the aid of General 0. M. Mitchell
, he subsequently recovered the most of this money; but the conduct of the soldiers, on this occasion, was a stunning blow to the Union
It happened that the company were foreigners, and, however valuable they might be as fighters, they had an eye to pillage.
They stole more in a few hours than the Southern
soldiers, in the same immediate neighborhood, had stolen in the whole course of the war up to that time.
This company returned in the direction of Huntsville, Alabama
, the same day, and we saw no more Federals for about five weeks. Meantime, the Southern
soldiers came in, and from that time until the close of the war the citizens were first treated to one side and then the other.
Near the close of 1863, I left that part of the country, and went North; but, having been within both lines and both camps, my opportunities for observing the characteristics of the two armies were excellent.
Beside, I had kinsmen and friends in each army operating in that region, and through them I had many inside views of camp life, and opportunities to contrast the traits of each army.
The Union army was altogether the best fed. Early in 1862 the Confederates
ceased to have coffee.
Indeed, they had not from the first anything like a regular supply.
Soon after meat and flour began to grow scarce.
But the abundance of coffee which the Federals
had was worth several regiments of men to that side.
I personally knew of an amusing instance of coffee alone drawing three soldiers into the Federal
Not far from us lived a family whom I will call Blank-father and two sons.
The father was among the first to volunteer in the Southern
army and fight for his “rights,” although he was utterly impecunious, having no negroes or much of anything else.
He was captured, paroled and came home until exchanged.
The Federal army came near, and his two sons, then at man's estate, went down to the Union
“camp” to see how things looked.
They met friends there and were bountifully fed upon crackers and coffee.
This last was a luxury which they had long been deprived.
They actually enlisted to get plenty of coffee and “grub.”
When the old man heard of this performance he started for the camp to get his sons out of the “scrape.”
He got in, got some of that good coffee, and enlisted for the war and fought it through with his two sons!
Thus coffee captured recruits.
The reader may doubt this story, but I can vouch for its truth.
The parties are all yet living, and not long ago I saw the old man, and, indeed, have known him for many years.
Through the whole war the superior food of the Union
army was a powerful lever upon that side.
After the first year the Confederates
had little coffee, and