Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 02.djvu/140
Southern Historical Society Papers.
a rubber or oilcloth. This knapsack, &c., weighed from fifteen to twenty-five pounds, and sometimes even more. All seemed to think it was impossible to have on too many or too heavy clothes, or to have too many conveniences, and each had an idea that to be a good soldier he must be provided against every possible emergency.
In addition to the knapsack, each man had a haversack, more or less costly, some of cloth and some of fine morocco, and stored with provisions always, as though he expected any moment to receive orders to march across the great desert, and supply his own wants on the way. A canteen was thought indispensable, and at the outset it was thought very prudent to keep it full of water. Many, expecting terrific hand to hand encounters, carried revolvers, and even bowie-knives.
Merino shirts (and flannel) were thought to be the right thing, but experience demonstrated the contrary.
In addition to each man's private luggage, each mess, generally composed of from five to ten men who were drawn together by similar tastes and associations, had its outfit, consisting of a large camp chest containing skillet, frying pan, coffee boiler, bucket for lard, coffee box, salt box, sugar box, meal box, flour box, knives, forks, spoons, plates, cups, &c., &c. These chests were so large that 8 or 10 of them filled up an army wagon, and were so heavy that two strong men had all they could do to get one of them into the wagon. In addition to the chest each mess owned an axe, water bucket, and bread tray. Then the tents of each company, and little sheet-iron stoves, and stove pipe, and the trunks and valises of the company officers, made an immense pile of stuff, so that each company had a small wagon train of its own.
All thought money was absolutely necessary, and for awhile rations were disdained, and the mess supplied with the best that could be bought with the mess fund. Gloves were thought to be good things to have in winter time, and the favorite style was buck gauntlets with long cuffs.
Quite a large number had a "boy" along to do the cooking and washing. Think of it? a Confederate soldier with a body servant all his own, to bring him a drink of water, black his boots, dust his clothes, cook his corn bread and bacon, and put wood on his fire. Never was there fonder admiration than these darkies displayed for their masters.
Their chief delight and glory was to praise the courage and good looks of "Mahse Tom," and prophesy great things about his future.