There was stronger individuality about the Southern
soldier, and he was far more apt to “talk back” to his superior than were the Federals
Frequently have I seen Southern soldiers splitting the mud with their feet and the air with oaths, as they pranced up and down the streets, promising to “get even” with such and such an officer when the war was over and all were on an equality again.
“Just wait until this thing is over, and I can give him a fair fight,” was about the way the case was put. But I have not heard of the settlement of any of these momentous difficulties since the surrender.
Among Southern officers of lower rank there always seemed to me to be more ill-feeling for certain of their superiors, and lack of confidence, than I ever had an opportunity of noticing on the other side.
But jealousies and bickerings are common to all humanity, only it did seem to me there were more of it in the Southern
army than the other; and, too, more disposition to saddle the responsibility of disaster upon the shoulders of their commanders.
I may have mentioned that it used to seem to me that the Southern
troops were more liable to “panics” and stampedes than the others.
This may be because I happened to have personal knowledge of three “panics” among Southern soldiers, and never chanced to witness anything of the sort on the other side.
The Federals always appeared to me to be more self-possessed and cooler in the hour of danger, and I have seen them in some trying situations.
The “panics” among the Southern
troops that I happened to know of, from seeing some of the fugitives, was the famous Fishing creek
panic, the Battle creek
panic, and the Bridgeport
The Battle creek
affair was very ridiculous.
Two cavalry regiments were camped near us. Hearing there were some “Yankees” near the head of Battle creek
they sallied forth in the early morning to scoop them up. They went out in fine style, and in the best of spirits.
The commander, I believe, was Colonel Adams
Late in the afternoon a few cavalry came dashing through the town, bareheaded and covered with mud “Get out of the way!”
they cried; “the Yankees
are right behind us!
We are all cut to pieces!”
And on they went.
Soon more came, and then the whole command, riding rapidly, some bareheaded, and all in a hurry, and apparently badly scared.
Before dark they were all through, and left us in momentary expectation of seeing the victorious Federals.
They did not get along, however, until noon next day. Come to get at the truth of the matter, the advance of the cavalry had been fired into and “seen” more Yankees than they expected, whereupon a “panic” seized the whole command and they fled most ingloriously and