FOUR YEARS CAMPAIGNING WITH
THE ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA.
By Frederick S Daniel
It was while the company was encamped at Morton's Ford that a notorious burlesque organization was formed in its ranks, namely, the " Independent Battalion of Fusileers."
The Fusileers became well known, and furnished an amusing theme. The Battalion consisted on paper of three companies, their officers and men recruited from the four detachments. In the language of its founder,
"the qualification necessary for admission was a love of elegant, luxurious ease, an indomitable energy in resisting everything that pertained to bodily or mental exertion, and the Battalion, therefore, constituted a noble band of warriors who could not be induced to exert themselves in any kind of work. On one occasion, a member of the Battalion was on guard over four bales of hay; the sparks from his pipe set the hay on fire, and the exertion of putting out the sparks was too much for this valiant Fusileer, and the whole lot of hay was burnt up, whereupon private was promoted to a lieutenancy for meritorious conduct displayed in burning up four bales of hay, while on guard, to warm his intellect." In the spring campaign of 1864, the major of the Battalion issued the following special order :
"Special Order. Morton's Ford,April 20, 1864. The commanding officer of the Independent Battalion of Fusileers reviews with pride and pleasure the past conduct of the gallant band of veterans he has the honor to command, and wishes to urge upon all commissioned and noncommissioned officers the importance of perfecting themselves in the manual of whacking, so as to prepare themselves for the ensuing campaign which promises to be one of unusual activity and hardship. Signed by the major commanding, senior and junior captains and the adjutant."