Kentucky Cavaliers in Dixie: The Reminiscences of a Confederate Cavalryman

By Geo. Dallas Mosgrove | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XV.
A LITERARY SYMPOSIUM.

AT brigade headquarters was a coterie of literati, composed of Major Henry T. Stanton, Captain Edward O. Guerrant, Lieutenant Henry T. Anderson, Captain Barney Giltner and Captain J. J. McAfee--classical scholars, poets, critics, etc. All of them were staff officers, refined, fastidious in dress, and when assembled about the bivouac fire they usually engaged in the discussion of some literary topic, often edifying and amusing. Of course there was a diversity of genius and talent, which made the symposium the more interesting.

MAJOR HENRY T. STANTON was the poet pre-eminent, and like all poets he had his moods. At times he was so abstracted that he neither knew nor recognized his intimate friends; in fact he became oblivious to allsurroundings. Seating himself at the mess-table he would toy with his knife and fork, forgetting to eat a mouthful. These were sure symptoms of a forthcoming poem, the advent of which we all awaited with pleasurable expectancy, carefully refraining from breaking "the spell that bound him." He wrote a great deal; many of his productions abounding in pathos, while others were light, airy and witty. Of the latter, one "string of verses" in particular amused not only his own coterie, but was recited and sung and laughed over by the boys of the entire brigade. The command had captured a rich Federal wagon train, and, as usual, the boys appropriated to their own use everything they could lay their hands upon. General Wm. E. Jones, in command at the time, issued an order that mules, coffee, sugar and other "spoils of war" should be turned over to his quartermaster as Confederate States property, to be distributed, probably, among troops who were strangers. This order caused a vigorous

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