Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 9, Number 2, May, 1999 Page: 65
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Reminiscences of the Old Brigade
pox, body lice. I believe in my soul the things
fatten on being boiled in water. Joe Boggs, of
the 7th, Rube Purcell, of the 4th, Tom Slack,
of the 5th and Fred Tremble, of the 2nd, told
me that they took a shirt the other day and boiled
it for two hours and all the good it done was to
make the eggs deposited in the shirt hatch out,
but I think this was a joke they were rigging off
on a greenhorn. Our shoes are all worn out,
many of the men are complete bare-footed, a
few are bare-headed. We are on half rations
and have been for twenty days and yet the men
are all in fine spirits, around the campfire, they
crack their jokes and sing as merrily as if they
were at home.
We spend the day pulling grass for our
horses, and digging roots to build fire, and run-
ning races with the lice, we have tried every
way we could to get clear of them, boiled our
clothes, washed and scrubbed them, but the ver-
min get thicker.
We are going to move on Fort Craig to-
morrow, the yankees are waiting for us there.
The reports show that to-day we have two thou-
sand two hundred and twenty-six effective men.
We have been at Thorn about one month, small-
pox, measles and body lice are still working
Our regiment is ordered to take the advance
in the line of march. We marched up beyond a
Mexican settlement and camped. While we were
in camp Maj. Robards with fifty men rode by
us. Col. Green sent and had him stopped and
brought into camp. He and Kirk and two oth-
ers (who ran off a train of wagons from the
Federal and brought them to us) prisoners go-
ing under a flag of truce to turn them over to
Gen. Canby as thieves, but we were keeping
the wagons and mules, and Col. Green said
they should not be turned over, Major Robards
said it was Gen. Sibley's orders, and that Sibley
would have Col. Green shot if he prevented it.
Col. Green replied "that he wished he might
be shot and be d--d a thousand times rather
than see men sent back and turned over to the
Federals, and that they could not carry these
men to the enemies camp until they whipped
the 5th regiment," that settled it, Robards
stopped and Kirk and the other two men were
turned loose. What this move meant we never
could understand, what the object was, was a
mystery to us, and Gen. Sibley never explained
it. Poor Kirk he was a gallant soldier, lost a leg
at Glorietta and served through the war in the
quartermarter's department, and died poor in
Dension a few years ago, but the thread of his
life hung upon the nerve of Tom Green in Feb.,
These fellows up at Fort Craig don't seen
to be at all alarmed at our approach, they seem
to be quietly waiting for us, sending an occa-
sional scouting party down this way under Lord
or Kit Carson.
We had thunder to play in our camp last
night, there is a fellow in our campany, a six-
footer, by the name of Ben Slater, a good easy
going fellow, kind hearted and generous, but
the boys took up a notion that he would not
fight, and ruled him out of every mess, and
hence Slater had a whole mess to himself. Last
night Kindred's horse got loose and eat up
Slater's rations, but Slater mistook the horse
for mine, yesterday being ration day we had
just drawn a whole ten days rations, which at
best (being only half rations) was only enough
to last five days, and the truth is that by giving
loose rein to my stomach I could eat a whole
ten days rations at one meal, at least I have felt
(and all the other boys have felt the same way)
hungry enough for that for the past month, men
may and we have cheerfully lived on half ra-
tions, still hunger is constantly gnawing at my
bowels. About one o'clock Slater waked up and
found the horse just swallowing the last piece
of his soap, (Kindred's horse did not seem to
know the difference between soap and corn,
and while this may seem strange yet all of Co.
A. 5th Texas will tell you that they have seen
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Nesbitt Memorial Library. Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 9, Number 2, May, 1999, periodical, May 1999; Columbus, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth151406/m1/17/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed June 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.