dinner and they would have a fresh mule cooked.
Declining with thanks, the boys in blue went to their camp to full meals, to camp stories of flood and field, to tender readings of letters from wife, family or sweetheart, and, owing to numbers, light fighting when put on duty.
Behind those yellow streaks of sand that faced them they saw not the lank figure that an hour before had thrown back to them the quirk of wit. Let us, who are on the inside, look at that sentinel standing motionless on guard, or that one wrapped in his coarse torn blanket laid in the trenches; the finger of death has crossed his forehead, drawing the hollow cheeks to closer lines, shrinking all but the unbending soul that is in command.
Scan them all, the ones standing by the grim tubes of iron, shotted or shelled for use in the next charge; the ones tossing restlessly on the hospital pallets, torn and mangled out of shape; the boy who, unable to lift the sand on his spade to build up a battery, yet apologizes for his inability by laying it to hunger and not to want of will; and dare any one say that these were men who ought not to be respected—whose eyes said plainly, we are soldiers.
I say God bless those that are alive, and those who have cast off the soldierly accoutrements of life to take upon themselves the duties of a better existence.
Either alive or dead they deserve the loving praise of the South
, the acknowledgments of the North
that the crown of bravery was the standard and emblem under which they fought.
The common things of today are the history of to-morrow, so in putting into words my recollections of what came under my eye in Vicksburg
, I hope it will incite others of my comrades to put upon the plane of record their impressions of events and actions on other parts of the fire-encircled rim that enclosed the City
of the Hills
The Blues have had their say for twenty years. They have stiffened history by crowding too many of their heroes on its pages.
Let the Grays shake the dust from the past and lovingly limn the great ones who led and were led in not only the field of Vicksburg
but on other fields where glory was won or the right to wear the spurs of knighthood maintained.
The soldiers of both sides will like it. The brave men on both sides, when the order for stacking arms was given, gave hands and kind greetings to each other; it was the weaklings and vicious that enlisted for the war when the bullets ceased to rustle the air, and that like spiteful cats want to still continue the fight from opposite housetops.