Wednesday, July 17, 2013
“Independent Battalion of Fusiliers.”
FROM THE RAPIDAN TO RICHMOND AND THE SPOTTSYLVANIA CAMPAIGN
A Sketch in Personal Narrative of the Scenes a Soldier Saw
WILLIAM MEADE DAME, D. D.
Private, First Company
In between our stated duties, we had some time in which we could amuse ourselves as we chose, and we had many means of entertainment.
There was one thing from which we got a great deal of fun. We got up an organization amongst the youngsters which was called the “Independent Battalion of Fusiliers.” The basic principle of this kind of heroes was, “In an advance, always in the rear—in a retreat, always in front. Never do anything that you can help. The chief aim of life is to rest. If you should get to a gate, don’t go to the exertion of opening it. Sit down and wait until somebody comes along and opens it for you.”
After the first organizers, no one applied for admission into the Battalion—they were elected into it, without their consent. The way we kept the ranks full was this: Whenever any man in the Battery did any specially trifling, and good-for-nothing thing, or was guilty of any particularly asinine conduct, or did any fool trick, or expressed any idiotic opinion, he was marked out as a desirable recruit for the Fusiliers. We elected him, went and got him and made him march with us in parade of the Battalion, and solemnly invested him with the honor. This was not always a peaceable performance. Sometimes the candidate, not appreciating his privilege, had to be held by force, and was struggling violently, and saying many bad words, during the address of welcome by the C. O.
I grieve to say that an election into this notable corps was treated as an insult, and responded to by hot and unbecoming language. One fellow, when informed of his election, flew into a rage, and said bad words, and offered to lick the whole Battalion. But what would they have? We were obliged to fill up the ranks.
After a while it did come to be better understood, and was treated as a joke, and some of the more sober men entered into the fun, and would go out on parade, and take part in the ceremony. We paraded with a band composed of men beating tin buckets, frying pans, and canteens, with sticks, and whistling military music. It made a noisy and impressive procession. It attracted much attention and furnished much amusement to the camp.
Update !!!! JC Tatum was a member