- Jul 23, 2017
- Southwest Missouri
Lt Henry Swift Jr
Company E 33rd Wisconsin
That evening we were marched back about four miles north to Coldwater and went into camp on a large cotton plantation. It was raining hard and we were without tents. There was a large cotton gin and negro quarters and outbuildings, which the boys used for shelter. I found a small bin filled nearly full of field peas, in which Stafford and I made our bed, and we were not slow to investigate our find, and the next morning we had a fine pot of peas prepared for our breakfast. When we were called by reveille that morning and lined up for roll call, It was with sad thoughts of our loss of the previous evening. Instead of the cheerful greeting of our first in command, we were greeted by our second lieutenant, P.H. Swift (Pardon Holden Swift), a brother, so filled with emotion that he could not give the commands, but broke down with grief. There were tears in every eye of that company, for we had all learned to love Henry Swift.
P. H. Swift proved his equal and was made our captain shortly after that campaign. Our old captain, Miltimore, had shown the white feather and was terribly sick with gout the morning of the fight, had gone to the ambulance train, and on our return to Memphis we asked him to resign by a vote of the company [As a symbol of cowardice, the white feather supposedly comes from cockfighting and the belief that a cockerel sporting a white feather in its tail is likely to be a poor fighter. Pure-breed gamecocks do not show white feathers, so its presence indicates that the cockerel is an inferior cross-breed].
Captain Miltimore returned to Memphis with the remains of Lieutenant Swift, and P.H. Swift was in command of the company from that time on through our entire service."
Private Arthur J. Robinson of Company E
Memorandum and Anecdotes of the Civil War, 1862 to 1865
(in 1865, Pardon would marry his late brothers wife. They remained married until she died in 1914, and he died two years later.)