Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 33.djvu/177

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Confederate Drug Conditions. 173

session of the house as Berg approached, who forbade his coming any nearer to the gate, firmly and positively denying all his entreat- ies to save him from starvation. At last, however, she told Berg, who had so far forced his way into her presence that she detected the smell of whiskey, that if he would furnish her a bottle of that article she would, in exchange, give him food for himself and his mules; and, as this was the only alternative, the bargain was made and she went to work preparing the provisions, while Berg returned to the wagon with the bottle which she furnished. Berg had just finished his chicken and onions and bread, and the mules disposed of their fodder, and everything was in readiness for the journey to be renewed, when, with shout and clattering hoofs, four blue-coated troopers rode up. In some way they had gotten hold of the whiskey from the woman and learned from her the source of sup- ply, and tracked Berg to his camp. They had drank enough whiskey to render them utterly indifferent to death or contagion in any form, and while Berg was swearing he had no whiskey, they were prying into the wagon and were emptying the keg through its bung hole into their tin-cups as freely as if it were branch water; and then they began to torment poor Berg with all manner of pranks and tricks. Finally, one of them determined to make him swallow a paper of the cambric needles, and had actually placed them on his tongue, handing him a cup of his own whiskey and threatening to cut him down with their swords unless he swallowed the needles with a draught of whiskey.

Berg said that at that moment he lost consciousness, and did not know whether he swallowed the needles or not; that when he awoke a man was bending over him asking what was the matter with him. The shouts of the drunken soldiers had attracted a party of Confed- erates, who, coming up unawares, had killed two of Berg's tor- mentors and wounded one severely, allowing only one to escape.

In such conditions as these, it is not to be wondered at that every kind of makeshift and substitution had to be resorted to in the field, |in the drugstore and upon the farms and in the household.

Many times the Confederate soldiers marched and camped and fought on half rations. The full ration was meagre enough. As prescribed it was as follows: ^ Ibs. of pork or bacon, or i^ Ibs. fresh beef; 18 oz. bread or flour, or i^ Ibs. corn meal. On cam- paigns or marches or on transports the ration of hard bread was one pound.