General MacKenzie, when commander-in-chief of the Chatham division of marines, during the late war, was very rigid as to duty; and, among other regulations, would suffer no officer to be saluted on guard if out of his uniform.
One day, it happened that the general observed a lieutenant of marines in a plain dress, and, though he knew the young officer quite intimately, he called to the sentinel to turn him out.
The officer appealed to the general, saying who he was; “I know you not,” said the general; “turn him out.”
A short time after, the general had been at a small distance from Chatham, to pay a visit, and returning in the evening in a blue coat, claimed entrance at the yard gate. The sentinel demanded the countersign, which the general not knowing, desired the officer of the guard to be sent for, who proved to be the lieutenant whom the general had treated so cavalierly.
“Who are you?” inquired the officer.
“I am General Mackenzie,” was the reply.
“What, without an uniform?” rejoined the lieutenant, “Get back, get back, impostor; the general would break your bones if he knew you assumed his name.”
The general on this made his retreat; and the next day, inviting the young officer to breakfast, told him “He had done his duty with very commendable exactness.”