The Lighter Side of the War


One of the things that has always interested me in the civil war is the Human interest stories. I discovered the story that follows, years ago while reading “Comrades Four” by Edward R. Rich.  Rich and his friends, who served with the 1st Maryland Cavalry CSA, were  resting quietly when friend Harry Quinn speaks up and says “Say boys, let’s go get some watermelons; there’s a fine lot about a mile down the road, and near the fence too”.  So Rich, Quinn and three others slip away into the night to try their luck at procuring some watermelons.  It was extremely dark and after a little bit of trouble they finally located the patch. Climbing over the old fence, they could see the Farmer’s house lights burning brightly about 60 yards away. Groping around in the Darkness, they tried to find the biggest and fatest watermelons. All off a sudden Harry fell forward into some old brush which cracked like a gun going off.  The farmer hearing the noise threw up his window and shouted “get out of there” and fired twice at the thieves. Luckily no one was hurt except for a couple of melons. The men dropped to the ground and remained quiet till the window closed. Jumping back up and resuming the search for the perfect watermelon, Rich’s buddies were satisfied at their selection and headed back to camp. Rich however wanted to find the largest watermelon in the patch. Finding the largest fattest melon, Rich threw it on his shoulders and rushed to catch up with his compatriots. Rich’s arm still weak from a wound made carrying this prize of war feel like it weighed 1000 pounds. Ater struggling to carry the large melon about a mile they finally reached camp and woke up the other boys to share in their booty. Walking over to the fire to divide and carve the watermelons in the light, Rich was mortified to discover that the “largest”  and “finest” watermelon in the World was actually a Pumpkin. Needless to say, everyone had a good laugh at Rich’s expense.

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Published in: on November 30, 2006 at 3:05 pm  Comments (2)  

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  1. There were humorous aspects of the war, no doubt – the above tale being one.

    Several such stories about Mosby’s Marylanders have circulated, but my favorite involves John Munson, a Virginia boy who while ‘going through’ a sutler’s wagon (as Mosby’s boys were known to do), decided to ‘liberate’ a paper package of needles for the ladies in Mosby’s Confederacy. Unfortunately, the group of Rangers caught the attention of a Yankee patrol and had to ‘make tracks’ which they did for some miles. Munson stated that he had put the needles in his pants pocket and the hard ride caused the needles to abandon their paper packaging and proceed to ‘make tracks’ into some rather sensitive portions of his anatomy. Some worked their way in and and then out again, but some, apparently, remained where they stopped when the ride was finished.

    John Munson then vowed that although he was as willing as any of Mosby’s command – Marylanders, Virginians or Rangers from other states – to ‘go through’ any sutler’s wagon, he NEVER took another package of needles! 😀

  2. Being a man……all I can say is ouch! Thanks for the story Valerie, hadn’t read that one before!


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