View Full Version : Irish Stories for March 17

03-16-2004, 10:15 AM
In honor of the day when Irishmen (mostly of mixed descent like me) in the US drink heavilly in honor of an English missionary: two reminiscences from "Confederate Veteran".

"Two Irishmen Captured Each Other" by S. H. Bosworth, Beverly, W. Va. (1913, p.231)

....Among the men of Jackson's Cavalry was an Irishman by the name of John Baker, who was fond of whiskey. One day he went to a stillhouse in the neutral territory to get his canteen filled, and when he came out there was a Yankee with his gun ready to fire, who told him to surrender.

"Certainly," said Johnny, and handed over his gun. They started off together, each on his own horse, and they had not gone far before Baker discovered that his captor was also an Irishman. "What's the use quarreling over this thing?", said Johnny. "We're both from the same country. Have a drink." The Yankee was agreeable and took the canteen and turned it up for a long drink. When he took it down, John's pistol was pointed at his breast with the remark: "Maybe you'll surrender to me now." This the Federal did without delay, and Baker carried him prisoner back to Jackson's camp.

:sarcastic MORAL (Mine, not the magazine's!): Just what in Irish history gave the Yank the peculiar notion that another Irishman would FORSAKE a quarrel with a countryman?

03-16-2004, 10:35 AM
The second one: "An Old Confederate Story of Irish Wit", by Annie Laurie Sharkey, St. Louis, Mo. (1916: p. 77)

Tommy Logan was a typical son of the Emerald Isle who entered the Confederate Army at the first call for troops from Mississippi....Tommy was older than any of the other privates and had traveled nearly all over the States as a common laborer, mostly with his shovel or hod. Never was Tommy wanting in a reply to any question asked; he needed no time to "frame" his answer. The only besetting sin of this true man was his love for the jug. No kinder man ever lived....

....General Magruder....issued and order that no intoxicants should be sold within the Confederate line nor sold or given away to any Confederate soldier. Gen. Magruder was himself a hard drinker...A few days after this order Tommy was detailed as a guard at Gen. Magruder's headquarters...when a conversation arose between the officers as to why the pay of the Confederate army was fixed at odd numbers, a private recieving $11 per month, a sergeant $17...and a general $301....One of the aids to the General who knew Tommy said: "General Magruder, old Tommy Logan, the guard out there, may answer your question. He has a ready answer to any question asked him."

(Tommy is brought in, obviously inebriated.) ...

General Magruder said: "Sir, I see you have been drinking. Will you tell me where you got the whiskey?" "O, Gineral, I'm afraid you will put me in the guardhouse, and I think the damn Yankees are thinking of taking Fredericksburg, and I would hate to tell some of my good friends in town I did not fire a shot in their defense." "No," said the General, "I will not punish you if you will tell where you got your whiskey." "Ah, Gineral, that sounds so kind of you to say that it matters not where I got the whiskey; so I will tell you the God's truth where I got the liquor." (Considerable "blarney" follows...he saw some horse, admired a fine one, etc, etc.) "On going around him I discovered a canteen hung to the saddle and, the divil take my curiousity, I smelt of the canteen and found about three drinks of good whiskey. My curiousity to taste was up, and I took a small drink. Ah! bad luck to whiskey. It made me want more, and I drank the entire contents of that canteen, not more than three fingers, though, you see."

Here the General put in: "Well, here you are telling a long-winded story, and the one who owned the whiskey or horse you have not divulged....whose horse was the canteen on?"

"Ah! my kind Gineral, I do not know the owner; but I have for the last six months seen you ridin' that noble animal."

When this came out the entire office force began to laugh, and one said: "General, Tommy is too much for you." "But", said the General, "he has not only got off for being drunk, but has gotten drunk on my whiskey."

Tommy also offered an answer to the original question:

"Ah! Gineral, that is aisy. I get $10 a month for the work I do as a private and $1 for the honor of being a soldier, and you get $300 for the honor of being a gineral and $1 for the work you do."

I must now tell you that General Magruder never passed our company at any time on the march or in camp and saw Tommy that he did not raise his hat and salute the private who explained so fully the odd numbers that Congress fixed as the pay for its officers and soldiers of the line.

But I'll be he left Magruder's whiskey alone from then on. A wise old man quits while he's ahead. :wink_smil