solicitude during the war, so far as the writer has any recollection.
Interesting periods, however, can be recalled after this when such an object would have excited the greatest care and attention, for fresh river fish would ever be a welcome and happy change for the tough, changeless army ration of fresh beef, so productive of uneasy sleep, and so worrying upon the soldiers' digestion.
The mention of fresh rations brings to my recollection a communication received about this time from General Reynolds
, who was at this early period of the war as rigid in protecting the beef and mutton of the rebel citizens as McClellan
himself; indeed, in this he was but carrying out the standing orders of the commander-in-chief
The communication was dated Headquarters First Army Corps, October 21st, 1862, and in the general's own handwriting, and for this reason is preserved as a precious memento of our lamented corps commander.
It was in these words:
It is represented that some of your men have crossed the river and have been killing sheep belonging to Mr. Shepherd.
You will take such measures as to prevent this at once.
This letter was signed, “John F. Reynolds
, Brigadier General
, commanding,” and did not come through the regular military channel, the General
not seeming to be a stickler in the observance of red tape.
No copy of the reply to this communication was retained, but a suitable one was promptly made, and, of course, the general commanding the corps was respectfully informed that he had been misinformed as to any of the soldiers of the brigade referred to engaging in any such recreation, as they had not, so early in the war, attained that degree of discipline as to secure subsistence in that way. It might be supposed that in less than a year from this period, when the army had undergone a little necessary demoralization in this direction and secured a little more patriotic wisdom on this interesting point, that these soldiers would have accepted a little subsistence of this kind; and doubtless the general would have thought it of so contraband a character as to have saved himself the writing, and his orderly the time of conveying, dispatches on the subject.
For weeks the army had been resting, and at the same time preparing for a movement against the enemy, and almost daily orders were issued of a preliminary character.
For the week previous to the movement, we were kept in hourly, yea, constant, expectancy for the final marching orders.
While in this excited condition, an orderly dashed up with the following communication from General Reynolds
, dated at his headquarters, October 25th, 1862:
The general commanding desires you will question Mrs. —, wife of who will cross to your headquarters to-day, as to the position and movements of the