The Camp, The Battle Field, and the Hospital; or, Lights and Shadows of the Great Rebellion
Note: This paragraph is the lead paragraph for a series of anecdotes and incidents in The Camp, The Battle Field, and the Hospital; or, Lights and Shadows of the Great Rebellion
Nothing in the excitement of army life has been the cause of more sport than the liberty given under certain circumstances, and taken under others, for the private soldier to “forage.” In civilized warfare, ordinarily, the supplying of the troops with necessary food from the enemy's country is supposed to be a systematic business operation, conducted by the officers of the army of occupation, by requisition, either in money or produce, for which receipts of greater or less value are given. In a civil war, the supplies are to be paid for, according to the tenor of the receipt, on proof of the loyalty of the party furnishing them to the government of the captors. But in actual practice, there is a large amount of private plundering, which army officers, though they may censure, find it convenient to wink at. The men may have been on hard and unpalatable fare for days or weeks, and it is nearly impossible to prevent them from taking pigs, chickens, etc, when they are in a vicinity where they abound. The plunder and destruction of other valuables, such as watches, jewelry, clothing, musical instruments, books, and the burning of houses, etc., as it was practiced by the “bummers” or camp followers of Sherman’s army, is an outrage on civilized warfare, and is a just ground of bitter reproach to the administration of that very able commander. Some of the foraging stories are, however, full of humor, and could hardly be otherwise regarded than as excellent jokes, even by the sufferers themselves. We subjoin a few.
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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