Soldiers profanity North and South

rpkennedy

Lt. Colonel
Member of the Year
Joined
May 18, 2011
Location
Carlisle, PA
When he placed the 15th Massachusetts and 82nd New York (2nd State Militia) around and north of the Codori buildings on the afternoon of July 2, Brigadier General William Harrow gave a rousing speech to his men. One Massachusetts soldier remembered it:

He called upon all of us by all that was Good & Infernal to kill every son of a ***** that runs without a cause. Said he, if you see me running, I want you to kill me on the spot…just stand to it and give them Hell.

Considering that it caused the soldiers to cheer him, I imagine that he peppered some other words in that speech.

Ryan
 

Zack

Corporal
Joined
Aug 20, 2017
Location
Los Angeles, California
One small point - you may underestimate Shakespeare and how things were actually acted out/adlibbed at the Globe Theater (and the "French" in Henry V gives a slight hint). The crowd seated at the foot of the stage was not necessarily constrained by "oaths" . .

Haha fair enough, fair enough.

Y'know, that book HOLY SH*T: A BRIEF HISTORY OF SWEARING includes a late 17th Century poem that would be considered extremely crude even by modern standards, in which everything is so hyper-sexualized that even the trees "lewd tops F**kt the very Skies." It begins: "Much wine had past with grave discourse / Of who F**ks who and who does worse......."

https://www.google.com/books/edition/Holy_Sh_t/609pAgAAQBAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1

Go to Chapter 5 it's the first few pages.

The author does write that one can see an evolution of cursing in Shakespeare's plays. For example, his earlier works include more references to God with "zounds" (God's wounds) and "'sblood" (God's blood) while in his later tragedies references to God have been replaced by references to heaven. This could be due to any number of factors.
 

Lubliner

1st Lieutenant
Forum Host
Joined
Nov 27, 2018
Location
Chattanooga, Tennessee
I guess there is a time and place for about any word known under the heaven. And I am sure the battlefield has many a morbid monopoly. But in the present state of intellectual advancements by society's more affluent personages, I find the character recreation of such 'drivel' abhorrent, whether it be book or movie. A lazy tongue is how I describe one versed it repetitive oaths, regardless of how 'cute' they may sound. It takes all kinds, but like a good cliché it gets monotonous and furthers nothing.
Lubliner.
[edit]: A dull blade may be sharpened by wit, but to butcher the hog is not allowed. (Lubliner just made that one up).
 

Jeff in Ohio

Sergeant
Joined
Oct 17, 2015
'The Story the Soldiers Wouldn't Tell' by Thomas P. Lowry, M.D. has some pretty spectacular cussing in the chapter 'Blue with Oaths', along with the full text of the ribald camp song 'Jeff Davis' Dream', 'John Harrelson, John Harrelson' and some excerpts from semi-****ographic 'Dime Novels' and 'Penny Dreadfuls.' Quite an eye-opener 😬

I went looking for those lyrics to Jeff Davis' Dream, and found this passage is "The Common Soldier in the Civil War:"

In the correspondence of an Ohio Yank was found a poem, “Jeff
Davis’ Dream,” which for gross obscenity would stand high in erotic
literature of any period. But no information was given concerning the
source or circulation of this item.

But, no lyrics
 
Joined
Apr 8, 2018
Location
PA
Assistance Please - require information on the extent of and what profanity was used, not written but spoken during the CW. I have researched and have not found any definitive list, references, etc.
There are not many specifics since the writers did not want to put vile words into their letters and books. However, federal captain J. W. De Forest observed that "the men are not as good as they were once; they drink harder and swear more and gamble deeper." The same officer noted, however, that "the swearing mania was irrepressible. In the excitement of the charge it seemed as if every extremity of language was excusable, providing it would help toward victory." -- Croushore, James H., ed. A Volunteer's Adventure, by Captain John W. De Forest. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1949. 65, 80.

Hope it helps
 

Duff

Cadet
Joined
Mar 24, 2021
Assistance Please - require information on the extent of and what profanity was used, not written but spoken during the CW. I have researched and have not found any definitive list, references, etc.
Never gave much thought to the subject but while visiting the Graffiti House in Brandy Station where the walls are covered with writing and doodles left behind by wounded soldiers...There was nothing I could see that resembled anything profane or obscene ? Actually made me ponder...
 

Belfoured

Sergeant Major
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
I guess there is a time and place for about any word known under the heaven. And I am sure the battlefield has many a morbid monopoly. But in the present state of intellectual advancements by society's more affluent personages, I find the character recreation of such 'drivel' abhorrent, whether it be book or movie. A lazy tongue is how I describe one versed it repetitive oaths, regardless of how 'cute' they may sound. It takes all kinds, but like a good cliché it gets monotonous and furthers nothing.
Lubliner.
[edit]: A dull blade may be sharpened by wit, but to butcher the hog is not allowed. (Lubliner just made that one up).
On the other hand, anybody who has played hockey and had to endure a bag skating session under a po'd coach would probably not use "monotonous" to describe what they heard.
 

