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aring such inscriptions, rudely cut or marked with charcoal, as: Parker House, Hole in the wall, Mose Pearson's, Astor House, Willard's hotel, Five points, and other titles equally absurd, expressing in this ridiculous way the vagaries of the inmates. The last kind of shelter I shall mention as used in the field, but not the least in importance, was the Bomb-proofs used by both Union and Rebel armies in the war. Probably there were more of these erected in the vicinity of Petersburg and Richmond than in all the rest of the South combined, if I except Vicksburg, as here the opposing armies established themselves — the one in defence, the other in siege of the two cities. These bomb-proofs were built just inside the fortifications. Their walls were made of logs heavily banked with earth and having a door or wider opening on the side The interior of these structures varied in size with the number that occupied them. Some were built on the surface of the ground, to keep them drier a
which is an amusing jingle of historical facts. I have not heard it sung since that time, but it ran substantially as follows:-- We are the boys of Potomac's ranks, Hurrah! Hurrah! We are the boys of Potomac's ranks, We ran with McDowell, retreated with Banks, And we'll all drink stone blind-- Johnny, fill up the bowl. We fought with McClellan, the Rebs, shakes and fever, Hurrah! Hurrah! Then we fought with McClellan, the Rebs, shakes and fever, But Mac joined the navy on reaching James River, And we'll all drink, etc. Then they gave us John Pope, our patience to tax, Hurrah! Hurrah! Then they gave us John Pope our patience to tax, Who said that out West he'd seen naught but Gray backs. An allusion to a statement in the address made by Pope, on taking command of the Army of Virginia, I have come to you from the West where we have always seen the backs of our enemies. He said his headquarters were in the saddle, Hurrah! Hurrah! He said his headquarters were in the saddle
of army rations would be considered complete that did not at least make mention of the whiskey ration so called. This was not a ration, properly speaking. The government supplied it to the army only on rare occasions, and then by order of the medical department. I think it was never served out to my company more than three or four times, and then during a cold rainstorm or after unusually hard service. Captain N. D. Preston of the Tenth New York Cavalry, in describing Sheridan's raid to Richmond in the spring of 1864, recently, speaks of being instructed by his brigade commander to make a light issue of whiskey to the men of the brigade, and adds, the first and only regular issue of whiskey I ever made or know of being made to an enlisted man. But although he belonged to the arm of the service called the eyes and ears of the army, and was no doubt a gallant soldier, he is not well posted; for men who belonged to other organizations in the Army of the Potomac assure me that it was
fifty-six thousand four hundred and ninety-nine horses and mules in it. Either of these is a large number to provide with water. But of course they were not all watered at the same pond or stream, since the army stretched across many miles of territory. In the summer of 1864, the problem of water-getting before Petersburg was quite a serious one for man and beast. No rain had fallen for several weeks, and the animals belonging to that part of the army which was at quite a remove from the James and Appomattox Rivers had to be ridden nearly two miles (such was the case in my own company, at least; perhaps others went further) for water, and then got only a warm, muddy, and stagnant fluid that had accumulated in some hollow. The soldiers were sorely pressed to get enough to supply their own needs. They would scoop out small holes in old water courses, and patiently await a dipperfull of a warm, milky-colored fluid to ooze from the clay, drop by drop. Hundreds wandered through the
John D. Billings, Hardtack and Coffee: The Unwritten Story of Army Life, X. Raw recruits. (search)
s of young men were doing at that time, and had been doing for months, as it leads up directly to the theme about to be considered. After I had obtained the reluctant consent of my father to enlist,--my mother never gave hers,--the next step hecessary was to make selection of the organization with which to identify my fortunes. I well remember the to me eventful August evening when that decision to enlist was arrived at. The Union army, then under McClellan, had been driven from before Richmond in the disastrous Peninsular campaign, and now the Rebel army, under General Lee, was marching on Washington. President Lincoln had issued a call for three hundred thousand three-years' volunteers. One evening, shortly after this call was made, I met three of my former school-mates and neighbors in the chief village of the town I then called home, and, after a brief discussion of the outlook, one of the quartette challenged, or stumped, the others to enlist.. The challenge was promptly a
where the horses were tied, and there, in a pile of manure thrown up behind them, quickly concealed the case, and, at the bugle signal, was prompt to fall into line. Under cover of darkness, the same night, the plunder was taken from the manureheap and carried to a hill in front of the camp, where it was buried in a manner which would not disclose it to the casual traveller, and yet leave it easily accessible to its unlawful possessor, and here he resorted periodically for a fresh supply, until it was exhausted. I have quoted a few of the prices charged by sutlers. Here are a few of the prices paid by people in Richmond, during the latter part of the war, in Confederate money:-- Potatoes $80 a bushel; a chicken $50; shad $50 per pair; beef $15 a pound; bacon $20 a pound; butter $20 a pound; flour $1500 a barrel; meal $140 a bushel; beans $65 a bushel; cow-peas $80 a bushel; hard wood $50 a cord; green pine $80 a cord; and a dollar in gold was worth $100 in Confederate money.
