The Camp, The Battle Field, and the Hospital; or, Lights and Shadows of the Great Rebellion

Drawing Rations.—There are some episodes in the life of a soldier provocative of laughter, and that serve to disperse, in some manner, the ennui of camp life. A farmer, who did not reside so far from a camp of “the boys” as he wished he did, was accustomed to find every morning that several rows of potatoes had disappeared from the field. He bore it for some time, but when the last of his fine field of kidneys began to disappear, he thought the thing had gone far enough, and determined to stop it. Accordingly, he made a visit to camp early next morning, and amused himself by going round to see whether the soldiers were provided with good and wholesome provisions. He had not proceeded far, when he found a “boy” just serving up a fine dish of kidneys, which looked marvellously like those that the good wife brought to his own table. Halting, the following colloquy ensued:

“Have fine potatoes here, I see.”

“Splendid,” was the reply.

“Where do you get them?”

“Draw them.”

“Does government furnish potatoes for rations?”

“Nary tater.”

“I thought yon said you drew them?”

“Did. We just do that thing.”

“But how? if they are not included in your rations.”

“Easiest thing in the world—wont you take some with us?” said the soldier, as he seated himself opposite the smoking vegetables.

“Thank you. But will you oblige me by telling how you draw your potatoes, as they are not found by the commissary?”

“Nothing easier.  Draw 'em by the tops mostly! Sometimes by a hoe—if there's one left in the field.”

“Hum! ha! Yes; I understand. Well, now, see here! If you wont draw any more of mine, I will bring you a basketful every morning, and draw them myself!”

“Bully for you, old fellow!" was the cry, and three cheers and a tiger were given for the farmer.

The covenant was duly observed, and no one but the farmer drew potatoes from that field afterward.

Brockett, Dr. L. P., The Camp, The Battle Field, and the Hospital; or, Lights and Shadows of the Great Rebellion, Philadelphia: National Publishing Company, 1866

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