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

Post image for ‘Playing army.’ –Diary of Josiah Marshall Favill.

‘Playing army.’ –Diary of Josiah Marshall Favill.

August 31, 2013

Diary of a Young Officer–Josiah Marshall Favill (57th New York Infantry)

August 31st. Reveille at break of day. Immediately after breakfast the division fell in, leaving its tents standing, and marched to Bank’s ford, halted there a short time, and then advanced to the United States ford, and bivouacked there in the woods, entirely out of sight. Headquarters were established about a small old stone house, and here we had a lot of sport, no enemy being near, and every one in fine spirits on account of getting out of camp. Various games were indulged in throughout the whole command, the division staff not excepted.

In the evening the staff gathered in the house, servants spread the blankets on the floor, and lying upon them, there being no furniture besides a rickety old table, we exercised our wits. I don’t know why so many fairly sensible creatures should suddenly lose their senses, but in this case, at least in the general’s opinion, they certainly did. The fun grew fast and furious, finally, the party divided itself into two equal parts, and agreed to attack and defend the room. Accordingly one half of the men went out while the other half remained inside to conduct the defense. Doctor Stiles, Derrickson, Hobart, the First brigade quartermaster, and myself, formed the garrison. Stiles was stationed at the door, Derrickson and Hobart each defended a window, whilst the quartermaster and I carried supplies of ammunition, reinforced the weakest spots, and generally kept our eyes open. Stones, logs of wood, iron pots, and sundry other missiles came flying through the windows. We put out the light to hide our strategy, hung blankets over the windows, and spared nothing in the proper defense of the place. The windows were quickly battered in and then came pails of water followed by showers of flour and corn meal. Derrickson, Stiles, and Hobart were soon plastered from head to foot, but were so intent upon avoiding the heavier ordnance of stones and dinner pots that little heed was paid to flour or water; as the siege progressed the beleaguered garrison were at their wits’ end for material, and Stiles, who by this time was as serious as the famous Don Quixote of happy memory, finding the door about to give away, drew his pistol and emptied it into the angle nearest the attacking force. The illusion was instantly dispelled and hostilities ceased at once. The general was aroused and ordered us immediately to bed, on pain of arrest. When the outs were admitted, they were unable to control themselves for laughter over our pitiable appearance; we were covered with flour and meal and the room in which we all proposed to sleep, was a scene of utter desolation. It took the combined force of servants an hour to make it fit for sleeping in, and at least another hour was necessary to make ourselves presentable.

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