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Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 31.djvu/248

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240 Southern Historical Society Papers.

trenches. Our enlistment was for the war, and the pay $n per month, board and bedding 1 free; services, anything your officers said had to be done, from shooting Yankees and getting shot, to starving to death, almost; in a word, to obey any and all orders. This was done with the best grace possible. . The events of a gigan- tic struggle rolled on; shooting and getting shot was endured (when it didn't kill); our wages at least mine were paid up to October, 1864, for I signed away my pay roll at Augusta, Ga., for clothing were sometimes paid in Confederate notes, but they had little value. Eloquently it has been said of them: "Worthless as were these

  • promises to pay,' they cost more than any tender ever issued by a

nation on earth. They were issued in integrity, defended in valor, and bathed in priceless blood." Our country was

" Too poor to possess the precious ores,

And too much of a stranger to borrow, We issued to-day our promise to pay,

And hoped to redeem on the morrow; But the faith that was in us was strong, indeed,

And our poverty well we discerned; And this little check represented the pay

That our suffering veterans earned. We knew it hardly had a value in gold,

Yet as gold each soldier received it; It gazed into our eyes with a promise to pay,

And each Southern patriot believed it. But our boys thought little of price or of pay,

Or of bills that were overdue; We knew that if it brought us our bread to-day,

'Twas the best our poor country could do."

Campaigns waxed hotter and hotter, paymasters became scarcer and scarcer, and the commissariat rapidly followed suit; in fact, evolved itself down to sheer nothing, and in thus contracting, the vitality of the army contracted also. Our rations were reduced to the minimum of one-quarter of a pound of salt meat, or one pound of beef, one pound of flour, or one pint of meal per diem. Coffee and sugar were luxuries, and what little we had was gotten from some victorious field. This we eked out with parched cornmeal and sweetened it sometimes with "long sweetening," i. e., sorghum molasses. This syrup, if used in other form than cooking would work you like a "flywheel." Our flour rations we utilized in its most convenient form for bread, to-wit, "pancake." Having but few cooking utensils, we took turn about in baking. We mixed the