Choice Comments, Wit and Expression - 2, 3, or 4 liners of the Common Soldier

NH Civil War Gal

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#1
I don't always have a tale to post but I come across a lot of really good 2, 3, or 4 liners of wit and expression of soldiers I'd like to share. Please add on to this thread.

I'll start: A Yank from Chattanooga reported he was so hungry he, "could eat a rider off his horse and snap at the stirrups."

Rebel George Lemmon in his excitement fired his musket too close to comrade Nick Watkins' head, shooting a hole in his hat. Whereupon Nick turned and said: "George Lemmon, I wish you'd look where you're shooting--I'm not a Yankee."

In 1863 a Pennsylvania private wrote to the homefolks, "We laugh at everything....The roughest jokes I ever heard were perpetrated under a heavy fire."

Private George Gray Hunter of Pennsylvania declared: "If there is one thing that I hate more than another is is the Sight of a Shoulder Strap, For I am well convinced in My own Mind that had it not been for officers this war would have Ended long ago."

Another Yank wrote: "I wish to God one half of our officers were knocked in the head by slinging them Against A part of those still Left."
 

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#3
"One female had seen fit to adorn her ample bosom with a huge Yankee flag and stood at the door of her house, her countenance expressing the greatest contempt for the barefooted Rebels. Several companies passed her without taking any notice; but at length a Texan gravely remarked, "Take care madam, for Hood’s boys are great at storming breastworks when the Yankee colors is on them." After this speech the patriotic lady beat a precipitate retreat."

Source: Arthur Fremantle's book "Three Months in the Southern States April - June 1863 " - This was a quote during the march to Gettysburg.
 

NH Civil War Gal

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"One female had seen fit to adorn her ample bosom with a huge Yankee flag and stood at the door of her house, her countenance expressing the greatest contempt for the barefooted Rebels. Several companies passed her without taking any notice; but at length a Texan gravely remarked, "Take care madam, for Hood’s boys are great at storming breastworks when the Yankee colors is on them." After this speech the patriotic lady beat a precipitate retreat."

Source: Arthur Fremantle's book "Three Months in the Southern States April - June 1863 " - This was a quote during the march to Gettysburg.
LOVE IT!!!
 

NH Civil War Gal

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#6
Early in 1862 an intelligent and patriotic Mississippi lieutenant wrote his wife: "The want of capacity among our Company and Regimental officers is terrible. Some Captains cant read; others there are whose chirography would shame the heiroglyphics that bedeck the slopes of the Egyptian pyramids. Regimental officers are scarcely any better."

I'm getting all my quotes from the 1973 Civil War Times Illustrated "The Common Soldier of the Civil War"
 

Pat Young

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#10
Long after the war, Captain John B. Adams of the 19th Mass. wrote of an incident during which a soldier called out Colonel Hincks’ on his earlier prejudices, to Hincks’ embarrassment. According to Adams:
“We had in Company A an Irishman, who was one day detailed for headquarters guard. The night was dark and rainy and the morning found Mike, pacing his beat in front of the colonel’s tent, wet to his skin. Colonel Hincks came out and Mike said, “Colonel, will you allow me to speak a word with you?” “What is it?” said the colonel. “Well, colonel, I wish you believed as you did before the war. Then you believed in putting none but Americans on guard and here I am, an Irishman, wet to the skin, having been on guard all night.” The colonel laughed and retired. Colonel Hincks had edited a Know-Nothing paper whose motto was, “Put none but Americans on guard.”
 

Tom Elmore

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#11
Early in the war, new soldiers in the 4th Vermont regiment were conversing with the cook: “Cook, bring on the potatoes!” “Haven’t any.” “Bring on the butter for this bread!” “Soldiers don’t have butter.” “Where is the milk for this coffee?” “You boys who are not weaned had better go home.” (Vermont History, Spring 1991, vol. 59, no. 2)
 

AUG

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#12
Rebel George Lemmon in his excitement fired his musket too close to comrade Nick Watkins' head, shooting a hole in his hat. Whereupon Nick turned and said: "George Lemmon, I wish you'd look where you're shooting--I'm not a Yankee."
A couple similar quotes:

"On we went, and in an open field we found ourselves face to face with the Federal force stationed behind a rail fence. I thought they would kill us all. We laid down upon our breasts, and, firing as best we could, we would roll over on our backs and load, then turn back and fire. I remember shooting right over Dick Jones's head. He looked back at me and said: 'John, you'll shoot me.' I said; 'No, I'll not. You keep your head down.' I loaded, and bang went my gun again, right at his ear. It so deafened and alarmed him that he turned again, used some very rough words, and declared I would kill him yet."
- John M. Berry, 8th Arkansas Infantry, at Murfreesboro. CV vol. 8, p. 73.

