Waud seemed fascinated, or maybe just badly needed to record moments where Union and Confederate troops weren't trying to kill each other. I've never been able to discover exactly what he witnessed here in a sketch " Checking Passes ", at Fredericksburg- the description states Union/'Rebel' pickets are depicted. Maybe not a misprint or misread.
Sometimes, as in frequently, we need the reminder we're just fine or will be. ' Picket Stories ' aren't just feel-good, warm fuzzie breaks in the war. We can be temporarily divided, sub-divided, shoved into one corner or another, persuaded there's some threatening shadow behind the other guy,sold various drivvel from the back of whichever snake-oil salesman's wagon currently dropped anchor in the town square and identify each other as enemies to the point where ' blue ' and ' gray ' were once barriers, not the color of a jacket. But it doesn't stick.
A ton of these are just paragraphs, snippets, part of some report or letter. No one made this stuff up to romanticize or dress up a front page. This is from a North Carolina newspaper.
For one thing hate is exhausting for another I'm a little convinced, for all the evidence otherwise, we're not very good at it. Left to ourselves I'm pretty convinced we'd take our differences and rub shoulders together in comparative peace anyway. It's why picket stories can't be overlooked or allowed to gather archival dust. For all the thread already on the topic, these are ' new ', meaning a stream of stories sent home in letters to newspapers or family are so numerous the harvest is never-ending. Which means we were still there behind blue and gray barriers. Which means we haven't gone anywhere.
This one's longer, well worth reading. Honest. So are they all. This man is merely describing ' war ', a day in the rifle pits- it's 1864, death, war and hate have become terribly, terribly old.
Please no one go up a wall over the mention of Confederate deserters- this is from March, 1865. Gosh war was old. A lot of these mentions do not take swipes at which side was which, or why one guy ' came over '- seem to all be just awfully tired of war, that's all. We were not there.
From Bermuda Hundred, the 104th PVI
We're still ordering take-out mostly, a long thread isn't the snore it was back in January. Besides, BOY do we need to hear from our ancestors. It'll be ok.
Staunton, Virginia, a Confederate newspaper
Next post, they're still at it.