Relieving boredom in the trenches
"There are many hours when the men and officers have literally nothing to do, but to 'while away' the time as best they may. They take old musket barrels, enlarge the vents, load them heavily with powder from some unexploded shell, put in one or two bullets, set the battery up in the sand, and fire it - the bullets falling a third or a half a mile away within the enemy's line. Possibly the enemy employs a similar means, for one of the men of our Brigade was killed while sitting with his back leaning up against the inside of our earth-works, a bullet penetrating the top of his head in such manner as if it had fallen straight down out of the sky. Our men play with still another 'battery' where the lines are very close together. A stout stick with a small stone one on end is balanced upon a log, the opposite end of the stick is struck a heavy blow with an axe, and the stone goes far over towards the enemy's line - and sometimes it is claimed that a particularly lucky blow will send a stone within them. A reproduction, for amusement, of a very ancient device."
Vigilantibus et non dormientibus jura subveniunt. Molon Labe!