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A blog of Nineteenth Century history, focusing, but not exclusively, on the American Civil War seen through the prism of personal accounts, newspaper stories, administrative records and global history.
A thousand tales. A miscellany. A maze of historical tangents.

A Capitol View

A Capitol View
Images of 1861 juxtaposed- Union Square, New York vs. Capitol Square, Richmond

Friday, January 24, 2014

Chauncey and the Pig

The first winter of our military career was passed in lower Maryland on Mr. Posey's farm, our camp being about a mile back from the river. General Hooker advised Mr. Posey to collect his rails and pile them near his house, and he (General Hooker) would have a guard placed over them.
This was done but, in some manner never explained, the rails were not to be found in the spring. Several paths leading from the spot once occupied by the rail pile were visible to the naked eye, but alas the rails had vanished. How the guards accounted for the total disappearance of their charge I do not know. The First Mass. Volunteers, Battery "H"; 1st U. S. Artillery, Battery "D " ; 1st New York, and Smith s Battery were all located on this farm.
One fact worthy of mention is that Mr. Posey had not made friends with the boys. For instance, at the time we located on his premises some of the men found two sucking pigs, very small, which they took to their cabins and fed on condensed milk with a spoon until old enough to eat other food. These pigs became great pets, and when old enough followed the horses to and from water and would show fight if a horse refused to let them have a share of oats or corn while feeding. When half grown one was kicked to death by a horse; the other, black as coal, roamed at will, rigged out in a cover made from a scarlet saddle blanket.
I frequently received reports from the 1st Mass, camp concerning the conduct of his pig-ship, whose freedom in officers quarters was the talk of the camp. He stoutly resisted any attempt to remove him. Mr. Posey heard that we had a shoat in camp and straightway put in a claim of ownership, which could not be well denied, as the animal was found on the premises. But we knew the pig owed his life to the care and attention of those who had raised him.
These facts were laid before Mr. Posey when he came with two slaves to assist him in taking possession. He, however, refused to argue the matter, and armed with authority from General Hooker demanded that the pig be delivered up. I offered to pay any price he might ask in reason rather than order the men to surrender their pet. His only reply was, I want my property."
"Go and take it," I answered finally. He told his slaves how to proceed, and the boys of the Battery, who fully understood my sentiments, were not slow in devising a way to solve the problem and settle the difficulty.
They at once offered to help catch the object of all this contention, so about fifty men started in hot pursuit of the pig, managing, however, to keep near the negroes, and whenever one of the latter was in the act of stooping to seize a leg, several men would accidentally rush against and send him heels over head. Mr. Posey after fuming and fretting over the ridiculous spectacle, requested me to order the men away, which I declined to do. It was very evident that the Yankees were going to retain possession for the time being. So hostilities ceased, not to be renewed.
I might add that Mr. Pig lost his life at Hampton, Va., when following the horses to water. He was killed by a New York lancer, who was ignorant of the fact that he was a Battery pet. After some loud talking the matter was disposed of by the men of the Battery dressing and roasting Pat, whose untimely end was regretted by none more than myself.
Another appendage to the Battery was in the shape of a white bull dog named Chauncey, brought from New York by some member of the company. Chauncey was very useful. He too had a scarlet cover, and while sitting on an ammunition chest during a march, as was his wont, his general appearance was such as to increase one s respect for the canine family. Chauncey was never frolicsome, always sedate and dignified.

-A Famous Battery and its Campaigns, 1861-64 the Career of Corporal James Tanner in War and Peace Early Days in the Black Hills with Some Account of Capt. Jack Crawford The Poet Scout
by Captain James E. Smith 4th N. Y. Independent Battery

Washington W. H. Lowdermilk & CO. 1892

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