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As Bishop Rosecrans (brother of the General) was at dinner, the conversation reverted to the war.

“It would seem to me, Bishop, that you and your brother, the General, are engaged in very different callings.” remarked a gentleman

“Yes, it appears so,” returned the Bishop

“And yet,” he continued, “we are both fighting men. While the General is wielding the sword of flesh, I trust that I am using the sword of the Spirit. He is fighting the rebels, and I am fighting the spirits of darkness. There is this difference in the terms of our service: he is fighting with Price, whild I am fighting without price.”

Originally posted 2008-01-21 21:33:45.

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Militia companies have always been popular, but never so much so as since the war broke out. Young men with stay-at-home-and-take-care-of-the-women proclivities, are more than ever inclined to join the Home Guards, in consequence of increased mortality in the army of the United States, as shown by the newspaper statistics

With a laudable ambition to support the Government, in any and every emergency, I have recently become a member of the War Department myself. I joined the Ellsworth Zouaves, a remnant of what used to be a troupe of acrobats, who distinguished themselves all the way from Chicago to Washington, by turning double somersaults, with muskets in their mouths and bayonets in their hands

There are no members of the Old Zouave battalion in the new one, but the new one retains the name of Ellsworth because one of the members has a brother that once saw a picture of Colonel Ellsworth’s grandfather. The names of organizations frequently have a more remote origin than this, and many of them are about as consistent and reasonable as a man claiming relationship to the President of the United States because he was born in Lincolnshire, or supposing he would be Governor if he married a governess, or trying to pass free at a circus as a representative of the press because he is a cheese-maker

I was put through a rigid course of examination before I could be made a Zouave, and I say it with feelings of gratification and self-esteem, that I was remarkably well posted in the catechism. My father was a hero of the revolution, having been caught once in a water-wheel, and whirled around rapidly a number of times. Others of the family have also distinguished themselves as military men at different periods, but their deeds of courage are too well known to need repetition

The following is a copy verbatim et literatim et wordim of most of the questions propounded to me, and the answers thereto, which my intimate acquaintance with the Army Regulations and the report of the Committee on the Conduct of the War enable me to answer readily and accurately. My interrogator was a little man in Federal blue, with gold leaves on his shoulders. They called him Major, but he looked young enough to be a minor. He led off with-

“How old are you, and what are your qualifications?

“Twenty-two and a strong stomach.

Then I requested him to fire his interrogations singly, which he did

“What is the first duty to be learned by a soldier?

“How to draw his rations.

“What is the most difficult feat for a soldier to perform?

“Drawing his bounty.

“If you were in the rear rank of a company during an action, and the man in the front rank before you should be wounded and disabled, what would you do?

“I would despatch myself to the rear for a surgeon immediately. Some men would step forward and take the wounded man’s place, but that is unnatural.

“If you were commanding skirmishers, and saw cavalry advancing in the front and infantry in the rear, which would you meet?

“Neither; I would mass myself for a bold movement, and shove out sideways.

“If you were captured what line of conduct would you pursue?

“I would treat my captors with the utmost civility.

“What are the duties of Home Guards?

“Their duty is to see that they have no duties.

“What will you take?

The latter question may have been answered with too much vehemence, and may have impressed listener with the belief that I am in the habit of jumping at conclusions. Such, however, is not the case.

I am a Zouave; I am a Home Guard. I have been through all the manoeuvres, and can right about face; I can also write about any other part of the body. I can do the hand-springs, and the tumbling, and the lay down and roll-overs, which are done with or without a musket. I have been drilled till the drill has become a bore.I have drilled in all the marches and leaps and vaults, and in the bayonet exercises, and in all the steps,– the common step, the quick step, the very quick step, and the double quick step, and the trot and the run; also in slow time and long time, which I never learned from my landlady nor my tailor. I can shoulder arms, and bear arms, and carry arms, (if they are not too heavy,) and reverse arms, and support arms, (ordinarily my arms support me,) and I can order arms better than I can pay for them after they are ordered. I can parry and tierce, and I can throw a hand-spring with a sword-bayonet in my hand without breaking the sword-bayonet in more than three pieces, and I can bite off a cartridge without breaking my teeth out

