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[367]

And now that the winter was approaching, the Pegram Battalion having received orders to march, were again moving in the direction of Burgess' Mill, where, as before mentioned, we had a severe fight, and were now to spend the winter, the selection being a remarkably fine one, as it abounded in good water, with plenty of wood, which at that time was very scarce with many of the troops nearer to Petersburg. This was our third winter in the army. This was, indeed, a severe winter on both horses and men, and the suffering caused by the scarcity of food cannot be expressed. Our commissary was only issuing one pint of corn meal and an eighth of a pound of pork to the man per day, and occasionally, on account of the condition of the roads and the company being such a long distance from the department's quarters, we would not receive anything! Yet the boys kept up and were always ready to crack a joke, sing songs. &c. It seems to me I can hear some of them now as they would break forth in what was at that time a very popular song:

I am lonely in my shanty,
     And rations are scanty,
And thieving is the order of the day;
     The watch-dog is howling,
A hungry Reb is prowling,
     Around the house the hens to steal away.

Chorus.

Come, come, come, rain, come,
     Float over the tops of my boots;
Come and I'll thank ye
     To drive away the Yankee
Until our ranks are filled up with recruits.

Time and again have I known the men to go down to the ponds and break a hole in the ice and fish, staying sometimes all night on its banks, only to be rewarded by the catching of a catfish, which would occasion great joy among their messmates. I don't know what the men would have done had it not been for that very delightful fruit, which seemed to flourish in this section of the country—the Dinwiddie persimmon.

It was amusing to see the men as they crowded around the commissary wagon and hear them discant upon the possibilities of having their hunger appeased once more.

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