Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 06.djvu/209

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199
Detailed Minutiæ of Soldier Life.

bawling, "Detail for guard!! Detail for guard!! Fall in here, fall in!!" Then followed the names of the detail. Four men answered to their names, but declared they could not keep awake if placed on guard. Their remonstrance was in vain. They were marched off to picket a road leading to camp, and when they were relieved said they had slept soundly on their posts. No one blamed them.

While it was yet night, all hands were roused from profound sleep, the battalion was formed and away they went, stumbling, bumping against each other, and sleeping as they walked. Whenever the column halted for a moment, as it did frequently during the night, the men dropped heavily to the ground and were instantly asleep. Then the officers would commence: "Forward! column forward!!" Those first on their feet stumbling on over their prostrate comrades, who would in turn be awakened, and again the column was in motion, and nothing heard but the monotonous tread of the weary feet, the ringing and rattling of the trappings of the horses and the never ending cry of "Close up men, close up!!"

Through the long, weary night there was no rest. The alternate halting and hurrying was terribly trying and taxed the endurance of the most determined men to the very utmost; and yet on the morning of Wednesday the 5th, when the battalion reached the neighborhood of "Scott's Shops," every man was in place and ready for duty. From this point, after some ineffectual efforts to get a breakfast, the column pushed on in the direction of Amelia Courthouse, at which point Colonel Cutshaw was ordered to report to General James A. Walker, and the battalion was thereafter a part of Walker's division. The 5th was spent at or near the Courthouse—how, it is difficult to remember; but the day was marked by several incidents worthy of record.

About two hundred and twenty-five muskets (not enough to arm all the men), cartridges and caps were issued to the battalion: simply the muskets and ammunition. Not a cartridge box, cap box, belt or any other convenience ornamented the persons of these newborn infantrymen. They stored their ammunition in their pockets along with their corn, salt, pipes and tobacco.

When application was made for rations, it was found that the last morsel belonging to the division had been issued to the command, and the battalion was again thrown on its own resources, to wit: corn on the cob intended for the horses. Two ears were issued to each man. It was parched in the coals, mixed with salt, stored in the pockets and eaten on the road. Chewing the corn was hard