crossing, and the dull rattle made by the equipments, the striking of the coffee dipper on the canteen or buckles, as the column glided along in the darkness, or the whipping — up of belated mule-teams, was heard until the gray of morning appeared.
The army on the march in a rain-storm presented some aspects not seen in fair weather.
As soon as it began to rain, or just before, each man would remove his rubber blanket from his roll or knapsack, and put it over his shoulders, tying it in front.
Some men used their shelter tent instead — a very poor substitute, however.
But there was no fun in the marching business during the rain.
It might settle the dust.
It certainly settled about everything else.
An order to go into camp while the rain was in progress was not much of an improvement, for the ground was wet, fence-rails were wet, one's woollen blanket was likely also to be wet, hardtack in the haversack wet-in fact, nothing so abundant and out of place as water.
I remember going into camp one night in particular, in Pleasant Valley, Md.
, on a side-hill during a drenching rain, such as mountain regions know, and lying down under a hastily pitched shelter, with the water coursing freely along beneath me. I was fresh as a soldier then, and this experience, seeming so dreadful then, made a strong impression.
Such situations were too numerous afterwards to make note of even in memory.
Then, the horses!
It made them ugly and vicious to stand in the pelting rain at the picket-rope.
I think they preferred being in harness on the road.
But they were likely to get subdued the next day, when sloughs and mire were the rule.
If two corps took the same road after a storm, the worse for the hindermost, for it found deep ruts and mud-holes in abundance; and as it dragged forward it would come upon some piece of artillery or caisson in the mire to the hubs, doomed to stay, in spite of the shoutings and lashings of the drivers, the swearing of the officers, and