stop at borrowing hardtack.
They were not all of them particular, and when hardtack could not be spared they would get along with coffee or sugar or salt pork; or, if they could borrow a dollar
, “just for a day or two,” they would then repay it surely, because several letters from their friends at home, each one containing money, were already overdue.
People in civil life think they know all about the imperfections of the United States
postal service, and tell of their letters and papers lost, miscarried, or in some way delayed, with much pedantry; but they have yet to learn the A B C of its imperfections, and no one that I know of is so competent to teach them as certain of the Union
I could have produced men in 1862-5, yes — I can now — who lost more letters in one year, three out of every four of which contained considerable sums of money, than any postmaster-general yet appointed is willing to admit have been lost since the establishment of a mail service.
This, remember, the loss of one man; and when it is multiplied by the number of men just like him that were to be found, not in one army alone but in all the armies of the Union
, a special reason is obvious why the government should be liberal in its dealings with the old soldier.
In this connection I am reminded of another interesting feature of army experience, which is of some historical value.
It was this: whenever the troops were paid off a very large majority of them wished to send the most of their pay home to their families or their friends for safe keeping.
Of course there was some risk attending the sending of it in the mails.
To obviate this risk an “allotment” plan was adopted by means of which when the troops were visited by the paymaster, on signing a roll prepared for that purpose, so much of their pay as they wished was allotted or assigned by the soldiers to whomsoever they designated at the North
To illustrate: John Smith
had four months pay due him at the rate of $13 a month.
He decided to allot $10 per month of