Welcome to my fourth post of the year! I am so excited to be bringing you another installment of my Soldier Life series…the sixth in this series I found out. So for those who are unfamiliar with this series, I am compiling information that I came across while researching for The Battle for Heritage Series. I am not an expert on the War Between the States, but I thought these posts might be helpful to other authors researching the same time era.
With that out of the way, let’s see what life in the army was like for a private, the lowest ranking member of the army.
Most of the army is made up of privates, even today. They are the boots on the ground, the common soldier you know and love from novels and movies. Back in the old days, the private did not have any insignia on his uniform. And another thing about these fellows that I suppose is common knowledge is that the private never gave orders. He’s not over anyone, he’s at the bottom of the totem pole. But what exactly was expected of him? Let’s take a look.
Drill. If you’ve read any book on soldiering in any time period, I’m sure you’ve read about the incessant amount of drilling they did. This wasn’t just a mundane task they had to complete. This was life and death training. It also helped to fill time in the day that otherwise would have left the men idle…and more prone to get into trouble.
KP. Ah, yes, Kitchen Patrol. While this is more of the WWII name for the job, soldiers did take turns helping the army cooks. Peeling potatoes (when they had them) was one of their jobs, as was washing dishes, stirring pots, serving food and dumping food waste., They would have to do anything food related when their turn came around.
Policing the Grounds. Just as today, this task had to do with keeping their living quarters neat and clean. Clearing debris away from the walking paths, organizing their gear, stacking the wood piles neatly, it all had to do with keeping things tidied up.
Horse Duty. Even if they didn’t serve in the Cavalry, their unit had horses for pulling supply wagons, riding dispatches, and transporting officers. So, the privates would feed the horses, clean up after them and if needed, make sure they had been exercised for the day. Grooming needed to be kept up as well to insure the horses’ health and appearance.
Guard Duty. There were two types of guard duty. The first was what you would expect from the name, guarding prisoners, both enemy and fellow soldiers who had disobeyed some military rule. The other was known as Picket Duty, which simply meant they were guarding the outskirts of the camp from intruders.
Camp Duties. This could be anything and everything. Chopping wood, digging latrines and trenches, delivering messages from the officers, hauling water, doing laundry, shooting game/butchering…you name it!
Drummers and buglers as a rule were privates as well, but I can’t say dogmatically that they all had this rank. I would have to look into that a little deeper.
Privates also helped in the hospitals. They often helped hold a soldier down during surgery, volunteered to help the doctors when there was a shortage of nurses and helped remove the wounded from the battlefield. (They weren’t the only ones to do this, but since there were more privates than the other ranks, they were the majority of the ones gathering the wounded.) They also served on burial detail.
Hope this was helpful! I’ll see you next week with a writerly post that I can’t wait to share with you!
Everyone, I must start this post with a disclaimer 😊 I always have been and always will be loyal to the Army, first and foremost 😉 My Grandfather and Great-grandfather were both Army veterans, the man who bought my first laptop for me was in the Army National Guard, my favorite figures in history were in the Army…you get the point.
Today is not Army day; Today is Navy Day! And where would we be without our dear guardians of the sea? No rhyme intended😆
I must say, the Navy does fascinate me. I mean, honestly, who doesn’t look up to the Navy SEALs? So today, I’m going to give you five times the Navy came through for America in Amazing ways!
The Turtle. Many of you have probably seen a submarine whether in real life or in pictures. But have you ever wondered when the first one was invented? In 1775! Yep, that’s right! David Bushnell built the Turtle, the first submersible vessel ever created! (Click here for more information.) It’s goal was to plant a bomb under the HMS Eagle, and while their mission didn’t go quite as planned, they did succeed in loosening the blockage the British had imposed!
Ironclads. Developed by both the Confederate and Union Navies, respectively, these ships showed everyone that the future of Naval warfare was in iron ships, not wooden ones. Nothing like American ingenuity!
Razzle Dazzle Camouflage. While this was actually an idea shared with us by the British during WW1, this is an amazing Naval feat! I’ll link the article here, but the idea was to paint the ships in ridiculous patterns and use the contrasting colors to make the distance and type of ship hard for the enemy to judge. Truly fascinating!
Uncle Sam Wants YOU! Avenge Pearl Harbor! Following the attack on our Hawaii Military base, damaging several ships, costing 2,335 lives (2,008 of those belonging to the Navy) and dozens of planes, there was an outcry for our men and boys to join the Navy. And they showed up! There were even politicians who left office to support the cause! Hats off to those boys in “Bell-Bottom Trousers, Coat of Navy Blue” 😊
May 2nd, 2011. While I would never celebrate the death of a non-believer, I must say that the day Osama bin Laden was announced dead, I gave a sigh of relief. I felt safer, knowing that at least this man could no longer bring pain and suffering to American servicemen or to his own people. As a child, I remember praying that he would come to know Christ as his Savior, but unfortunately, that never happened. Thank God for the U.S. Navy SEALs who brought a little more safety to the world as we know it!
