Human Interest Stories From Antietam: Vignette 1

Fellow blogger Scott Mingus has been writing a series of books on “Human Interest Stories” of various Civil War campaigns. Recently, I looked at Human Interest Stories from Antietam and promised to provide a few more stories from the book. This is the first of three to four entries I hope to devote to the subject. I’ll include a vignette from each chapter of the book. Please note this series can be purchased from Colecraft Books.

Chapter 1: The Confederates Invade Maryland

Pg. 23

Food was on the mind of soldiers from both armies. General Lee had issued strict orders to the Army of Northern Virginia against pilfering from private property. Likewise, a number of similar orders circulated among the Army of the Potomac. As the Nineteenth Massachusetts settled into camp on the outskirts of Frederick, the regimental adjutant read the perfunctory order banning foraging. While the officer droned on, Lt. James Reynolds noticed his black servant, Henry Johnson, walking into camp with a pair of Stoneware crocks, on neatly tucked under each arm. The officers of Company D quickly flashed signals to Johnson to hide the contraband, and, grinning at them, he ducked into cover before the regimental staff could see him with his prize, which turned out to be fresh butter. Reynolds and his fellow officers “managed to make good use of the butter. It was too much of a luxury to part with, orders or no orders.”

Ernst Linden Waitt, History of the Nineteenth Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, 1861-1865. (Salem, Massachusetts: Salem Press, 1906).


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