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[253]

Soldier life underground

There were places on the advanced line around Petersburg where it was almost certain death to look over the side of the trench. There pickets had to be changed at night. The constant hail of shot and shell made life underground, such as the soldiers in these photographs are leading, not only welcome but necessary. There are two distinct kinds of physical courage. The story is told of a burly camp-bully who threatened to thrash a wiry little veteran half his size for some trivial or fancied slight. ‘No,’ said the veteran, ‘I won't fight you now, but come out on picket where you can be alone after dark with me to-night.’ They crept out silently to relieve the picket in the outer trench that night, but a dislodged stone attracted the Confederates' attention and the shots whistled about their ears. ‘Oh!’ whined the camp-bully, as he crouched in the bottom of the trench, ‘they're trying to kill me!’ ‘Of course they are,’ replied the little veteran quietly: ‘They've been trying to kill me for the last six nights.’ But there was no fight left in the camp-bully when he was required to face bullets.

Bomb-proofs on the lines in front of Petersburg, 1864

Bomb-proofs near Atlanta, Georgia


 

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