BURYING SAMUEL P. MULLEN
Chapter 6 (March 12, 1863 - April 19, 1863)
On the 12th of March we buried with military honors Samuel P. Mullen, a member of Company E of the Regiment, and strange to say he was the only soldier of our regiment over whose body military funeral honors were performed during our term of service.
I think it was the most solemn funeral I had attended up to that time. The Regiment was drawn up into line Colonel Ario Pardee in command. The corpse was placed in an ambulance; the drums were muffled; the Regiment reversed arms and marched in columns of fours to the place of burial. The tune of the funeral march is the same as the Portuguese hymn, found in our church hymnals. With slow and solemn tread we marched to the grave; there we were ordered to shoulder arms, then to invert arms, which is done by placing the muzzle of the gun on the toe of the left foot, barrels to the front, the left hand on the stock of the gun and the right hand on top of the left hand, the head bowed slightly forward. You remain in this position until the body is lowered into the grave, when the firing squad shoots three volleys over the grave, then the parade returns to the camp and is dismissed.
A pathetic part of the burial was that no relatives of the deceased was present. Someone placed on the headboard of the grave this inscription: “Sleep, sleep, a soldier’s sleep. Thy weary march is over.” If my memory serves me correctly, not even a prayer was offered. Our Regiment had no chaplain, a position held by Rev. Hall, who died of smallpox before we left Harrisburg.
We had quite a number of typhoid cases during the winter of 1862 and 1863 The medical department issued orders that each company should report at the doctor’s tent every morning until further orders.
Company G was always on hand as soon as sick call was given by the drum corps. The dose we got was a mixture of quinine, red pepper and whiskey. This was a hot dose, but we had to swallow it. It was die dog or eat the hatchet. William E. Fausnaucht positively refused to take his dose, and said that “you can lead an ox to water but you can not make him drink.”
Henry J. Doebler was the only one who was successful in coaxing the doctor to give him his whiskey straight. Whether or not the above was a preventative, this I know, that Fausnaucht never missed a day of service until he had his leg shot off at New Hope Church, Ga., in 1864, and I am glad to say that at this writing he is still in the land of the living.
While in this camp the boys enjoyed themselves to the fullest extent. When off duty, they played tricks on one another and there was always something to make the camp lively. Often times it would happen that all the members of a mess were out on a picket at the same time. Then someone would quietly get into the tent and, having a lot of powder, would scratch away the ashes in the chimney, place the powder, then scatter ashes over all, then get wood and fix up everything ready to put a match to it.
When the pickets were relieved and they entered their tents, they could be heard talking to themselves and wondering who was the kind, friend in the company who did the kindness of arranging for their fire. They would begin preparing their meal, placing coffee on the fire and getting everything ready for their mid-day meal, the salt pork broiled, the crackers roasted and the coffee about boiling, when lo and behold an explosion takes place. The tent is filled with dust and ashes, the coffee gone, but the crackers and salt pork would be gathered up, washed and prepared again. The guilty ones would scamper off to their tents, get under their blankets and pretend to be asleep, having sweet dreams of home.
I cannot give you the details of the second explosion; you, dear reader, will have to imagine what took place.
Mr. Laubenstein, as stated before, was our company cook. The army beans required three hours cooking. This occupied very much of our precious time. Someone informed the cook that if a handful of nails were thrown into the camp kettle the sharp edges of the nails would cut the outer skin of the beans and they would be ready to serve much sooner. The next bean soup we had, sure enough, the handful of nails were at the bottom of the kettle.