We did not like that, and asked Smart Aleck where he got his information?
He said he had just come from Portsmouth
, and heard the order read.
As the fire burned downward the guns on the ships (that were on fire) exploded, and that caused some uneasiness among the boys from Petersburg
About 1 o'clock we could see by the light from the burning navy yard that the mighty Pawnee
(which had created so much anxiety at Richmond
), with two vessels in tow going down the river towards Fort Monroe
Soon everything quieted down, and we went to sleep.
Next morning (Sunday) about 7 o'clock we were mustered in the Confederate States
service, and then marched to the Fair Grounds
I think we remained there five or six days. From there we went to the Old Marine Hospital
, and it was here we had the first real experience of camp life.
Sweeping up and wheeling out the dirt, getting wood and water, forming regular messes, cooking, and doing guard and picket duty, now employed us.
The first time it fell to my lot to cook, I was instructed to get two pans and bag, and take a slip of paper to the commissary, with the number of men in mess.
Off I went, thinking I was now an officer, with power to give orders, if it were only to say, ‘march to dinner.’
I found around the door of an old building about a dozen fellows, equipped like myself, in only pants and shirt, sleeves rolled up, all loudly complaining about the rations.
On an old door there was laid one-half of a bullock, complete except hide and head.
Over that carcass presided three men. The president was armed with a large knife in his left hand, while in his right he had a carpenter's saw; the secretary read out the number of men in mess, and the vice-president made a mark commencing at the head, the president made a cut, then a saw and one more cut, ‘Mess No. 1
, here is your meat.’
I saw how the bullock was going, and as the president was a slight acquaintance of mine (he carried out marketing for a butcher in Petersburg
, by the name of Mr. Thompson
), I sidled up to him and said: How do you do, Tommy
He looked up, surprised that he should be thus addressed.
‘I was green.’
I knew not the pomp of rank.
Three years after, under the same circumstances, I would have addressed him as General.
I then said, ‘Cut mine near the ribs.’
With a look