The Language of the Civil War

By John D. Wright | Go to book overview

I

i The small “i” was sometimes used in letters by southern women as a sign of modesty.

“I Am a Southern Girl” See “The Homespun Dress.”

I.C. Inspected Condemned. This was stamped on Union military equipment, including horses and mules, that a government inspector had examined and condemned for further use. The initials were often written by soldiers on various personal and camp articles as a joke.

I dad! An exclamation of surprise or excitement, used in the western states; e.g., “I dad! We whipped them.”

identifier A piece of parchment worn by Union soldiers to identify them if killed in battle. It was supplied to every soldier by the CHRISTIAN COMMISSION. One side contained blank lines for the soldier’s name, company, regiment, brigade, division, and corps, and a line to add the name of the relative to be notified. On the back were the following directions: “Suspend from the neck by a cord, and wear over the shirt: in battle, under.” Many soldiers also wore an IDENTITY DISC.

identity disc A small metal disc worn by soldiers to identify them if they were killed. Soldiers had to buy these themselves because the dog tag did not yet exist. Besides circular types, the discs came in the shape of crosses, stars, and shields. A typical one listed the soldier’s name, rank, company, and regiment. Silver ones were sold for one dollar by Drowne & Moore jewelers of New York, but poorer soldiers made do with wooden labels. Despite these efforts, 55 percent of Civil War soldiers buried in national cemeteries are unknown. When discs were not available, many soldiers wrote their names and units on a piece of paper or wood chip and placed it in their pocket or attached it to their uniforms. Some added “Killed in action” and the date.

“I fights mit Sigel” A boast, often amusingly quoted during the war, of thousands of German-born Union soldiers led by Major General Franz Sigel, who was also German-born. His units included the German XI Corps of the Army of the Potomac. Although he had graduated from Germany’s military academy, Sigel was a weak leader who had the habit of snapping his fingers at shellbursts and shouting orders in his native language to his amazed non-German troops. After

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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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