An army letter gives the following description of the manner in which a veteran soldier makes himself comfortable in camp:
“It is a trite remark that a man never knows how much he can do without until he tries it, but it is more to my present purpose to say that he never knows with how little he can make himself comfortable until he makes the experiment. Nobody possesses this invaluable knowledge so much as a veteran. Put a recruit into a forest of pine trees, with his shelter tent, and if he have nobody but recruits about him, ten to one you will find him under his shelter tent three weeks from that time.
“Not so with the veteran. If he be camped in the pine forest, give him an old axe, a boot-leg, a mud-puddle, a board or two, and a handful of nails, and he builds him a house, and a house, too, comfortable and commodious, and not wanting in architectural beauty. First he fells his trees, then cuts and notches his logs, and lays them together to the required height. His roof he puts on, giving it a great slope, and thatching it with the green of the pine trees.
“He has been careful to leave window spaces, and tacking pieces of his shelter tent over these, he has provided light, but he keeps out the nipping air of winter. Then with his board he makes the door, and the boot-leg supplying the hinges, it soon swings into its place. Then he fills the spaces between the logs with soft earth from his mud-puddle, and his house is done, except the chimney, and the forest and the mud-puddle soon provide that, for his chimney is nothing but a pile of sticks, plentifully plastered without and within with mud. Then with his old axe he manufactures out of pine logs a full assortment of furniture,–bedstead, chairs, table, wardrobe, and generally adds a mantel. Then, with a bright fire upon his hearth, he is prepared to laugh at winter, and generally does.”
Originally posted 2008-04-07 02:51:34.