Take a moment to thank God for all of our servicemen, but especially our Sailors.
Happy Navy Day!
*Emoji art supplied by Emoji One
Happy Friday, everyone! I’m back from the Southwide Independent Baptist Fellowship and let me tell you, it was amazing! God is so good, and the services were so encouraging. Plus, we were able to give out information about FBN and sell some of my books!
Today I am returning to my series on Soldier Life. In case your new, the Soldier Life series (click here for last post) is a series currently dealing with the American War Between the States. The purpose of this series is to help out fellow writers and researchers, helping them avoid the hunt and peck method for information that I experienced 😊 I do occasionally recommend some books on the topics I cover, but I generally try to give basic info on the topic, along with some not so well know information. Today, we’re talking about Chaplains.
What is a Chaplain? A chaplain is a preacher, for the army 😉 Their job was to minister to the soldiers the same way a pastor would. Let’s check out some of those jobs.
Preaching. Obviously as a man of God, it was the job of the Chaplain to preach the word of God to the soldiers. Many units canceled unnecessary duties on Sundays to support the church services. In the Confederate Army starting in 1862, revival broke out in camp. With this came daily services in many places and an increased soulwinning effort. This lasted until the war ended and was the last great revival our Nation has seen.
Counseling. During war, many men take time to look at their lives, seeing things that need to change. The chaplain was often the one they turned to with spiritual questions.
Ministering to the wounded and dying. We all know that scene in a film were the preacher is called in to pray with the dying man, usually using the Lord’s Prayer or Psalm 23 to comfort. That’s not far from the truth. While they may not have only used those portions of scripture, the scene was seen frequently during the war. Also, Chaplains hovered near the surgery tents to pray with the men before losing a limb or undergoing operations.
Singing. There were no song leaders hired in the army😆 While some of the men in camp could serve in this capacity, it often fell to the chaplain to lead the singing in camp services.
The Shoulder to Lean on. While a comrade in arms, a family member or even the doctor often filled this role, the chaplain was more times than not the man to turn to when you were struggling mentally, spiritually, physically and emotionally.
Librarian. Not literally, but if you needed something to read, find your chaplain 😉 They collected donations from citizens to provide reading material for the troops: Books, Bibles, Newspapers, Tracts, whatever you could think of.
A Few Books You Should Check Out:
Christ in the Camp by J. William Jones (Robert E. Lee’s personal Chaplain). This book focuses on the Religion in the army, not on the causes of the war, though it briefly touches on this. No matter who you think was right in the War Between the States, you should read this book!
Chaplains in Gray by Charles Pitt. Another good one! This book is shorter than the first book, but every bit as informative!
Hope this helps you in your pursuit of knowledge 😊
Have a Blessed Day!
*Emoji art supplied by Emoji One
Hello everybody! So glad you popped by to see me today 😊 I hope you’re all having a lovely weekend wherever you reside 😊 Today, I have another post for you about Civil War History in my Soldier Life series. For those of you that are new, I have three other posts on this topic, Joining Up, Drummers and Cooking, so be sure and check those out! In this series I compile some of the knowledge I’ve had to hunt and peck for over the years. My hope is that I can save you some time in your research and that I can point in the right direction to lean more! So, without further ado, let’s jump in!
A Doctor's Responsibility
In my series, The Battle for Heritage Series, I have a doctor…his name is Seth Mason and when the story starts, he’s 16 and saving money for medical school. Obviously, he’s too young to be a doctor yet…he can’t get a certificate until he’s 21! And then the war happens…and he gets to put his medical know-how to good use in camp, assisting Dr. Jennings. The older, experienced doctor takes Seth under his wing and teaches him hands on doctoring. Later, Dr. Clement takes on the challenge and teaches Seth even more…amputations. By book 3, Seth is pretty much able to work on his own, even though he doesn’t have a license…it’s war, y’all.
So what exactly was the responsibility of a camp doctor? Well, there’s the obvious ones, like treating illnesses, injuries and wounds, but did you know that the doctor was also responsible for the general hygiene of the camp? It was up to the doctors to make sure the latrines were far enough out of camp (and if they weren’t they were the ones to report the infraction 😊), as well as making sure no one was pretending to be sick or hurt to get out of work 😉 Every army has them…
The main job of a camp doctor was to preform amputations. And…yeah…we won’t get too detailed here, but I’ll explain a little about the process, since, if you are writing about the Civil War, this will probably come up somewhere.
