occurrence for the regimental band to include among its selections the delightful melody of ‘Fair Harvard’ in their honor.
The chief thing of interest, beside work, at Poolesville
seemed to be to stockade the tents and to build a fire-place which would not smoke the occupants out. Capt. Rice
constructed one where the fire was to be in a hole in the ground, the smoke to be carried under ground until it could escape by means of a hollow log, placed upright, some six or eight feet from the tent.
This seemed a success until one morning, when the log was found burning rapidly and the tent was filled with smoke so dense that one could almost cut it. In some tents a trough about eighteen inches deep and two feet wide was dug from the centre of the tent to the outside.
This was covered with broad flat stones.
A barrel over the outer end formed a chimney and the whole was plastered with mud. A small opening left in the centre of the tent served for the admission of fuel, and, when the wind was contrary, for the exit of smoke.
One officer had a fine fire-place, with a mantel over it and a chimney built of mud, bricks and sticks.
Others secured stoves and then, by building wooden walls to their tents, were made quite comfortable.
Among the incidents of camp life at Camp Benton was one which showed how the ingenuity of the soldier can be worked into his duty, making it enjoyable and divesting it of what otherwise might prove to be tedious and irksome.
A detail of woodchoppers was made up, consisting of two men from each company, with a corporal in charge of each squad.
The detail was placed in charge of Sergt. William A. McGinnis
, of Company K, who, in his spirit of getting as much fun out of everything as was possible, designated each of the corporals as captains and made Charles A. Newhall
of Company K ‘Adjutant’ of the detail.
As Sergt. McGinnis
told an interviewer in after life, Newhall
was a ‘mere’ at that time, and when asked to explain, said:
You see, we had a second lieutenant who felt pretty big over his new straps and nobby uniform.
One day he had visitors and one of the boys passed them.
A lady asked him who the man was.