Monthly Archives: November 2008


A soldier, writing from his camp near Fredericksburg, narrated the following, which occurred while he was on picket duty with his company:–

It was Christmas day and after partaking of a Christmas dinner of salt junk and hard tack, our attention was attracted by a rebel picket who hailed us from the opposite side of the river.

“I say, Yank, if a fellow goes over there, will you let him come back again?”

Receiving an affirmative answer, he proceeded to test the truth of it by paddling himself across the river. He was decidedly the cleanest specimen of a rebel I had seen. In answer to a question, he said he belonged to the Georgia Legion. One of our boys remarked, “I met quite a number of your boys at South Mountain.”

“Yes, I suppose so–if you were there,” said the rebel, while his face grew very sad. “We left many of our boys there. My brother, poor Will, was killed there. It was a hot place for a while, and we had to leave it in a hurry.”

“That’s so, Georgia; your fellows fought well there, and had all the advantage, but the old Keystone boys were pressing you hard. By the way, I have a likeness here (taking it out of his pocket), that I picked up on the battle-field the next morning, and I have carried it ever since.” He handed it to the rebel, who, on looking at it pressed it to his lips exclaiming, “My mother! my mother!”

He exhibited considerable emotion at the recovery of the picture, but on the recovery of his composure he said that his brother had it in his possession, and must have lost it in the fight. He then asked the name of the one to whom he was indebted for the lost likeness of his mother, remarking, “There may be better times soon, and we may know each other better.”

He had taken form his pocket a small pocket-bible in which to write the address, when Alex —-, who had taken no part in the conversation, fairly yelled, “I know that book; I lost it at Bull Run!”

“Thar’s whar I got it, Mr. Yank,” said the rebel, and he handed it to Alex.

“I am much obliged to you, Georgia Legion; I would not part with it for all the Southern Confederacy.”

I was a little curious to know something further of the book, so I asked Alex to let me see it. He passed it to me. I opened it, and on the flyleaf was written in a neat band. “My Christmas Gift, to Alex—, Dec. 25th, 1860. Ella.” “Well, Alex,” said I, “it is not often one has the same gift presented to him a second time.”

“True, Captain; and if I could but see the giver of that to-day, there’s but one other gift I would want.”

“What’s that, Alex?”

“This rebellion played out, and my discharge in my pocket.”

The boys had all been busy talking to our rebel friend, who, seeing a horseman approaching in the direction of his post, bid us a hasty good-by, and made a quick trip across the Rappahannock. Night came on, and those not on duty lay down on the frozen ground to dream of other Christmas nights, when we knew not of war.

Posted in Recent Entries | Leave a comment


Of course you remember the story of Little Johnny Clem, the motherless atom of a drummer boy, “aged ten,” who strayed away from Newark, Ohio; and the first we knew of him, though small enough to live in a drum, was beating the long roll for the Twenty-second Michigan. At Chickamauga he filled the office of “marker,” carrying the guidon whereby they form the lines–a duty having its counterpart in the surveyor’s more peaceful calling; in the flag-man, who flutters the red signal along the metes and bounds. On the Sunday of the battle, the little fellow’s occupation gone, he picked up a gun that had fallen from some dying hand, provided himself with ammunition, and began putting in the periods quite on his own account, blazing away close to the ground, like a fire-fly in the grass. Late in the waning day, the waif left almost alone in the whirl of the battle, a rebel Colonel dashed up, and looking down at him, ordered him to surrender. “Surrender!” he shouted, “you little d—d son of a —–!” The words were hardly out of his mouth, when Johnny brought his piece to “order arms,” and as his hand slipped down to the hammer, he pressed it back, swung up the gun to the position of “charge bayonet;” and as the officer raised his sabre to strike the piece aside, the glancing barrel lifted into range, and the proud Colonel tumbled from his horse, his lips fresh-stained with the syllable of vile reproach he had flung on a mother’s grave in the hearing of her child!

A few swift moments ticked on by musket-shots, and the tiny gunner was swept up at a rebel swoop, and borne away a prisoner. Soldiers, bigger but not better, were taken with him, only to be washed back again by a surge of Federal troopers, and the prisoner of thirty minutes was again John Clem “of ours;” and Gen. Roserans; and the daughter of Mr. Secretary Chase presented him with a silver medal, appropriately inscribed, which he worthilly wears–a royal order of honor–upon his left breast.

Posted in Recent Entries | Leave a comment


During the last year of the war, Kentucky was infested with roving squads of armed men, sometimes calling themselves Confederate cavalry. But in general they were little better than robbers, who took advantage of the disorders of the time to ply their nefarions business; and when called to account, would demand the treatment usually given to prisoners of war. Many old neighborhood feuds were thus revenged, and numerous deeds of blood and shame, which were attempted to be explained as only the disorders incident to civil war.

In December, 1864, a small number of Union soldiers were stationed at Caseyville, on the Ohio River, with instructions to ferret out and punish all guerrilla bands infesting the neighborhood. Major Shook commanded the force, and about the 15th of December he sent out Capt. Peck with a squad of men to hunt for Lyon, a troublesome guerrilla in that region. Three of his men–Lieut. Bogard, Serg. Richards, and Corp. Doughtey–rode some two miles in advance of the scouting party, and they saw a group of men in blue overcoats before them in the road. Riding straight up to them, one of the men inquired what command they belonged to. Lieut. B. replied, “To Major Shook’s command, at Caseyville.” Capt. Stedman, in command of the rebels, then ordered the three men to surrender.

“That’s played out,” coolly replied Serg. Richards; and drawing his pistol shot Stedman, so that he died next morning. Lieut. Bogard and Corp. Doughtey then fired on two other men, and brought them both to the ground. As Lieut. B. was wounded, the Union party now fell back a few yards, when the Lieutenant fell from his horse. His companions, instead of continuing the retreat, now turned their horses and charged upon the hostile party, routing them, and bringing off the bodies of the three who had falling. The other two besides Stedman proved to be George Henry and Capt. Woodfolk.

Woodfolk and Stedman were both notorious guerrillas and daring men–the latter having once been employed in the office of the Richmond Examiner, and having on his person a large quantity of Confederate money.

Woodfolk had once before been captured, brought to Louisville, and condemned to be shot, but by some means had made his escape. Besides killing these three, the party captured four horses, seven pistols, two guns, and seven cavalry equipments complete.

Posted in Recent Entries | Leave a comment


The following is a copy of a challenge, which appears to have been prepared by a member of the Pillow Guards:–

Pillow Guards of Memphis to Prentiss Guards of Cairo:

We have enlisted under the stars and bars of the Confederate States for the purpose of defending Southern rights and vindicating Southern honor. But more especially we have been selected and sworn in for the purpose of guarding the person of our gallant Gen. Pillow. Understanding that you occupy a like position with reference to Prentiss, the commandant at Cairo, we challenge you to meet us at any time, at any place, in any number, and with any arms or equipments which you may select. We wish to meet no others till we have met and conquered you and your General. Make your own terms, only let us know when and where, and be certain you will meet the bravest guard the world has ever known.

The signatures of the challenging party are omitted in the copy in possession of your correspondent, but on the back is indorsed the following, viz.:

Prentiss Guards to Pillow Guards:

We accept no challenge from traitors, but hang them. If we ever meet, you shall suffer the fate of traitors. JOSEPH D. WALKER,
Captain Company.

Posted in Recent Entries | Leave a comment