An honorable foe

Across the late War of the Rebellion I faced many a Confederate soldier across the field of battle. I always respected their fortitude and determination. they were worthy men who fought for a miserable cause. Regardless of the cause that flew them they did their duty and did it well. I came to know a few of them through capture and a few that traveled this way after the war for work as well as a few who became galvanized Yankees in lieu of wasting away in a POW camp. Several of those men settled on land in the western part of the state or in the Dakota Territory.

I found that I generally liked the men who had the courage to stand in the line of battle. It didn’t matter to me then or now that they were an enemy trying to end me. I have always appreciated the fighting man whether he was shooting at me or not. We all shared the same hardships, the same mud and blood of war. Most Rebels who held the line were little different than those who fought for the US. They thought they were in the right and after the war generally went home and kept on keeping on to the best of their ability. But as civilization proves the good men die on the field of battle and those who take control after are most often the shirkers and dandies who managed to avoid the danger of the line.

This particular man was an artilleryman in a Rebel battery. He has said he served under Bragg,Johnston and finally Hood sending shot and shell towards the Union flags and guns. He is an unapologetic veteran; I believe he has little to apologize for… though I have teased him that the Rebel batteries could barely hit the hill we were fighting from at Allatoona Pass. He insists he missed that fight and blames their shoddy marksmanship on it not being his battery.

Albert is a skilled cook and I believe he works now as a line cook for one of the logging companies. I suspect few complain about his cooking as I know it to be quite good. The man has a son who served beside him in the War; I believe the young man has furthered his education and has attended university.

The War taught Albert to live rough and survive with the minimum of possessions. The logging company has allowed him to eat well and sleep more comfortably than on any campaign. He has said their is more tentage in the logging camps than in the whole of the rebel army; he might not be wrong.

The company likes its men to eat well and he does a good job feeding them. On occasion he has stopped at my tavern and we have shared a drink; he is a fellow soldier and even while he was an enemy he will not pay for his first drink. It is a good tradition I think and it brings patrons of the sort I prefer into my business. However, I will not suffer a man to claim service who did not serve. Such stolen courage is unforgivable in my eyes.