The Language of the Civil War

By John D. Wright | Go to book overview

Q

Q.M. or q.m. The abbreviation for quarter-master. An 1862 poem, “The Johnny Reb’s Epistle to the Ladies,” by a Confederate soldier (known only as “W.E.M.”), asked the ladies to knit more socks because:


To speak of shoes, it boots not here;
Our Q.M.’s, wise and good,
Give cotton calf-skins twice a year
With soles of cottonwood.

See also Quartermaster Department.

quadrille A popular square dance of French origin in which four or more couples (at right angles or lined up opposite one another) perform different movements. It was popular during the war and a feature of President Abraham Lincoln’s first inaugural ball. See also the German.

quadroon A person who is one-fourth Negro, three grandparents being white and one black. A quadroon is thus a child of a MULATTO and a white person. A common name used was YELLOW.

Quaker gun A false gun. When Confederate General Joseph E.Johnston was forced to pull his troops back from Centreville, Virginia, and closer to Richmond in October 1861, he left dummy guns (logs painted black) and dummy soldiers at their posts. This deception slowed the progress of General George McClellan’s forces and embarrassed the North. Newspapers quickly applied the Quaker name, chosen for the pacifist doctrine of that religion.

Quartermaster Department The U.S. department composed of quartermasters who were responsible for troop quarters and transportation, as well as the storage and movement of supplies and equipment and for each horse and WAGONER. It also constructed coffins and buried the dead. The department was headed by the quartermaster general with the rank of brigadier general. J.F.Rusling, a Union quartermaster, said the department followed the army “with its outstretched and sheltering arms, dropping only mercies, wherever it goes.” The Confederate government had a similar “Quartermaster’s Department” also headed by a quartermaster general.

quartermaster hunter A humorous nickname given by front-line soldiers to an enemy shell that flew overhead to land in the rear where quartermasters were staying in presumed safety.

quarter section or quarter An informal name for the 160 acres (a quarter of a

-242-

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The Language of the Civil War
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Guide to Related Topics xv
  • A 1
  • B 19
  • C 50
  • D 81
  • E 100
  • F 107
  • G 122
  • H 138
  • I 154
  • J 161
  • K 166
  • L 172
  • M 184
  • N 202
  • O 208
  • P 221
  • Q 242
  • R 245
  • S 259
  • T 293
  • U 308
  • V 314
  • W 318
  • Y 329
  • Z 332
  • Bibliography 335
  • Index 337
  • About the Author 378
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