Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 02.djvu/239

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Detailed Minutiæ of Soldier Life.

Yankees were a diminutive race, of feeble constitution, timid as hares, with no enthusiasm, and that they would perish in short order under the glow of our Southern sun.

Any one who has seen a regiment from Ohio or Maine knows how true these statements were. And besides the newspapers did not mention the English, Irish, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Swiss, Portuguese and Negroes, who were to swell the numbers of the enemy, and as our army grew less make his larger. True, there was not much fight in all this rubbish, but they answered well enough for drivers of wagons and ambulances, guarding stores and lines of communication, and doing all sorts of duty, while the good material was doing the fighting.

Sherman's army, marching through Richmond after the surrender of Lee and Johnston, seemed to be composed of a race of giants, well-fed and well-clad.

Many feared the war would end before they would have a fair chance to "make a record," and that when "the cruel war was over" they would have to sit by, dumb, and hear the more fortunate ones who had "smelt the battle" tell to admiring home circles the story of the bloody field. Most of these "got in" in time to satisfy their longings, and "got out" to learn that the man who did not go, but "kept out" and made money, was more admired and courted than the "poor fellow " with one leg or arm less than is "allowed."

It is fortunate for those who "skulked" that the war ended as it did, for had the South been successful, the soldiers would have been favored with every mark of distinction and honor, and they "despised and rejected" as they deserved to be.

While the war lasted it was the delight of some of the stoutly built fellows to go home for a few days, and kick and cuff and tongue-lash the able bodied bombproofs. How, coolly and submissively they took it all! How "big" they are now!

The rubbish accumulated by the hope of recognition burdened the soldiers nearly to the end.

England was to abolish the blockade and send us immense supplies of fine arms, large and small. France was thinking about landing an imperial force in Mexico, and marching thence to the relief of the South. But the "Confederate yell" never had an echo in the Marsellaise, or "God save the Queen," and Old Dixie was destined to sing her own song without the help even of "Maryland, my Maryland."