was barely 18 years old, Grandfather escaped his hard life by joining
the Delaware National Guard which was ultimately absorbed into the
Union Army. He was a private in President Lincolns army on its
mission toward putting down the Souths rebellion and unifying
the country around Lincolns antislavery proclamation. From Grandfathers
few stories of his war experience, we see the human side of the prolonged
Civil War. This was the last grand war of passion and professional
courtesy, as exemplified in two of Grandfathers stories.
During his war
service, Grandfather served as a screw, a prison guard
for the captured Rebel prisoners, in an island prison camp off the
East Coast (probably Delaware). While there, he recalls some Rebel
prisoners coming in, half-frozen, gaunt, and with bleeding feet. As
they went by, one said to him, The Confederates are right, we
will win, you will see.
In another incident,
he was walking his post one cold night and, being weary from loss
of sleep, he paused to rest a moment. The next thing he heard was
a Rebel prisoner in a low, but insistent voice calling, Wake
up, Yank, wake up! He sprang awake and had resumed walking his
post when the Captain of the Guard arrived. Had Grandfather been found
asleep at his post in war time, he could have received the death penalty.
Perhaps because of his own cruel upbringing, Grandfather had been
humane to the prisoners under his charge, and this paid off for him
that cold night.