Now, take your doctoring and try to do it under fire…yeah, that’s basically it. Wrapping injuries, removing bullets (if possible), checking to see who is dead and who isn’t…everything shy of preforming amputations, all under the threat of rifle, cannon and saber. While Doctors were never to be targeted, because they were considered neutral, when the smoke of battle is in the air, you don’t know who’s gonna get hit. Again, hats off to these brave men…and to those who still do this today!
More Than a Doctor
Oh, the stories they could tell. Often there wasn’t enough time to call a chaplain, so it would be the doctor or nurse who would have to give the words of assurance or offer a quick prayer. Like a chaplain, the doctors often were the listening ear to many a heavy heart as soldiers lay dying or fearing death. They heard about the loved ones at home and gently reproved that recruit that lied about their age and finally confessed. Often, the doctor was looked at as a kindly grandfather…unless you had a man like Dr. Clement 😊 (Read my Battle for Heritage Series to find out what I mean 😉)
For more information on Doctors, at least of the Confederacy, I recommend you get a copy of A Manual of Medical Surgery for the use of Surgeons in the Confederate Army by Dr. J. Julian Chisolm. You can get a free pdf copy from the Duke University Digital Archives. (This is not a University endorsement. They just have an awesome archive library!) Please note: This book is a medical book…thus, it is for mature readers, meaning 18+ 😊
Well, that wraps up things for now! Have a blessed day!
Hello again! Thank you for returning for another history post! I’m continuing with a series I began last year (Joining up and Drummers can be found by clicking on the links!) At times it can be difficult to find the information you need without reading a hundred books and finding a snip here and there. It’s my goal to compile here on the blog a little of the information I’ve learned so you won’t have to hunt and peck as much! Hope this helps!
(Be sure and read all the way to the end for a special "P.S." note!)
Like everyone, soldiers had to eat. But have you ever given thought to what exactly they were eating during the War Between the States? Well, it certainly wasn’t anything to get excited about.
First, we’ll look at the federal fare. One ration that was common was a preserved meat that tasted so bad, the men called it “embalmed beef.” Another ration was “desiccated” vegetables, cubed, dried out veggies that required soaking for hours before they could be eaten. It may have contained carrots, turnips, and parsnips, but it is said to have tasted like straw. The soldiers called them “desecrated” vegetables.
They also received salt pork, dried apples, beans, and rice. Often, they would steal whatever they could from the southern countryside as they went, though the worst account of this was during Sherman’s march to the sea. The federals took all they could carry and burned what they couldn’t.
Confederate soldiers made due with poorer rations, especially as the war continued. At the beginning, they drew either beef or pork rations, cornmeal, peas and rice, coffee and sugar when it could be gotten. As the war came to its final days, Southern soldiers made do with bark, leaves, roots and worse.
A favorite treat of the Stonewall Brigade was Corkscrew Bread. After mixing a dough of flour, baking powder, salt, lard or meat drippings, milk (when they could get it) and water, they would take two forked sticks and plant them on either side of the fire pit. Then they would wind the dough around a green stick in a corkscrew shape. The sick would then be propped on the forked sticks and turned until every side was crisp. Then, they would slide the bread off the stick and enjoy.
And of course, on both sides, there was the famous hardtack. This flour and water cracker was unsalted most of the time and hard as a rock. The soldiers would soak them in broth or coffee before they ate them. They could be called the Civil War MRE (Meal Ready to Eat).
If you would like to read more on the subject, I do have some books that I have found quite helpful.
The Civil War for Kids by Janis Herbert
A Pocket History of the Civil War by Martin F. Graham
These two are histories in general and include lots of valuable information, but I do not recommend them if you are studying the cause of the war as both have incorrect information. But their camp life and battle facts are spot on!
The last two books are recipe books. Please note, I do not condone cooking all the recipes inside, as some call for alcohol. I am a firm believer that alcohol ruins lives and is forbidden in the Scriptures.
Civil War Period Cookery by Robert W. Pelton
The Virginia Housewife by Mrs. Mary Randolph
I hope you found this article useful! Why not look up some 1860’s recipes and give them a try. For fun, my siblings and I made hardtack and love it, though we salted ours and didn’t let it cook long enough to get too hard 😊
Until Next Time,
P.S. Now, for our snippet of information on “The Rivers of Sorrow.” The book weighs in at 327 pages and 89,732 words 😊 35 chapters round out this book. One of the chapters is entitled “The Hero.” Who do you think the hero is?
Christian. American. Southern. Author.