off from the inhabitants, and the family cow
, while she was spared, was fitted out for such service.
But the soldiers did not always content themselves with taking eatables and forage.
Destruction of the most wanton and inexcusable character was sometimes indulged in. It is charged upon them when the army entered Fredericksburg
, in 1862, that they took especial delight in bayonetting mirrors, smashing piano-keys with musket-butts, pitching crockery out of windows, and destroying other such inoffensive material, which could be of no possible service to either party.
If they had been imbibing commissary whiskey, they were all the more unreasonable and outrageous in their destruction.
Whenever a man was detected in the enactment of such disgraceful and unsoldierly conduct, he was put under arrest, and sentenced by court-martial.
But this class of men was an insignificantly small fraction of an army, although seeming very numerous to their victims.
A regularly authorized body of foragers, in charge of a commissioned officer, never gave way to excesses like those I have mentioned.
Their task was usually well defined.
It was to go out with wagons in quest of the contents of smoke-houses or barns or corn-barns; and if a flock of fowls or a few swine chanced to be a part of the livestock of the farms visited, the worse for the live-stock and Secessia, and the better for the Union
The usual plunder secured by regular foraging parties was hams, bacon sides
, flour, sweet potatoes, corn-meal
, corn on the cob, and sometimes corn-shooks as they were called, that is, corn-leaves stripped.
from the stalks, dried and bundled, for winter fodder.
The neat cattle in the South
get the most of their living in the winter by browsing, there being but little hay cured.
In traversing fresh territory, the army came upon extensive quantities of corn in corn-ricks.
At Wilcox's Landing, on the James River
, where we crossed in June, 1864, the