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

Foraging for Whiskey.—The appetite for strong drink was so fierce among some of the soldiers, that they would resort to all kinds of expedients to obtain it. At the commencement of the war, when the troops were encamped near Washington, in spite of the most stringent orders many would get intoxicated; and it was found that it was smuggled into camp in gun barrels. At Falmouth, before the battle of Fredericksburg, General Burnside ordered several hundred barrels of commissary whiskey to be sent down from Washington to Acquia creek. Lieutenant _____, of the Twenty-ninth New York, acting brigadier commissary in Getty’s division, sent repeatedly to the creek for a supply; but every barrel that was furnished here would disappear from the cars before reaching Falmouth, rumor having it that the roguish Hawkins’ Zouaves had “gobbled” them. At length, despairing of obtaining any of the stuff by order, he proceeded personally to Aoquia creek for a supply. He obtained one barrel, and standing it up in the car, seated himself upon the top of the barrel, confident that no one would get that away from him. What was his dismay, on springing down to the platform at Falmouth, to find the barrel empty! Some ingenious soldiers had bored a hole up through the bottom of the car while the train halted at Potomac creek or Burke’s station, tapped the barrel, and drained it to the dregs!

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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