Several short little tales gleaned from The Confederate Veteran, Volume 23, 1915

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NH Civil War Gal

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Gleaned from the diary of Lewis Peach of Fayetteville Tenn

When I joined Company C of the 8th Tennessee Regiment in the summer of 1862 the clouds of inevitable had not settled over the army of the South. Life was joyous service was pleasant and the boys were out on a picnic with only an occasional battle to tell the grim truth about war. We felt differently about it later War has been aptly defined in a word of one syllable. It is that and more. But a sense of humor is a blessed a merciful gift and the Beatitudes might have contained one more reading, Blessed are the fun makers for they shall lift the darkest clouds of life and scatter sunshine in their stead, verily they shall receive their reward

Sometimes after long days marches we would fail to connect with our commissary. One evening at the close of tiresome march we went into camp grubless near a fine plantation. A large two story house orchard, outhouses and everything gave evidence of wealth and plenty. As soon as stopped, our forager Jim Rives went over to interview owner. Jim asked for meal, bacon, sorghum, and butter, curt answer to each of these was Nothing to sell. Near the house was a large sweet potato patch that was just ripening. Jim thought he was sure to get some of them. He offered to buy a peck and he was told Nary a tater the patch was the dependence for winter feed and Jim came back as empty as he went. However we made a big fire and waited. General Gist had headquarters at that house for night and guards were placed all about the premises especially was the tater patch protected..

Early in the night of our boys wandered some distance from our fire and in woods and came upon a fat yearling calf that had met with serious accident or had committed suicide. The part of remains that we got was juicy and tender and we had a feast. It would have required a fine tooth comb to find taters in that patch at sunrise next morning.

Company C had the usual assortment of soldiers. We our percentage small though it was of bullies and braggarts who were the most arrant cowards when the real test came, And we had the grumblers who never had things good enough for them though often it was as good as or better than they had been accustomed to at home. One of these was grumbling a few days before the battle of Chickamauga when I jokingly told him he would never see the happy land Canaan meaning Middle Tennessee. He wished to know why I thought so, so I told him that when the Israelites murmured at Moses in the wilderness they were kept marking time in the woods for forty years and never reached the promised land. Just a few days afterwards a bullet struck him in the forehead and killed him instantly.

Not only did we have all kinds of men but all kinds of diseases and vermin found their way to Company C. Next to graybacks itch claimed the most attention from officers as well as privates. Joe McEwen cooked the biscuit for his mess one Sunday morning and in the darkness he got hold of the itch grease (fried meat grease and sulphur) and shortened the biscuit with it. The howl that was raised and the witheringly sarcastic remarks that were made when the oven lids were raised, and the sulphurous odor escaped would have embarrassed any one but Joe. John Greer was in doubt as to whether Joe intended them for internal or external application but was certain they would cure the itch if taken according to Dr McEwen's directions. Jack Cummings and John Bradford also had suggestions as to how the medicine should be used.
 
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