Following the American Civil War Sesquicentennial with day by day writings of the time, currently 1863.

August 25th. 1863.

We are still in camp, where each day is like the preceding one. The same routine of “duty” is gone through with, which, to me, is exceedingly tiresome. Give me the variations; something new and startling every day. For this reason I prefer active service. Those who love fun, and have a natural penchant for mischief, have abundant opportunity to indulge. I have never heard Billy Dunham complain of ennui. So long as guards are to be “run,” melons to be “cooned,” peach orchards to be “raided” or a peddler to be harried, tormented and robbed, Billy is in his native element. Peddling to soldiers is not the most agreeable business in the world, especially if said soldiers happen to be, as is often the case, on mischief bent. I have seen a crowd of soldiers gather around an unsuspecting victim, a few shrewd, witty fellows attract his attention, while others pass out to their accomplices melons, peaches, tomatoes and vegetables, and when the poor fellow discovers the “game” and gathers up his “ropes” to drive away, the harness fall to the ground in a dozen pieces, the unguided mule walks off amazed, the cart performs a somersault and the poor peddler picks himself up and gazes on the wreck in silent grief. At sight of his helpless misery the wretches seemingly relent; with indignant tones they swear vengeance on the “man who did it;” help him to gather up his “wares” while he secures his mule. This is soon done, for his “stock” has grown small and “beautifully less.” He smothers his rage from prudential motives, throws the “toggle” on his mule and prepares to depart. Alas, the millennium has not yet come. His cart wheels, refusing to perform their accustomed revolutions, start off in opposite directions, while the air is rent by the screams and derisive yells of his tormenters. When once begun, the amusement continues until the stock is exhausted. Speaking of Billy, he has become reconciled to his fate, and takes to soldiering like a duck to water.

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