Viewpoint of the Union
|Viewpoint of the Union soldier
By Mrs. Don Watkins in 1954. Transcribed and submitted by Vicki Burress Roach.
This is the article written by the Rev. Robert J. Burdette, who was a Union
Soldier. This incident occurred at the Battle of Corinth. The writer found this
article in a book at the local library, and it was taken from the Booneville
Banner, Booneville, Mississippi, in the July 11, 1912 issue of their newspaper.
The viewpoint of the Union soldier of an incident that occurred at the battle of
Corinth is worthy of being included in this scrapbook history of Corinth, as it
reveals the physical condition of the soldiers in gray who fought in this
"We found a dead Confederate soldier lying on his back, his outstretched fingers
stretched across the stock of the rifle lying by his side. He was one of the
Rogers' Texans. Fifty seven of them we had found lying in the ditch of Fort
Robinette. I covered his face with a slouch hat and took off the haversack slung
to his neck, that it might not swing as we carried him to his sleeping chamber,
so cool and quiet and dark, after the savage tumult and dust and smoke after
that day of horror.
"Empty, isn't it?" asked the soldier working with me. I put my hand in it and
drew forth a handful of roasted acorns; I showed them to my comrade. "That's
all," I said.
"And he has been fighting like a tiger for two days on that forage," he
commented. We gazed at the face of the dead soldier with new feelings. By and by
"I hate this war and the things that caused it. I was taught to hate slavery
before I was taught to hate sin. I love the Union as I love my mother-better. I
think that this is the wickedest war that was ever waged in modern times. But
this, and he took some of the acorns from my hand-"this is what I call
"Comrade," I said, "I am going to send these home to the Peoria Transcript. I
want them to tell the editor this war won't be ended until there is a total
failure of the acorn crop. I want the folks at home to know what manner of men
they and we are fighting." "That was early in my experience as a soldier. It
never changed my opinion of the cause of the Confederacy."
"I was more and more devoted to the Union as the war went on. But I never
questioned the sincerity of the men in the Confederacy again. I realized how
dearly a man must love his own section who would fight for it on parched acorns.
I wished that his love and patriotism had been broader, reaching from the Gulf
to the Lakes, a love for the Union rather than for a State. But I understood
him, I hated his attitude toward the Union as much as ever but I admired the
man. And after Corinth I never could get a prisoner half way to the rear and
have anything left in my haversack.
"Oh, I too have suffered the pangs of hunger for my dear country, as all
soldiers have done, now and then. But not as that Confederate soldier did. We
went hungry at times when rain and mud or the interference of the enemy detained
the supply train. But that man half starved. That's different.
"Other haversacks we found that night on Corinth field with a slight ration in
them. Sometimes it was a chunk of corn pone. I used to think hard tack filled
the order for concrete breakfast slab.
But cone pone a week old reconciled me to soft food. Hard tack for mine."
"So the Southern people loved the states for which they suffered." This is
signed by the Rev. Robert J. Burdette, a gallant Union soldier.