238 Southern Historical Society Papers.
singly or in bodies went over to the enemy. Many of these men enlisted in the Federal army as teamsters, or stipulated to fight the Indians in the far West. Whilst they would desert their cause in its extremity, they were honorable (?) enough not to fire upon their former comrades.
Writing from a personal knowledge, those who left us were mainly of foreign birth, though many of our foreign-born comrades remained as true as steel to their adopted government.
The principal cause of this great and disturbing evil was the Com- missary Department, as managed. Just where the fault lay is hard to divine whether with the department in general, or with the wretched railway and other transportation facilities, or all combined, is not germane to this now, but the fact is potent that the line did thus suffer, and in suffering, the cause collapsed. All the arts and resources of the North in men and war material never affected the private soldier of the line as did the lack of his rations. To him the sounds of strife brought visions of full haversacks, warm cloth- ing, shoes and blankets when the field was won. Often in the thickest of the fray it was not uncommon to see the soldier grasp a haversack from the ground or displace it from a dead enemy, and quickly swing it to his shoulder, and its contents shared with others at the close of the action if he survived.
As to how we lived, i. e., eked out an existence on scant grub, I will try to pen in detail. Three years of warfare, notwithstanding the many brilliant but barren victories that perched upon the battle- flags of the Confederacy, had well-nigh exhausted the South, both in soldiers and supplies. Of the depleted ranks we speak not, for the disciplined armies yielded only to physical causes, not force. Active Federal cavalry had curtailed the resources of the South to a great extent. Its granaries in the Shenandoah Valley, Tennessee and Georgia were overrun and devastated. The torch completed what was not consumed, and barns, vehicles and implements were destroyed, so as to prevent even an attempt at a crop. The boast was made that over some of its sections "a crow could not fly with- out carrying rations." Dilapidated railways and wheezy steamboats that presaged death and disaster, were inadequate to supply the de- mand of the armies and trade. When a railroad was badly dam- aged, it was seldom repaired, for we had not the material to repair it vyith, and, for sake of protection, governmental restrictions were thrown around them, limiting the speed to ten or twelve miles only