A "Singular War Incident" at Mine Run


1st Lieutenant
Forum Host
Apr 18, 2019
Upstate New York

Image source: Library of Congress (link)

Amidst all the horrors of war, many incidents occur amusing in themselves, and which sometimes, under the most trying circumstances, are provocative of mirth, and form subjects for camp stories months after. I have seen soldiers chase hares and pick blackberries when a share of the leaden messengers of death was falling thick and fast around them, and do many other cool and foolish things. But the following, which actually took place at Mine Run, surpasses anything I remember to have ever seen or heard: On one of those biting cold mornings, while the armies of Meade and Lee were staring at each other across the little rivulet known as Mine Run, when moments appeared to be hours and hours days, so near at hand seemed the deadly strife, a solitary sheep leisurely walked along the Run on the rebel side. A rebel vidette fired and killed the sheep, and, dropping his gun, advanced to remove the prize. In an instant he was covered by a gun in the hands of a Union vidette who said, "Divide is the word or you are a dead Johnny." This proposition was assented to, and there, between the two skirmish lines, Mr. rebel skinned the sheep, took one-half and moved back with it to his post, when his challenger, in turn, dropping his gun, crossed the Run, got the other half of the sheep and again resumed the duties of his post amidst the cheers of his comrades who expected to help him eat it. Of the hundreds of hostile men arrayed against each other on either bank of that Run, not one dared to violate the truce intuitively agreed upon by these two soldiers.

- Rutland Weekly Herald, Rutland, Vermont, April 28, 1864