Friday, 11 February 2011

Photo Friday: Pvt. Philip Carper, 35th Battalion, Virginia Cavalry, CSA

As I'm writing this blog, I'm ftping my editor at Osprey Publishing the text and photos for Ride Around Missouri: Shelby's Great Raid 1863. It's about Confederate cavalry raider J.O. Shelby and his famous raid on Missouri. Needless to say I have Civil War on the brain, so this week's Photo of the Day is of a Confederate cavalryman. Private Carper has a pretty nice uniform, but that wasn't the case for many Confederate soldiers. Here's a letter Shelby wrote to his superior officer dated 27 October 1862 complaining about the conditions of his brigade.

"Our men, from being so poorly clad, and owing to the excessive duties they have been compelled to perform, are rapidly becoming unfit for service. Our brigade reports now some 500 sick. We have a great many men without a blanket, overcoat, shoes or socks. There are not more (as regimental report shows) than one half of our horses fit for duty. We have no iron or time to shoe our horses. Our horses are beginning to die pretty fast, owing to the heavy labor they have been compelled to do.

"As for transportation, we were furnished some five wagons by the division quartermaster; all the balance on hand we have collected ourselves. We have ever drawn any clothing, shoes, salt, or anything else. All we have in the way of transportation is one wagon to the company, and they mostly two horse wagons. We have but a few cooking utensils, which we likewise purchased with private means. We have a great many horses unserviceable for the want of shoeing. The strength of our brigade when first organized was 2,319, all of which were reported for duty until within the last few days. Since this cold spell of weather set in, our reports show but 1,068 men for duty. The increase in sickness in Jeans’ and Gordon’s regiments is 100 per day.”

Remember that the next time you see beautifully clad men in gray in some "historical" movie!

1 comment:

Conda V. Douglas said...

These photos always haunt me. It's so easy to see the hardship in the face. Good blog about why fiction is fiction!

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