Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 34.djvu/94
86 Southern Historical Society Papers.
years old. Our quarters consisted of a ridge pole set up east and west, with plank set up on each side, at an angle of about forty-five degrees, and covered so as to break joints, and formed a very good storm-proof roof, with no light or ventilation, but such as could come in at the end doors and cracks through the roof. The east end was partitioned off for officers' quarters. We found it erected, and bunks inside, filled with clean straw for beds.
And the writer met the largest majority of the members of the company on this day for the first time.
Thus we began our army life.
Soon we were allowed to elect our non-commissioned offi- cers, when Colonel Robert Watkins, of the Chesterfield militia, was elected first orderly sergeant, and I was chosen third cor- poral.
Shortly an officer who had lost an eye at First Manassas, came over from Richmond, and mustered us into service of the Confederate States of America, Colonel Joe. Selden.
The ages of the men of the company ranged all the way be- tween seventeen to about forty-five or fifty years, and were, by occupation, mostly farmers, with a sprinkling of carpenters, cot- ton-mill hands, with some gentlemen.
On the 28th of February, in the afternoon, we were marched over to the old armory in Richmond, and were furnished our first muskets of Virginia make, which had been altered from flint-lock to percussion. Then we were marched back to camp, late on a cold, blustering evening.
About this time a man who was a Scotchman, McFarland, spare-built, and appeared to be about thirty-five years of age, who told us that he had been a soldier for sixteen years ; first in Eng- land, and lately in the United States army, was sent down to us as drill-master, and began to teach us our facing, and the manual of arms, according to Hardee (Lieutenant Wilson had taught some of us the year before according to Scott), and after we had made some progress, we acted as provost guard in Manches- ter for about ten days. Then we proceeded to erect good, two- room frame houses for quarters, and had occupied some of them, when, on the i/th day of March, with drums beating and