The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 52, July 1948 - April, 1949 Page: 138
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
weather, to Southern flora and fauna, and to army quarters,
rations, and his own movements. Equally often, the old gentle-
man projected his ego into a message for a public, and gave his
own interpretations and moral significance to events and condi-
tions. Thus is presented a medley of preachments, opinions,
hearsay, rumors, and even politics. The first category probably
has more validity for the serious student, but the second list of
entries is definitely more intriguing.
Space permits a review only of selected subjective entries.
Although billeted there briefly, the part-time minister observed
that "her Snakeship," New York City, was a den of harlots, cop-
perheads, and bounty jumpers. The "off Scourings of all Gods
Creation," the "Trifleing pukes," the "Demons, not fit for Dog
feed," prevalent among enlisted men, he believed to be uniformly
substitutes and bounty jumpers. The officers were, almost without
exception, "puffed up Shoulder Strap fools" who were too busy
"hunting after Crinoline" to perform their duties. In an entry
of May o, 1864, Ayers "wished to God that half the officers were
knocked in the head by slinging them against those left!" The
army would be better off, he thought, with the few surviving this
The Reverend Private Ayers was aware that he could not report
factually on the customs and culture of the Southern people, but
his animosity toward them did not relent from his casual con-
tacts. He was bitter toward the "Haughty Stinking heiffers" at
Huntsville, Alabama, who accepted army rations and then treated
the soldiers with "Scorn and Contempt." There is also curious
mention of the "Shoulder Straps" seeking smiles of "Secesh
women" and "huggin and kissing" them. His intimation is that
the "dirty sluts" around Huntsville who accommodated the
"shoulder straps" were locals and not camp followers.
Other than references to fraternization, possibly, there is little
of new data or leads in the Diary. It verifies that the weather
was the rainiest and coldest on record, that the great moss-covered
live oaks around Savannah were beautiful, and that the typical
soldier was a transplanted civilian, engaged in a revolting busi-
ness, and longing to go home. Such source materials are worthy
of publication and preservation, and the Diary is a useful library
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 52, July 1948 - April, 1949, periodical, 1949; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101121/m1/146/: accessed September 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.