Monthly Archives: August 2008


A soldier writing home from Fort Slocum, near Washington, gave the following anecdotes of life in camp: While in Florida we had an Irishman named Murphy, who was very much afflicted with the prevalent camp malady known as “Spring Fever.” In order to escape duty, he reported himself to his Orderly Sergeant as sick, and in due time was taken to the doctor. Being asked the nature of his disease, he complained of a very heavy lightness in the head. “Why,” replied the doctor, “that is a paradox;” and giving him a light dose of “ipecac,” he returned him to duty. Mick left the tent in high dudgeon, exclaiming, “The devil take a doctor who will put a man on duty with a paradox in his head.”

Another fellow, by the name of G____, tried to play the “old soldier” on the same doctor, and also got a dose of “ipecac.” He did not get far from the tent before he began to “heave Jonah.” Cursing the doctor, he went back and said he wanted some other medicine, as the first did not stay on his stomach. The doctor gave him another dose of the same, slightly colored, and G____ went off perfectly satisfied. He did not get far before he realized that he had another Jonah. About this time he “appreciated,” and was content to do duty.

The other evening, one of our bold Lieutenants went up to a “pizen shop” on the hill, and was returning to camp with a little heavier load than the regulations require, when he lost his way, and came through a field but lately cleared. Just as the sentry gave the usual challenge–“Who comes there?”–Charley struck his shin against a fallen tree, and feeling more expressive than poetical, he cried out lustily, “The devil.” “Corporal of the guard, post number six, double-quick,” called out the sentry, adding, “Mine Got in Himmel, here comes ter tivel!”

While on Staten Island, previous to embarking for the South, one of the captains was severely injured by a block of wood falling from one of the third tier of casemates and striking him on the head. The next morning, a New Jersey Dutchman, one of his company, called to inquire after his health. “Good morning, Captain,” says the Dutchman; “how are you getting along?” Being assured that the Captain was out of danger, the Dutchman said: “I heard something drop, and I thought it was a Lieutenant had fallen from the top of the fort, and was knocked all to pieces; and I didn’t think it worth while to pick the pieces up till the coroner came.”

One of our Lieutenants, who boasts of eighteen years’ service in the “regular army,” has been very much troubled by the privates coming into his quarters. To put a stop to this, he has displayed a large notice in front of his tent. It is, as near as I can copy it, verbatim et literatim, as follows:

No 1 aloud in here excep on bisnes,
By order of
Lt. H_____ F______
Ferst leutenant.

A few days ago one of our boys played a rather small game to get on guard as “supernumerary” –who only have to stand on post while any of the men may have to leave for some necessary reason; at other times he can stay in the guard tents out of the storm. The rest of the boys did not like it much, and agreed among themselves to repay him. As soon, therefore, as their “relief” came on, one of them called out, “Corporal of the guard; post number three wants to be relieved,” and the supernumerary had to take his place. As soon as number three returned and took his place, number five called to be relieved; and so they kept the poor fellow traveling from one post to another all night. Since then he has gone by the name of “Supernumerary.”

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Early in the spring of 1862, four young men of the city of Frederick went to the good old town of Liberty, and while passing the Stars and Stripes floating from a pole at the west end of the town, took occasion to curse that time-honored emblem, and say something about taking it down. Hearing, however, that they would be called to account for their rebellious acts, they loaded their pistols before leaving the hotel, and said what they would do if attacked. Now comes the “fun.” About five o’clock the carriage is seen coming up the hill and when nearly opposite the flag, two of the citizens walked out into the middle of the street and gave the command, “Halt,” which was promptly obeyed. The next command was: “Salute that flag.” After an excuse of two about a “bad cold,” and “how salute it,” they gave a weak “cheer.” The answer was: “That won’t do: a little louder!” and the second time their voices were raised considerably; but, “Louder yet,” was commanded; and the third time they gave a mighty good proof of strong lungs. They were then ordered to curse secessionism, and they did so; after which they were allowed to pass on, wiser, if not better men.

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A SOLDIER in one of the Union hospitals, who had lost one of his arms, was rejoicing over the fact. Said he: “My grandfather lost a leg in the Revolutionary war, and our family have been bragging over it ever since. That story is an old one, and now I am going to be the hero of the family.”

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A correspondent of a Wisconsin paper had his attention arrested by the appearance of a rather oldish man among a company of recruits for the Seventeenth (Irish) Wisconsin regiment, who were on board the cars, on the way to camp, who gave his name, as follows:

“My name is Rufus Brockway, and I am in the seventieth year of my age. I am a Yankee, from the State of New Hampshire; was a volunteer in the last war with England for nearly three years. I have served under Gens. Izard, McNeil, and Macomb, being transferred from one command to another, as the circumstances then required. I was at the battle of Plattsburg, at the battle of French Creek in Canada, and at the battle of Chateaugay, on the 14th day of October, 1813, and was present at the surrender of McDonough.

“I was now a farmer, in the town of Beaver Dam, Dodge County, and, with my son, the owner of three hundred acres of land; my son was a volunteer in the Federal army at the battle of Bull Run, had his nose badly barked, and his hips broken in, and disabled for life, by a charge of the rebel cavalry, and now I am going to see if the rebels can bark the old man’s nose.

“I tell you,” said the old man, “if England pitches in, you’ll see a great many old men like me turning out; but the greatest of my fears is, that I shall not be permitted to take an active part in the present war.”

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