Si Klegg

Corporal
Joined
Jul 13, 2018
Location
Bedford UK
I went looking for those lyrics to Jeff Davis' Dream, and found this passage is "The Common Soldier in the Civil War:"

In the correspondence of an Ohio Yank was found a poem, “Jeff
Davis’ Dream,” which for gross obscenity would stand high in erotic
literature of any period. But no information was given concerning the
source or circulation of this item.


But, no lyrics
According to Dr Lowry, there were two versions: One written in 1863 by Bernard Covert described the Confederate president trembling at the thought of a Yankee noose around his neck, and criticised England and France for aiding the rebels. All the themes are political.

Utterly different is the second version, which appears in numerous hand-written editions - this will be the version that 'The Common soldier in the Civil War' was alluding to.

Not sure if I can get away with posting this on here, but I'll give it a go. No worse than any Rugby song, but I warn you, Shakespeare it ain't 😳


One night as Jeff lay fast asleep
With his wife huged to his heart.
A little closer she did creep,
And chanced to let a fart.

The fart it smelt so strong,
And sounded so much louder
He though that something wrong must be
For he smelt the Lincoln powder.

Hark, Hark says he yet unawake,
How will I show my spunkey?
And reaching down his gun to take
His fingers touched her monkey.

Twas then his courage did appear
He thought he had found a pistol,
He brought his arse up in the air
With his c*** as hard as crystal.

"Swab", he cried, "Swab out the gun,
And give old Lincoln thunder -
Oh, now my boys we'll have some fun
And show him his great blunder."

His c*** into his monkey went
His arse it went to bobbing -
He let a fart and then it spent -
Says Jeffrey's wife, "I'm co-co-coming."

"Fine, fine," cried Jeff, "the gun is clean,"
He strained enough to split -
And throwing his arms around his dear
He strained again and ****.

"Oh, oh," cried Jeff, "I'm shot, I'm shot,
"My leg is bleeding - bleeding.
"Help, help, come here to this spot,
"Oh, death is slowly feeding.

"Oh, would that I were loyal now
"I hear old Abe coming,
"He'll hang me, he will, I vow,
"Yes, yes, I hear him drumming."

"You've ****, you fool," Jeff's wife says
As she held him on a level:
"I never saw such rebel strife
"You nasty stinking devel."

"Oh dear," says Jeff, now wide awake,
"What have I done indeed?
Oh, my wife please take my trembling hand
And we will both secede."

I don't think Walt Whitman would have felt threatened by the wordsmith who came up with that 🤪
 
I have noted references with many using the middle finger often. It's not so much as a word, but it held a strong message.
The fist with an extended middle finger gesture to represent a phallus can be attributed to the ancient Romans and Greeks, who used the image as a form of apotropaic magic. Given that it had been used for centuries as a symbol to avert or ward off harm or evil influences, it would not be surprising to find that opposing forces would have displayed it to their foes throughout the centuries, although it certainly morphed into being interpreted as an insulting gesture over time. There is a popular myth that English Archers displayed the gesture to the defeated French forces at the 1415 Battle of Agincourt in response to a supposed French edict to amputate the first two fingers of any captured English archers, but there is no historical evidence that such a display actually occurred during or immediately after that battle.

The comments about the US Marines and Japanese soldiers swearing at one another brought to mind a funny anecdote (maybe only funny to me) about writing Service Information for General Motors several decades ago. Vehicles use communication bus networks between various modules, and GM referred to the communications bus that incorporated the HVAC system, heated seats and the Audio systems as being the E&C Bus (for Entertainment and Comfort). The persons responsible for translating the information into Japanese went nuts, exclaiming that the translation would mean "Geisha House on Wheels"
 

Zack

Corporal
Joined
Aug 20, 2017
Location
Los Angeles, California
Thomas Lowry is an extremely frustrating figure in the historical community. His book "The Story the Soldiers Wouldn't Tell" is extremely enlightening. But he also got caught altering documents.....
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_P._Lowry#Lincoln_document_forgery_controversy

Anyways...he quotes another soldier as having written (WARNING EXTREMELY NSFW) that they had "some fun in Farmsville" with an "old wench":
“So they all began to pitch in keen. Tom Michael held the light and she received about 60 big schlorgers one after another. I nearly killed myself laughing. The darned old b**** could hardly stand.”
 

Zack

Corporal
Joined
Aug 20, 2017
Location
Los Angeles, California

Si Klegg

Corporal
Joined
Jul 13, 2018
Location
Bedford UK
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