In Their Own Words
November 14, 1862
Crossing River Substitute for Bath
A Georgia Civil War soldier in Virginia wrote home to his wife, telling her of one soldier’s method of getting a bath, and relating a humorous story of a “hunt.”
“…It may be interesting to you to know that we will ford the river. This will be quite a cool proceeding, though may be an advantage as I heard one dirty fellow say a few days ago he wished we would cross another river as his ablutions had not been copeousas would suit the taste of most men. His last foot washing was when we came out of Md. … Let me tell you of the coon hunt. An unlucky coon weighing eighteen lbs stragled into the regiment and went up a tree. The boys armed themselves with sticks cut down the tree and had quite an exciting time which ended in the outflanking and capture of ‘old zip.” Of course this variation of camp monotony was very agreeable, and gave rise to may yarns (and possibly some lies) about coon hunts down in the Empire State. …”
Source: Randall Allen and Keith S. Bohannon (eds.), “Campaigning with ‘Old Stonewall’: Confederate Captain Ujanirtus Allen’s Letters to his Wife (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1998), pp. 183-184.