Once, when an order was given to sling knapsacks, I slung mine out of the window, and when the order was given to unsling knapsacks, I went out and slung it back again quicker than anybody else could have done it. I have got a pretty knapsack too– there are letters on it. It is just the thing to sit down on in the time of an action, and is big enough for a breastwork in case of danger from bullets or anything of that sort. It’s heavy, though, and I felt that there was an immense responsibility resting on me the first time I shouldered it. I must have felt something like Atlas did the first time he shouldered the world. It was so heavy that, as a piece of masterly strategy, I fell back the first time I strapped it on; and as a piece of unmasterly strategy I came near breaking my head against the floor. The Major had promised to put sawdust, softened with soda-water, on the floor hereafter

I have been getting a Major General’s uniform made. There is every opportunity that could be desired for promotion, in our corps, where real merit exists, and a Major General of Home Guards is not to be sneezed at. I may have to keep my uniform a few years before I will have occasion to wear it, but a Major General’s toggery is a good thing to have in case of promotion. I trust my friends will give themselves no uneasiness, as I feel sure of ultimate success in the enterprises I have undertaken. I mean to strike the keynote of my campaign soon, and then look out for a sensation in military circles

I haven’t shaved my upper lip since yesterday afternoon. To-morrow will be the third day. I mean to grow a moustache that will be an object of admiration and envy. Mustachios are indispensable to the achievement of a Major Generalship. Mustachios are absolutely necessary to the achievement of anything that is useful

In the event of a war between the United States and the Esquimaux, Chicago my residence will, in all likelihood, be one of the first cities attacked by the invading enemy, and every precaution should be taken to be fully prepared for them. Should such attack ever be made by the warlike and bloodthirsty Esquimaux, or any other of the great powers of the earth, and should it be my misfortune to be unable personally to command my forces, (for I have often observed that an invasion is productive of sickness,) I shall take care that my second officer is a man of sufficient capacity to defend the city as ably as I would do it myself. Should the worst come to the worst, I stand ready to sacrifice a substitute on the altar of my country.

Originally posted 2008-01-20 14:01:47.

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‘Tis a cheerless, lonesome evening
When the soaking, sodden ground
Will not echo to the footfall
Of the sentinel’s dull round.

God’s blue star-spangled banner
To-night is not unfurled,
Surely He has not deserted
This weary, warring world.

I peer into the darkness,
And the crowding fancies come;
The night wind blowing northward
Carries all my heart towards home.

For I ‘listed in this army
Not exactly to my mind;
But my country called for helpers,
And I could not stay behind.

Lo, I have had a sight of drilling,
And have roughed it many ways,
And Death has nearly had me,–
Still I think the service pays.

It’s a blessed sort of feeling,
Whether you live or die,
To know you’ve helped your country,
And fought right loyally.

But I can’t help thinking, sometimes
When a wet day’s leisure comes,
That I hear the old home voices
Talking louder than the drums.

And that far familiar faces
Press in at the tent door,
And the little children’s footsteps
Go pit-pat on the floor.

I can’t help thinking, sometimes,
Of all the parson reads
About that other soldier-life
Which every true man leads.

And wife, soft-hearted creature,
Seems a saying in mine ear,
“I’d rather have you in those ranks
Than see you Brigadier.”

I call myself a brave one,
But in my heart I lie;
For my country and her honor
I’m fiercely free to die,

But when the Lore who bought me,
Asks for my service here,
To fight the good fight faithfully
I’m skulking in the rear.

And yet I know that Captain
All love and care to be;
He would not get impatient
With a raw recruit like me.

And I know He’d not forget me,
When the day of peace appears,
I should share with Him the victory
Of all the volunteers.

And it’s kind of cheerful thinking
Beside the dull tent fire,
About that great promotion
When He says “Come up higher.”

And though ’tis dismal rainy,
E’en now with thoughts of Him,
Camp-life looks extra cheery,
And death a deal less grim.

