244 Southern Historical Society Papers.
recovery. About sundown the largest drove of wild turkeys I ever saw flew by and alighted on the pines overhead. I sprang to my feet and tried my best to shoot one, but failed. The exercise re- stored my circulation, and I again plodded on to camp, which I reached about 9 o'clock, and, under cover of a good fire, I slept the sleep of the just. My comrade, for. getting into camp late, was put back in the ranks, and I still had my load to carry or give it up. Wearily I went on, and about three miles from winter quarters our regimental surgeon, in his ambulance, overtook me. I never saw a more surprised man in my life, and his exclamation, '* What in the world have you got there, Frank?" rang out with a laugh. I told him all about it, and he kindly let me put the turnips in his ambu- lance and delivered them to my messmates in camp, and for a long time we feasted on roasted turnips.
I cite this to show the endurance of a boy soldier, half-starved, barefooted and sick, yet swinging like grim death to a load ample for a horse. I have seen men frequently eat one day's rations at once, saying "one good bite is better than two or three pinched ones."
Our shoes, especially those made by the Confederate department, were pitiable specimens indeed. Generally made of green or at best half-cured leather, they soon took to roaming; after a week's wear the heel would be on the side, at an angle to the foot, and the vamp, in turn, would try to do duty as a sole. It was impossible to keep them straight, and to judge by your tracks you could hardly tell whether you were going or coming. They conformed to the weather also. While hot and dry they would shrink like parchment, and when wet they just "slopped" all over your feet. English-made shoes were nearly as bad. They were lined and filled with stiff paper, and after fording a few times they usually came to pieces. I have seen men while in winter quarters take a piece of beef hide, soak it well and then fit it over their shoes, hair part inside. These they allowed to dry on the feet, so as to retain the shape of the foot, and also to prevent contracting too much. When well made, they answered the purpose very well, and when the march came in the spring" of the year they would cut them off and they would have a well-broke new shoe to trudge the pike with. Socks were patched at heels and toes to save wear, as were our trousers. It was a com- mon sight to see all sorts of re-enforcements to the men's seats. On a pair of brown or butternut-colored trousers you would see a huge heart, square or star-shaped patch, according to the whim of the