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Old December 30, 2006, 12:57 PM   #188
4V50 Gary
Join Date: November 2, 1998
Location: Colorado
Posts: 19,302
Fighting Fish

You might have been misled to think that we're talking about some occupant of an exotic aquarium where colorful fish fight over territory and breeding rights. Rest assured, dear Reader, that nothing of the sort has been proffered upon you. This is, after all, a respectable black-powder forum and most of us are not fish mongers or spectators in aquatic combat. Instead, we have a tale of fish fighting as opposed to fist fighting. Read on to learn of this ludicrous tale from the days gone by.

"During one of the operations to the left, and after the troops had been withdrawn from the entrencments peparatory to marching, we received what, under the circumstances, was a very peculiar ration and the only one of the kind that I remember to have seen issued during our term of service, namely, a ration of dried codfish. The brigade commissary must have had a large supply on hand and been very anxious to get rid of it, for each man received either an entire fish or a very large half. Had we been remaining in camp, where they could have been properly prepared, they would have made an acceptable addition to our men, for soaked, boiled, and minced with potatoes and made into cakes or balls, they are not bad eating. But what should we do with them on a march, and perhaps in battle? A column of men, each with a codfish strapped to his knapsack, would make a ludicrous spectacle. They might have been worn on the breast as bullet-protectors, but the odor was so strong that unless we had kept well to the windward of the enemy it would have warned them of our approach, and anyway, who wanted to be found dead with a deader codfish clasped to his bosom? Had we belonged to the artillery we might have used them as missiles of war, and I have no doubt that in the half-starved condition of the enemy there would have been a regular stampeded from all parts of their line as soon as they found that we were using codfish for cannon balls (patent applied for). Take it all in all, those immigrants from Newfoundland caused us considerable perplexity, until one comrade with mischief prepense quietly swiped another over the head with one. The question was solved. The blow had been struck, war was declared. From man to man, from company to company, from regiment to regiment, the wave of battle swept. None thought of saving ammunition; the air was thick with 'flying fish,' and so the historic battle of the cod raged until the order came to march, and the troops marched off leaving the field covered with the dead (codfish)."
And that's our tale of fighting fish. Have a safe and happy New Year.
Vigilantibus et non dormientibus jura subveniunt. Molon Labe!
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