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

Post image for The Color Guard, A Corporal’s Notes, James Kendall Hosmer.

The Color Guard, A Corporal’s Notes, James Kendall Hosmer.

December 3, 2012

The Color Guard, A Corporal's Notes, James Kendall Hosmer

Dec. 3. —I resolve I will try a night with the men in the hold. Elnathan Gunn, the old soldier, invites me to share his bed and board. Life on a transport becomes so simplified, that bed and board become one; the soldier softening his plank with his haversack of beef and biscuit for a mattress and pillow.

‘Tis half-past eight at night as I climb down in night-rig, — blouse and knit cap, with round button at the top, like Charles Lamb’s “great Panjandrum himself.”

It is comfortable; but Ed.’s fraternal partiality turns to disgust whenever I put it on. I stoop low, — it is the lowest tier of bunks,—climb over two prostrate men, then lie down sandwiched helplessly between two slices of timber above and below, where I go to sleep among the raw-head and bloody-bone stories of Elnathan Gunn. I wake up at midnight hot and stifled, as if I were in a mine caved in. “Gunn, give me my boots!” Gunn fishes them out of some hole in the dark. I tug at the straps, half stifled, bump my head as I rise, grovel on my stomach out over two or three snorers, and hurry through the dark for the upper deck, thankful that, being corporal, I can have quarters where I can see and breathe. Through the cabin, over slumbering drums and drummers,—for the music, too, is privileged to remain above, — then in by the side of Ed. We heard, at noon, we were bound for Ship Island; and, while I am hoping for plenty of air and good weather the rest of the voyage, down shut the eyelids, and consciousness is guillotined for the night.

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