The Decision to Join "Jennison's Jayhawkers"
At the time of our arrival at Fort Leavenworth, Jennison was there organizing a regiment of cavalry, and they were at once known as Jennison's Jayhawkers. He proposed to us to join his regiment. He made a nice little speech to us, telling us how many balls he was carrying in his body from wounds received during the border troubles. It sounded very brave, but some of us were unkind enough to think that he was carrying the balls in his pocket instead of in his body. We had not thought of becoming cavalrymen when we enlisted, but the proposition looked good to us. Captain Merriman objected however, for he thought the infantry arm of the service won more glory than the cavalry. The matter was finally left to a vote of the man and it was almost unanimous for the cavalry.
I may say here, that we never regretted our decision. No regiment was more widely known then Jennison's Jayhawkers. Our fame preceded us wherever we went, and soldiers and citizens like wondered what kind of beings we were. As other troops came to know us, they would tell all kinds of things about us to wondering citizens who had not seen us; among other things, that the Jayhawkers have horns. A little incident that occurred one day illustrates the curiosity and wonder of citizens. We were on the march in the South and the report of our coming had preceded us. As usual, those who dared to risk it were on the lookout. After they had gazed a while in wild wonder, one youngster explained, " Why, Ma, they look just like men!" Later in the war all Kansas troops were called Jayhawkers and now it is the nickname of all native born Kansans.
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