THE BADGE OF THE FIFTEENTH ARMY CORPS.–

The troops from the army of the Potomac, sent to join the army of the Cumberland, carried with them various ornamental habits and customs that were new to the Western soldiers. Among them was the corps badge, which designated the corps to which officers and men were attached. For instance, the badge of the Eleventh Corps is a crescent, that of the Twelfth a star. The badge is made of any material,–gold, silver, or red flannel,–and is worn conspicuously on some part of the clothing. The Western corps had no such badge. How an Irishman explained the matter is thus told: A soldier came by the headquarters of Gen. Butterfield,–a tired, weather-beaten straggler. He was one of those who made Sherman’s march from Memphis to Chattanooga, thence to Knoxville, and was now returning in the terrible cold of that returning march, thinly clad, one foot covered with a badly worn army shoe, the other with a piece of rawhide bound with strings about a sockless foot–both feet cut and bleeding. “Arms at will,” he trudged past the headquarters’ guard, intent only upon overtaking his regiment.

“Halt,” said a sentinel with a bright piece, clean uniform, and white gloves. “What do you belong to?”

“Eightl. Misshoory, sure.”

“What division?”

“Morgan L. Smith’s, av coorse.”

“What brigade?”

“Giles Smith’s Second Brigade of the Second Division.”

“But what army corps?”

“The Fifteenth, you fool. I am one of the heroes of Vicksburg. Anything more, Mr Sentinel?”

“Where is your badge?”

“My badge, is it? What is that?”

“Do you see this star on my cap? That is the badge of the Twelfth Corps. That crescent on my partner’s cap is the badge of the Eleventh Corps.”

“I see now. That’s how yez Potomick fellers gits home uv dark nights. Ye takes the moon and shtars with ye.”

“But what is the badge of your corps?”

Making a round about, and slapping his cartridge-box, our soldier replied, “D’ye see that? A cartridge-box, with a U. S. on a brash plate, and forty rounds in the cartridge-box, and sixty rounds in our pockets. That’s the badge of the Fifteenth, that came from Vicksburg to help ye fight Chattanoogy.”

Originally posted 2008-04-04 12:18:35.

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THE DEAD DRUMMER BOY.

Midst tangled roots that lined the wild ravine,
Where the fierce fight raged hottest through the day,
And where the dead in scattered heaps were seen,
Amid the darkling forest’s shade and sheen,
Speechless in death he lay.

The setting sun, which glanced athwart the place
In slanting lines, like amber-tinted rain,
Fell sidewise on the drummer’s upturned face,
Where Death had left his gory finger’s trace
In one bright crimson stain.

The silken fringes of his once bright eye
Lay like a shadow on his cheek so fair;
His lips were parted by a long-drawn sigh,
That with his soul had mounted to the sky
On some wild martial air.

No more his hand the fierce tattoo shall beat,
The shrill reveille, or the long roll’s call,
Or sound the charges, when, in smoke and heat
Of fiery onset, foe with foe shall meet,
And gallant men shall fall.

Yet may be in some happy home, that one,
A mother, reading from the list of dead,
Shall chance to view the name of her dead son,
And move her lips to say, “God’s will be done!”
And bow in grief her head.

But more than this what tongue shall tell his story?
Perhaps his boyish longings were for fame.
He lived, he died; and so memento mori.
Enough if on the page of War and Glory
Some hand has writ his name.

Originally posted 2008-04-03 15:49:36.

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GENERAL ROUSSEAU.–

GENERAL ROUSSEAU relates the following incident of Shiloh:

Two days after the battle I walked into the hospital tent on the ground where the fiercest contest had taken place, and where many of our men and those of the enemy had fallen. The hospital was exclusively for the wounded rebels, and they were laid thickly around. Many of them were Kentuckians, of Breckinridge’s command. As I stepped into the tent, and spoke to some one, I was addressed by a voice, the childish tone of which arrested my attention: “That’s General Rousseau! General, I knew your son Dickey. Where is Dick? I knew him very well.” Turning to him, I saw stretched on the ground a handsome boy about sixteen years of age. His face was a bright one, but the hectic glow and flush on the cheeks, his restless manner, and his grasping and catching his breath as he spoke, alarmed me. I knelt by his side and pressed his fevered brow with my hand, and would have taken the child into my arms, if I could. “And who are you, my son?” said I. “Why, I am Eddy McFadden, from Louisville,” was the reply. “I know you, General, and I know your son Dick. I’ve played with him. Where is Dick?” I thought of my own dear boy, of what might have befallen him; that he, too, deluded by villains, might, like this poor boy, have been mortally wounded, among strangers, and left to die. My heart bled for the poor child; for he was a child; my manhood gave way, and burning tears attested, in spite of me, my intense suffering. I asked him of his father. He had no father. His mother. He had no mother. Brothers and sisters. “I have a brother,” said he. “I never knew what soldiering was. I was but a boy, and they got me off down here.” He was shot through the shoulder and lungs. I asked him what he needed. He said he was cold and the ground was hard. I had no tent nor blankets; our baggage was all in the rear at Savannah. But I sent the poor boy my saddle-blanket, and returned the next morning with lemons for him and the rest; but his brother, in the Second Kentucky regiment, had taken him over to his regiment to nurse him. I never saw the child again. He died in a day or two. Peace to his ashes. I never think of this incident that I do not fill up as if he were my own child.

Originally posted 2008-04-02 14:43:56.

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A JOKE ON A REBEL EDITOR.–

The editor of the Rebel Banner, published at Murfreesboro’ until Bragg’s retreat to Shelbyville, and afterwards hailing from the latter town, tells the following good story:

On Wednesday, the 31st of December, 1863, we went to the battle-field in search of glory and items.

While following up the charge of General McCown’s division, we met a body of prisoners moving to the rear, and at once struck up a conversation with them. Unfortunately, we were dressed in cerulean habiliments, and, upon attempting to leave, were ordered by the guard to remain where we were. With a smile of ineffable contempt, we drew from our pocket a pass; but what was our chagrin when we were accosted with, “I say, my boy, none of us can read; but that thar trick’s too old; and I’ll tell you another thing, yer infernal blue-bellied Yankee, if you try any more of them dodges, I’ll souse this thing into yer gizzard.”

Think of that, O ye tribe of brother quill-drivers? The editor of this paper, the leading journal of the South, to be called a Yankee, and to be accredited with possessing an azure abdomen.

Originally posted 2008-04-01 12:18:24.

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