"A battle is too busy a time, and too absorbing, to admit of a great deal of talk, still you hear such remarks and questions as 'How many cartridges you got?' — 'My gun's getting mighty dirty.' — 'What's become of Jones?' — 'Looky here, Butler, mind how you shoot; that ball didn't miss my head two inches.' 'Just keep cool, will you; I've got better sense than to shoot anybody.' 'Well, I don't like your standing so close behind me, nohow.' — 'I say, look at Lieut. Dyson behind that tree.' — 'Purty rough fight, ain't it Cap'n?' — 'Cap'n, don't you think we better move up a little, just along that knoll?' — all this mixed and mingled with fearful yells, and maybe curses too, at the enemy."
- Berry Benson, 1st South Carolina Infantry, Memoirs of a Confederate Scout and Sharpshooter, p. 23.
 

AUG

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#13
One of my favorites from Hood's Texas Brigade:

As the regiment charged down the hill at Gaines' Mill, Captain W. H. ["Howdy"] Martin of "Old K" was in advance of his men with a dragoon six-shooter in each hand, making a Fourth of July speech as he went: "Your homes and your firseside (bang), your wives and children (bang), your—" Just then a shell burst about five feet above the gallant old fellow's head and the "subsequent proceedings interested him no more." Jim [Barker] saw it and sang out above the infernal roar: "Thar, by G—, Martin's battery is silenced at last." But "Old Howdy" was not killed, and led Old K in and out of many a hot place after that. Old K was the ugliest company in the regiment. They all looked alike.
- Val C. Giles of Co. B, 4th Texas Infantry. From his roster of the company.
 

Ole Miss

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#14
According to a story Shelby Foote told
A Confederate soldier was waiting for the Longstreet's Assault when a hare ran out the woods and the Reb said "Run old hare, If I were a old hare I'd run too". The great thing about Mr. Foote was he never let little details like the truth get in the way of a good story. In the South that is not lying but just massaging the truth a little!
Regards
David
 

Ole Miss

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#15
At the 3rd Annual Baton Rouge CWRT Symposium Danny Sessums Ph.D. gave a informative talk about the Civil War with the title "Yeah, and a heck of a git you got!" It was the story of a Confederate attempting to escape from the fall of Port Hudson when finally captured by Yankee cavalry. Pretty funny comment from a desperate man.
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David
 
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#16
Well I might as well share a little Carolina humor although it isn't related to the common soldier...

While on a visit to Massachusetts, realizing that Zeb Vance was a great admirer of Robert E. Lee, his Yankee hosts hung Lee’s portrait over the bathroom privy. When Vance finally felt the call of nature, the Yankees waited for his reaction. “Well Senator, what do you think of us hanging General Lee’s picture in a privy?” one of them asked. “I think it’s a mighty fittin’ place for the General’s picture,” Vance said, “because if there was ever a man who could scare the dung out of the Yankees, that man was Robert E. Lee.”

Source: Tar Heel Laughter edited by Richard Walser
 

lelliott19

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#17
I've posted this one before, but it really needs to be here. Being interested in the medical aspects of the war, it's always been one of my favorites.

After the Battle of Murphreesboro, a cluster of mangled fellows were huddled around a field hospital awaiting surgical attention. A big, brawny trooper, with a bullet in his left leg and another in his right arm, hobbled up, holding his wounded arm in his left hand. 'Doctor,' said he, with much less piety than pain, 'the d__'d rebs came pretty near to hitting me.'

Another fellow, blowing blood copiously from his nose - the point of which had been shot off - as a whale spouts sea-water, interposed, 'The d__'d rascals <sputter> come d__n near <another blow and sputter> missin me.'

[The Civil War in Song and Story: 1860-65 edited by Frank Moore, New York: P. F. Collier, 1889, page 305.] https://books.google.com/books?id=AXGEAAAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false
 

JPK Huson 1863

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#18
Anna Ellis, a nurse at Gettysburg left this. ( Posted about a soldier named Whitey previously. ) Stretcher bearers taking one of their regiment to a newly dug grave at the foot of LRT had to turn back when the dead man sat up. Told they had been carrying him to his grave he said " I don't see it boys, give me a drink and carry me back " and, to a lieutenant, " I won't be buried by this raw recruit ".
 

NH Civil War Gal

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#20
A couple of thoughts on gambling:

A Mississippian wrote his mother shortly after a pay day late in 1862: "chuck-a-luck and Faro banks are running night and day, with eager and excited crowds standing around with their hands full of money. Open gambling has been prohibited, but that amounts to nothing."

John A. Harris of the 19th Louisiana wrote his wife: "This is the worst place [in] the world for men to get into bad habits...I had no idea when I left home that Sullivan would even Gamble, but he has done so...John Dance...is playing cards regular, but dont play for money yet. He plays for Coffee and such as that. He is just now what I would call a Student of Gambling. I....have tried to shame him. At first he was Shigh about it but now he is bold."
 



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