through a trap-door which he by chance espied. His military friends remonstrated; they assured him they were not there; that nobody but citizens of the United States could go up there; that turkeys were not citizens of the United States, and, of course, were not up there; and that, finally, by the Dred Scott decision, Buck was not a citizen, any more than the turkeys, and of course he couldn’t go up. Besides, who ever heard or read, in ancient or modern history, of turkeys being cooped up in a garret? “Think of that, Master Buck!” Buck insisted; they remonstrated; he fumed, they roared, until finally he vowed to summon the war department to the spot, and then they yielded. Buck jumped up on a table, and pushed up the trap-door, when mirabile dictu, two of his biggest turkeys, who had been put out as pickets, peeped down in his face, and demanded the countersign! He gave it, and they “gobbled him up;” that is, they invited him to come up and reclaim his prisoners. He did so, although we grieve to say, that, close confinement, bad diet, military voracity, and sundry sales, had reduced their number to only five.