Their Game of Poker Was Spoiled

NH Civil War Gal

1st Lieutenant
Forum Host
Feb 5, 2017
L.T. Dickinson, Adjutant N.B. Forest Camp, Chattanooga, Tenn., gives this vivid sketch. Many a veteran will remember how true it was to life. Comrade Dickinson writes: “This sketch represents an incident which occurred in the autumn of 1862, and of which I was an eyewitness. Col. Wm. E. Jones’ brigade of cavalry was raiding in West Virginia. We were halted in a road leading into the town of Moorefield, Hardy county, while our advance was trying to ascertain the number of Yankees in the town.

There was always a number (and a good big number too) of gamblers in the army who never missed a chance of plying their trade, and always carried with them the tools to do it with. Our company was no exception to this rule. While halting as above stated, several of our card fiends climbed the fence of an adjoining cornfield, where the shocks were still standing and where they could procure all the “chips” in the shape of grains of corn they were looking for.

Spreading an oil cloth on the ground, the game of poker proceeded, with much interest to the participants, when suddenly, there came a B-O-O-M from a neighboring hill, followed with a “where-is-ye-where-isle-where-is-ye-BANG!” A shell had struck the ground and bursted about twenty feet from the poker players, scattering a cart load of dirt over the cart party, but hurting no one. All the players fell over one another in a heap, save one, Charlie Hutton by name, of Company A, Maryland battalion. He held a “full house,” three aces and a pair of tens, and there were “chips” enough up to feed his horse for a day.

Not even the boom-rattle-smash, with the accompanying load of dust, could persuade him to throw up his hand. As he lay back on his elbow with one foot in the air, he yelled out in the direction of the Yankees, “Say, you fellows over there, don’t be careless with them things.” Charlie was heartbroken that the only “call” he got was from the musical voice of the bugler, who quickly sounded “Mount.” Gen. Jones had use for us in a little game of bluff of his own. Our battalion was quickly sent off to drag brush on a dusty road to make the Yankees believe another brigade was coming up.