May 06, 2007

Twain lived by his wits, even in Annapolis

The great American author Mark Twain came to Annapolis 100 years ago this month and didn't forget to pack his famous wit.

He was treated as a dignitary wherever he went, including the freshly finished Naval Academy Yard. Twain was met at Bancroft Hall by a Lieutenant Commander Dayton and Commander Dewey, The Sun reported. They came down the steps with swords rattling and caps in hand.

Twain, the pseudonym of Samuel Clemens, shook hands but did not salute the military brass.

"I don't remember the salute," he explained on the spot. "I was only two weeks in the Confederate army and quit to save the lives of Union soldiers, who were running themselves to death trying to catch me."

[Sources: Sun library researcher Paul McCardell, Chicago Tribune.]

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