front; but when they arrived in good condition, it was pleasing to see the generosity which prompted the recipients to share these luxuries from home with their comrades.
At such times a flood of memories of the fireside would arise, and an interchange of kindly sentiment would occur, that would soften the asperity of camp life, and, altogether, cause the best side of human nature to present itself.
The management of the commissariat in these days seemed susceptible of a good deal of improvement, both in respect to preserving in good wholesome condition the bread and meat, and in regularly distributing it at necessary intervals.
We shall have occasion to contrast unfavorably the seeming inefficiency of the subsistence department in this period, with its workings at a later time, when we were cut loose from our base of supplies, and were provided with no more ample means of transportation than in 1862.
Still, the very annoyances to which soldiers were subjected, in the way, for example, of bad biscuit or defective meat, were the means of developing much wit and linguistic sprightliness that otherwise had remained dormant.
Some wag would declare that B. C., on the cracker-boxes of the time, denoted that the hardtack was made before the Christian era, and kindred jokes abounded at the expense of salt junk and desiccated vegetables.
So also was culinary ingenuity stimulated; a variety of delectable dishes resulted,—army scouse, dingbats, flippers, succotash, etc.
Preventive measures enjoined upon the commands by the medical department, and, in the main, well carried out, in regard to cleanliness, the depth of sinks, and the burial of offal, were undoubtedly instrumental in lessening, comparatively, the disease and mortality rates in the camps along the Chickahominy
; but the region is generally miasmatic, and the fact that the manure of the plantations had been dumped in the runs tributary to the river, and that a similar disposition was made of that which accumulated in the corrals of the army, would seem to indicate that immunity from disease must have been purchased by great vigilance and care.
Many soldiers will recall with gratitude the gifts, during this and later periods, of the United States Sanitary Commission; considering the peculiar diet of the men during the peninsula