For I seem to see him waiting
Where a gathered Heaven greets
A great victorious army,
Surging up the golden streets.

And I hear him read the roll-call,
And my heart is all a flame
When the dear “Recording Angel”
Writes down my happy name.

But my fire is dead white ashes,
And the tent is chilling cold,
And I’m playing win the battle,
When I’ve never been enrolled.

Originally posted 2008-01-19 15:12:03.

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A rifleman belonging to the Southern army gives the following account of his experiences in the service:–

In the beginning of the American war I belonged to a regiment of mounted riflemen, and we were sent into Eastern Tennessee, where there was a good deal of bushwhacking about that time. We were picketed one day in a line about two miles long across country, and I was on the extreme left. I took my saddle off, holsters and all, and hung it on a branch of a peach-tree, and my carbine on another. We knew there were no Yankees near, and so I was kind o’ off guard, eating peaches. By and by I saw a young woman coming down to where I was, on horseback. She wanted to know if there were many of the boys near, and if they would buy some milk of her if she took it down to them. I said I thought they would, and took about a quart myself; and as she hadn’t much more, I emptied the water out of my canteen and took the rest. Says she, “If you’ll come up to the house yonder, I’ve got something better than that; you may have some good peach brandy–some of your fellows might like a little.” I said I’d go, and she says, “You needn’t take your saddle or carbine, it’s just a step, and they are safe enough here–there’s nobody about.” So I mounted bareback, and she led the way. When we passed the bars where she came in, she says, “You ride on a step, and I’ll get down and put up the bars.” I went on, and as she came up behind, she says pretty sharp, “Ride a little faster, if you please.” I looked round and she had a revolver pointed straight at my head, and I saw that she knew how to use it. I had left everything behind me like a fool, and had to give in and obey orders. “That’s the house if you please,” she says, and showed me a house in the edge of the woods a quarter of a mile away. We got there, and she told me to get down and eat something, for she was going to give me a long ride–into the Yankee lines, about twenty miles away. Her father came out and abused me like a thief, and told me that he was going to have me sent into the Federal lines to be hung. It seems he had a son hung the week before by some of the Confederates, and was going to have his revenge out of me. I ate pretty well, for I thought I might need it before I got any more, and then the old fellow began to curse me and abuse me like anything. He said he would shoot me on the spot if it wasn’t that he’d rather have me hung; and instead of giving me my own horse, he took the worst one he had in his stables, and they put me on that with my feet tied together under his belly. Luckily they didn’t tie my hands, for they thought I had no arms, and couldn’t help myself: but I always carried a small revolver in my shirt-bosom. The girl kept too sharp watch on me for me to use it. She never turned her revolver from me, and I knew that the first suspicious move I made I was a dead man. We went about ten miles in this way, when my old crow-bait gave out and wouldn’t go any further. She wouldn’t trust me afoot, and so had to give up her own horse; but she kept the bridle in her own hands, and walked ahead with one eye turned back on me, and the revolver cocked, with her finger on the trigger, so that I never had a chance to put my hand in my bosom. We finally came to a spring, and she asked me if I wanted to drink. I didn’t feel much like drinking, but I said yes, and so she let me down. I put my head down to the water, and at the same time put my hand down to where the revolver was, and pulled it forward where I could put my hand on it easily; but she was on the watch, and I couldn’t pull it out. I mounted again, and the first time she was off her guard a little, I fired and broke the arm she held the pistol in. “Now,” says I, “it’s my turn; you’ll please get on that horse, and we’ll go back.” She didn’t flinch or say a word, but got on the horse, and I tied her legs as they had mine, and we went back to the house. The old man he heard us come up to the door and looked out of the window. He turned as pale as a sheet and ran for his rifle. I knew what he was after, and pushed the door in before he was loaded. Says I, “You may put that shooting-iron down and come with me.” He wasn’t as brave as the girl, but it was no use to resist, and he knew it; so he came along. About half way back we met some of our fellows who had missed me, and come out to look me up. They took them both, and I don’t know what they did with them, but I know very well what they would have done with me.

Originally posted 2008-01-18 19:10:49.

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