Campfire Memories

After a hard day on the march...

Ya know....Occasionally, you have one of those days....

If that happens around OUR Battery, you jus' KNOW you're gonna find it on here! One of our privates showed up to Jackson '09, a little short - he found himself beggin' and borrowin' from the WHOLE Battery D camp, until he finally gathered enough stuff to have a complete uniform. Bein' the nice guys we were, we were quick to come up with a NEW nickname for him. So the next time ya see Private Hamilton, mention Private Mismatch....(The bad thing is, HE is in charge of sellin' our tee shirts!!)

Never, EVER get an artilleryman upset! That is the punchline certain Soviet sailors learned on early morning in Bay City, Michigan. You see, Bay City in late September CAN be miserable at times...... And, as any soldier can tell you, whenever the Army is there......the weather's NOT fair! We set up camp on Thursday evening, in the COLD rain, and finally settled in to our beds in the tents.....About two in the morn, some of us were still warming our toes in our hands until we could fall asleep about 3. What we did not know, however, was that this Soviet Seafaring Freighter was sailing in. They dropped anchor DIRECTLY across the river from us, then blew their horn - HOOOOONK!!!

The next morning, bright and early at 6:00 a.m., three privates walked up to Sgt. Clark and reported "Sgt.! Requesting permission to fire the morning gun!" Sgt. Clark smiled his enchanting (But slightly devilish) grin, and said "Permission granted." We, er, um .....THEY then wheeled the 1/2 scale gun as close to the river as possible, loaded it with powder, stuffed the barrel with straw, then fired - directly across the river at the side of the ship! Now, mind ya - the concussion of a cannon, half-scale or not, rings a ship's steel hull with an AWFUL loud echoing ring all up and down the ship! Let me tell ya, those sailors came a runnin' onto the deck, fists clenched, and saw us waving our kepis and yelling - "Good mornin'!" They had no choice but to laugh and wave, 'cuz they then knew why the blast.....

Next time ya see private Hamilton, ask him "Where's Max??" Appears Ol' Max can be hard to see from time to time, as private Hamilton found out. Ya see, Max wandered off to water the grass one night, and when he returned, his seat was taken - so he sat across the fire from Brian. Well, in the dark of night with a glaring fire in your vision, it CAN be hard to see who's on the other side.... Brian asked one of the other fellows - a helpful chap by name of Lindsey, "Where's Max?" Lindsey looked around, stared straight at Max, shrugged and claimed "Dunno, haven't seen him." Well, Hamilton caught on, and he and Lindsey proceeded to torment ol' Max, by acting as if they could not hear him, and asking everyone "Where's Max?" Nowadays, that's a greeting around camp that'll get a chuckle out of a few guys (except Max, who'll grumble and mumble about what he'd like to do to those "jokesters"! )

On a cold, bitter, windy day, in the quiet lull between battles at a Lil' ol' place called Linden Mills, our fellas crowded around the campfire, tryin' to keep warm....when a furry friend chose to join us, and partake of our meager warmth in the heart of the bleak wintery storm. One of the privates, known for his long-winded oratorical dissertations, began tellin' us of all his experiences with shrews on the farm where he came from, and in our fascination, we all missed the poor thing climbing up our good Lieutenant's greatcoat sleeve! (We always wondered about that Lieutenant, anyway! He always seemed too fond of sheep!) Oh well, the only bad thing was, we had to see some of the fellas cry, 'cuz they didn't get to eat the shrew, after he accidentally fell into the fire.....

Have ya heard about "Mouse"? Well, it seems one o' the fellas had his canteen stored in the cellar, and the cork fell out...Wouldn't ya know? A furry little friend tried to help him, by cleaning it out. Only thing, the poor critter couldn't get back out!! When Mike Poer started to take a drink of fresh, clean, cold water from his canteen, he noticed something next time you see us, stop by and say HI! to Mouse

Well, there is this one young lad in our Battery who found himself taken up with not one, not two, but THREE lovely young ladies... It seems they convinced him it would be alright to accompany them into town, after all - they WERE escorted by one of the girls' mother. Unfortunately, they tarried a little TOO long, and he missed that night's cannon drill, and the evening's color ceremony. It did NOT go unnoticed - Our 1st Seargent, with all the compassion he could find, bellowed at the young soldier to get his flea-bitten carcass across those parade grounds NOW! He started to give the lad a reprimand like no other, when he couldn't help but break down and shake his hand - after all, how many young lads do YOU know that can entertain THREE ladies at once? The soldier was given mess duty for the entire day following. But that's not all, at inspection the following day, the Captain found ladies' undergarments in his tent!

To the "normal" person, someone yelling "Fire!" raises some concern - to us artillerists, we usually respond by turning just to make sure, but don't get too of our guys got TOO used to the word though.....We were camped in the woods between battlefields during The Wilderness Campaign, sittin' 'round the fire, takin' turns tellin' the lamest jokes we could, and one of our privates was knockin' the ashes off his cigar by bumpin' it against the stump upon which he was parked. Well, to our surprise, apparently a few hot ashes fell between the bark and the wood, and lay a'smolderin' down there. As the evenin' wore on, a few fellows noticed the stump started smokin' (NOT the guy ON it, though...) - Well, they commenced to tellin' him, a little louder and a little louder, then yellin' at him, that his seat was afire! He heard 'em, but dismissed it, thinkin' they had sipped somethin' wrong, or somethin'. Eventually, he caught on, jumped up, and we got the fire out. Next time you see Private Adrian, ask him what HIS nickname is!

...And then, of course, there's Edsel and Elmer - two wayward "graybeards" who keep appearing at our fireside out of the DO they get past our guards!?!

Ya remember Gettysburg, in '98? We'll never forget it, after the Limber Fun Run...Ya see, we we're s'posed to have some time to get our Limbers outta the way, before the next battle....when the Cornfederates decided they were tired of bein' out in the hot sun, and wanted our shady restin' spot. So, here they come, and the command was -and I quote:"GET THOSE LIMBERS OUT OF THERE, NOW!" So we pulled, and pushed, and cussed (some of us are lax in our language), and swerved around infantry, and cav, and trees, and rocks....'til we came across this tree that had fallen right across our path. After surveyin' the situation, and gettin' yelled at once to many times, our Q.M. Sgt. yelled PUSH!!! We all pushed, and with a THUMP! The limber went over the tree, about three feet in the air, sprayin' canteens, jackets, hats, and don' know what all else everywhere, to a rousin' hats off cheer from the infantry!

Well, just in fresh from the Battle of Bull Run (150th Anniversary), the Battery did REAL good.....spite of gettin' their tails whipped as Rickett's Battery! They proved theys REAL smart, they did!! We all us boys done learned that "Drinkin' water is the BEST prevention against Dehydration!" (Some think it helps with other things, too...but ya ALWAYS got those slow learners in a bunch like us!!)

So, we settle into camp on Saturday at Bull Run, and one of our privates decides to sneak a WHOLE pickle to hisself...he got HIS just desserts (Pun INTENDED!)....As the group was beratin' him 'bout anything they could think of (His nickname was private Scapegoat), one a them made a face at him, causin' him to choke on pickle juice. Well, let me tell ya!! Lovin' bunch THEY are.....they were REAL quick to Christen him with a NEW nickname - - Picklechoker!! This pleased the 1st Sergeant SO much, he promptly abandoned callin' the lad by his name, private, or anything else, BUT "YOU PICKLECHOKING SCAPEGOAT!!", quickly followed with all sorts of OTHER next time ya see Private Mike Neveau, call him Picklechoker, scapegoat, or if'n ya feel particular ornery.....picklechokin' scapegoat!!

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