gabion Large hollow rolls of wicker filled with earth and stones and used by a besieging force. Gabions were protective devices rolled in front of soldiers who were digging trenches closer and closer to the enemy’s fortifications. They were also used to fortify field positions. When Union IRONCLAD WARSHIPS attacked stonewall forts, such as Fort Sumter, the Confederate defenders found that the soft gabions were the best reinforcement, but they had to be constantly renewed.
gaff In COCK FIGHTING, a needle-sharp steel spur fitted over the spur of a gamecock.
gal-boy Another name, especially in New England, for a tom-boy.
“Gallant Hood” The nickname for Confederate General John B.Hood, who was known for his bravery and bold fighting abilities. As a leader of men, however, he acquired a reputation for bad judgment. Hood’s arm was crippled at Gettysburg, and he lost a leg after being wounded at Chickamauga, forcing him to be strapped to his horse when he went into battle thereafter. He was given command of the Army of Tennessee and soon wrecked it. He lost 15,000 men hopelessly trying to save Atlanta from Major General W.T. Sherman. Deciding on the bold strategy of invading Tennessee, he quickly marched his men northward for senseless attacks against larger Union forces, and was badly defeated at the battles of Franklin and Nashville. In the latter, where about 1,500 of his men were killed or wounded and another 4,500 captured, Hood was seen pulling his hair and sobbing. After the war, he moved to New Orleans, married, had 11 children in 10 years, and died with his wife and a daughter in a yellow fever epidemic. See also “Old Wooden Head”; “Yellow Rose of Texas.”
gallanting Courting a woman, although the word often had more sinister meanings, as when the Washington Star complained about soldiers “gallanting the painted Jezebels with which the city is stocked.”
“Gallant Pelham” The nickname given to Confederate Major John Pelham of Alabama by General Robert E.Lee, after seeing him fight at the battle of Fredericksburg in December 1862. “It is glorious to see such courage in one so young!” enthused Lee of the 23-year-old artillery commander under Major General Jeb Stuart. Pelham, also called “the boy major,” was a handsome but modest man known for flirting with females