Despite all of the seriousness of the Civil War, there were some rather amusing tales to come out of it. Throughout my life I have heard funny quotes and stories pertaining to the war. Do any of you remember the story that the late (and great) Shelby Foote told about the war? It was in the first volume of his trilogy and he also repeated it on the Ken Burns miniseries. It involved a young private who was startled by an owl while on picket duty. When the owl said "Who! Who!", the young soldier said "I'm Private So and So, a friend of yours!" Now I don't know Mr. Foote's source for that quote, but it is still funny, even if it is not in fact true.
When I was in college I attended a symposium at the community college in Hillsboro, Texas. I heard Dr. Woodworth from TCU give a presentation. He shared a story about General Theopilus Holmes. One day during the Peninsula Campaign, his troops were being shelled by Federal gunboats. The noise was deafening. General Holmes wandered out onto the front porch of the home he was using as his headquarters and asked "Do I hear gunfire?" Little wonder his troops called him "Granny".
And who can forget General Pope! When he started signing his dispatches "Headquarters in the Saddle", his soldiers said that his headquarters were where his hindquarters should be. Robert E. Lee referred to him as a "miscreant" and told General Jackson that "he (Pope) must be suppressed." General Lee was not known for using language this blunt, so it that should tell you how much disdain he had for the man. Needless to say, Pope was suppressed at 2nd Manassas!
After the suppression of Pope, Burnside took command of the Army of the Potomac and left little impact on history, other than giving us the term sideburns. (He did sport an impressive set of whiskers!) After he was fired, Joseph Hooker took command. He felt the need to continue the foot-in-mouth disease which Pope suffered from. Hooker declared "May God have mercy on General Lee, for I will have none." That statement ranks right up there with declaring the Titanic unsinkable! Of course, as well all know, General Lee mauled Fighting Joe's troops badly at Chancellorsville.
Perhaps he should have stuck with whiskey and.....well.....hookers!
(Though evidence suggests that the term "hooker" did not in fact come from his name.)
Those are just a couple humorous anecdotes from the Civil War. Do you have any you would like to share?
My name is Lee Hutch and I am a Civil War Addict who enjoys telling a good (or inappropriate) joke at the right or wrong time!