er secured by regular foraging parties was hams, bacon sides, flour, sweet potatoes, corn-meal, corn on the cob, and sometimes corn-shooks as they were called, that is, corn-leaves stripped. from the stalks, dried and bundled, for winter fodder. The neat cattle in the South get the most of their living in the winter by browsing, there being but little hay cured. In traversing fresh territory, the army came upon extensive quantities of corn in corn-ricks. At Wilcox's Landing, on the James River, where we crossed in June, 1864, the Rebel Wilcox, who had a splendid farm on the left bank of the river, had hundreds of bushels of corn, I should judge, which the forage trains took aboard before they crossed over; and on the south side of the James, east from Petersburg, where Northern troops had never before pene- A corn-barn and hay-rick. trated, many such stores of corn were appropriated to feed the thousands of loyal quadrupeds belonging to Uncle Sam. In this section, too, an
rm from that of the Ninth Corps, with which it was for a time associated, and which led it to adopt a similar badge. The following General Order tells the story of the next Corps' badge:-- Headquarters twenty-Fourth Army Corps, before Richmond, Va., March 18, 1865. [General Orders No. 32.] By authority of the Major-General commanding the Army of the James, the heart is adopted as the badge of the Twenty-Fourth Army Corps. The symbol selected is one which testifies our affectionate d Christian, and the White plume of Murat, that crested the wave of valor sweeping resistlessly to victory. Soldiers! to you is given a chance in this Spring Campaign of making this badge immortal. Let History record that on the banks of the James thirty thousand freemen not only gained their own liberty but shattered the prejudice of the world, and gave to the Land of their birth Peace, Union, and Liberty. Godfrey Weitzel, [Official.] Major-General Commanding. W. L. Goodrich, A. A
advancement of good morals. In all seriousness, however, dealing only with the fact, without attempting to prove or deny justification for it, it is undoubtedly true that the mule-drivers, when duly aroused, could produce a deeper cerulean tint in the surrounding atmosphere than any other class of men in the service. The theory has been advanced that if all of these professional m. d.‘s in the trains of the Army of the Potomac could have been put into the trenches around Petersburg and Richmond, in the fall of 1864, and have been safely advanced to within ear-shot of the enemy, then, at a signal, set to swearing simultaneously at their level-worst, the Rebels would either have thrown down their arms and surrendered then and there, or have fled incontinently to the fastnesses of the Blue Ridge. There may have been devout mule-drivers in Sherman's army, but I never saw one east. They may have been pious on taking up this important work. They were certainly impious before laying i
ion of a personal incident, as it will illustrate in some measure the duties and trials of a stretcher-bearer. It was at the battle of Hatcher's Run, already referred to, or the Boydton Plank Road, as some called it. The guns had been ordered into position near Burgess' Tavern, leaving the caissons and ambulance nearly a half-mile in the rear. Meanwhile, a flank attack of the enemy cut off our communications with the rear for a time, and we thought ourselves sure of an involuntary trip to Richmond; but the way was opened again by some of our advance charging to the rear, and by the destructive fire from our artillery. Soon orders came for the battery to return to the rear. In common with the rest, the writer started to do so when a sergeant asked him to remain and help take off one of our lieutenants, who was lying in a barn near by, severely wounded. So actively had we, been engaged that this was my first knowledge of the sad event. But, alas! what was to be done? Our ambulan
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