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Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 31.djvu/119

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In a Louisiana Regiment. Ill

did not even put their valor to the test, but got out of the service just as soon as it became positively certain that there would be Yan- kees to whip.

One in particular, I remember, was so bloodthirsty that he fairly foamed at the mouth whenever Yankees were mentioned, and yet he let the regiment proceed to bloody fields without accompanying it, and I often thought that the war might have terminated differently had this indignation and anger been of a more enduring nature. In- stead of remaining at home, after Yankee occupation, calmly trans- acting mercantile business, if the three or four individuals who quit the regiment at Camp Moore, or shortly after, had remained stead- fast, the surrender of Appomattox might not be embraced in the history of the country. Fortunately for the honor of the State and the regiment, those who back-tracked were decidedly few. There were two or three, but with these exceptions, officers and men alike, were eager for the fray, and as Camp Moore was a dull spot in the pine woods, soon began grumbling at the delay in sending them to the front.

Drilling and guard mounting became extremely irksome and monotonous, and if it had not been for our little games of poker and frequent trip to the sutler's store to indulge in convivial fellow- ship, it would have been almost unendurable. Wines and liquors were sold at the canteen to officers without regard to quantity, and to the enlisted men upon presentation of a written order signed by a company officer. Don't be shocked, gentle readers, when I say that many officers and the men that could do so, became liberal pat- rons of the deadfall, for I boldly assert that the average soldier, whether wearing the shoulder straps of an officer or the plain, un- adorned jacket of a private, will indulge, to a greater or less extent, in ardent spirits when it is to be had, and it is generally to be had. Liquor was as easily procurable in the Thirteenth Louisiana as in any prohibition town you ever struck, and the latter is an easy propo- sition.

True, there were some who did not indulge, nor did I ever see an officer intoxicated at Camp Moore, but the whiskey was there to be sold, and was sold in vast quantities. The enlisted men secured the signatures of captains when they could do so, but to save time and chances of being met by a refusal most frequently forged the names of their officers. They were lively chaps, those soldiers of ours, to whom forgery of an officer's name to a pass or to a whiskey order was a small matter a good joke. It was said parties high in auth-