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Old July 4, 2007, 07:34 PM   #217
4V50 Gary
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Join Date: November 2, 1998
Location: Colorado
Posts: 16,919
I'll pass on the canned pigeon

The following is taken from page 147 of Mike Pride and Mark Travis's, "My Brave Boys: To War with Colonel Cross & the Fighting Fifth."
Quote:
While awaiting this luxury, the men supplemented their diets with food from the sutlers - sometimes with comic results. Several officers, including Captain Jacob Keller, a Prussian immigrant who had come to Claremont just a dozen years earlier, bought tins of preserved pigeon meat.. The other officers opened their tins, gagged at the first whiff, and returned the spoiled meat to the sutler. That night, as the officers drank hot toddies and told stories around the campfire, one of them related how he had gone into Keller's tent and seen empty pigeon cans there. He asked Keller if he had eaten the pigeons, and Keller acknowledged that he had. "Why, Keller!" the officer said. "They were bad. Didn't you know it?" Keller replied, "Fy, no. I thought dey was a little fwild." The officers around the campfire burst into laughter.
The book is a good read about Col. Edward Cross and the 5th New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry in the Civil War. Cross, only a colonel, was commanding a brigade that Hancock ordered (when he ordered Caldwell's Division) into the Wheatfield at Gettysburg to save Sickle's Corps. Hancock promised Cross, "This day will bring you a star." Cross replied, "No, general, this is my last battle." Instead of the customary red bandana wrapped around his head, he wore a black one. The color alarmed the men of the 5th. In the heat of battle, Cross was shot in the stomach, the minie punching through his bowels before exiting from his back. Mortally wounded, Cross fell and was carried off the field to die.

Note to self: don't send canned pigeons to the troops in the sandbox.

Also from the book:
Quote:
In the last five months of 1863, nearly six hundred men joined its ranks. Many of these were bounty soldiers, and most proved unreliable. The law allowed draftees t pay other men to take their places. As Livermore explained it, the prices quickly rose, and a 'class of 'substitute borkers' sprang up, who imported men from other states, chiefly from New York City; who enlised for moeny.' Because the brokers had no interest in the quality of the substitutes, 'there came out to us crowds of disreputable rascals whose determination it was to desert at the earliest opportunity, as well as idiots and cripples whom these brokers foisted upon us by collusion with the medical and enlistment of officers." The men built a fence around the camp in Concord to try to keep the recruits in. Hapgood recorded the first desertion in his diary on August 27, writing that the general was 'mighty mad about it, and justly too'; desertions soon became so frequent that the colonel seldom saw fit to record them. During the siege of Petersburg a year later, so many deserted to the enemy that the Rebels put up a sign on their works reading "Headquarters, 5th New Hampshire volunteers. RECRUITS WANTED."
That's from page 254. It's an excellent read. Check it out!
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