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From the Calhoun Times, April 7, 1910

46 Years Ago
by R.F. Patman
No 1

I will endeavor to pull myself together tonight to give you a short sketch of war life as we remember it.

After the Missionary Ridge fight we were marched down about three miles south-east of Dalton, (this was the last of November, 1863) and struck camp for the winter. We commenced to build cabins, each mess having its own cabin and each company had its grounds laid off in streets with the cabins on each side, and it looked like a little city. Our cabins were daubed with mud and we had no plank floors all being dirt. We averaged about twelve men to the cabin. The cabins were covered with boards and weighted down with poles to hold the boards in place.

Now we will come down to housekeeping right. We cooked, eat and done our sleeping in the same room. Our bedstead consisted of a pole put across the house about seven feet from the rear end and other poles fitted in so we make a floor to hold our bedding off the ground. Our bedding consisted of two blankets and an oil cloth to the man. Our chairs were of blocks of wood. Now we will come down to our grub. It consisted of corn bread made from a very poor quality of meal. Sometimes it was so musty we could hardly eat it. Our meat was beef so poor that the marrow would run in the bone. We also got some peas full of weevils and after all this our men were faithful to every trust. (Emphasis added.)

Now at this time our army was in miserable health. About half of (the) men had chronic diarrhoea and a lot of our men died. Now we will give you some idea of how we passed the time off as every bitter has its sweets. Some of the boys engaged in peddling on anything that they could buy and sell, some passed the time in card playing, others in straight out gambling. Others were engaged reading their Bibles.

I remember one of our company engaged in selling goober peas and he made a thousand dollars and had it stored away in an old blue-black spelling book away down in his coat pocket. He had save this money to buy him a piece of land down in Floyd county. The boys knew he had it, so one morning they set in on him to go and try his hand in a game of checkluck. They succeeded and Jim was soon seated on the gambling ground trying his hand with his pocket change. It did not last long, so the boys told Jim to draw his spelling book on them and so he did and the boys gave him all the encouragement he needed. He continued to bet until his last dollar was gone, so Jim got up, pulled himself together and made straight for headquarters to borrow forty dollars to start his business on. He got the money and set out for his heart's content to make the money to buy that land and succeeded, but it was hard on Jim. I sometimes meet Jim and he loves to talk of those old days. For fear I am too long, I will desist.


P.S.--Subscribe for The Times and get the history of Johnson's march to Atlanta as I intend to give the truth of all matters as I understand them.

From the Calhoun Times, May 5, 1910
(unfortunately the typesetter transposed the numbers in the Title so it doesn't read correctly as "46 years Ago."


64 Years Ago

by R.F. Patman

Now as my first article did not find its way into the waste basket I will give another short sketch of war life.

In February, 1864 we received orders one day to pack up and get ready to march.So we went at it in short order as we had no piano or organ we soon had our equipment ready. It consisted of two blankets, one oil cloth, one Enfield rifle, cartridge case with forty rounds of ammunition, a canteen of water and we are ready to move. At the sound of the bugle and tap of (the) drum each company fell into line. No other command left its winter quarters except the Sixty-fifth Georgia. We were marched out in a south-west direction down to Swamp Creek church and halted, ordered to stack arms and go into camp. The weather was very cold for us to come out of our quarters into the open woods to camp without our tents or shelter, but we soon had good fires as we had plenty of wood at hand. The next morning we were ordered out. Instead of guns we were supplied with shovels, picks and axes and marched down on the road leading from Dalton to Calhoun. We were well supplied with wagons and teams. They were soon put to hauling crossties and we at once commenced placing them in on the road cross-ways, double length making our road about sixteen feet wide. Everything was in bad shape as the road was very weedy, yet we placed down the ties and put mud on them to hold them in place. We had a hard time while the snow and sleet fell and covered the earth, and our work had to be suspended until it melted off. We remained there until we finished the road. By this time we knew just what all this meant, and we were marched back to our quarters to await another order.

Researcher's Note: No additional sketches by Mr.Patman appear in the Calhoun Times for the remaining months of 1910. In Hendersons "Roster of the Confederate Soldiers of Georgia," the following entry is found in Vol. 6, page 623:

"Patman, Richard F. -- Private in Co.F,Inf.Battn.,Smiths Legion, Ga Vols.,May 6, 1862. Transferred to Co. D, 65th Regt.,Ga. Inf., Mar. 1863. Appointed 1st Sergeant. Surrendered at Greensboro, N.C., Apr.26, 1865. Paroled there May 1, 1865. Parole record shows his rank as 1st Sergeant. (Born in Ga.,Aug.27, 1839. Died at Calhoun, Ga.,Aug.23, 1920. Buried there in Chandler Cemetery.)"

His grave is apparently unmarked and probably adjacent to his wife's since the only Patman entry in the Gordon County Cemetery book is in Chandler Cemetery and is for "Patman, Catherine Gandis, wife of R.F., born 7 Aug 1839, died 17 Apr 1887." R.F. Patman is listed both as a Gordon County Confederate Pensioner(p.164) and as the recipient of a Cross of Honor from the UDC(p.240) in Pitts' "History of Gordon County Georgia."


Source: Jerry Holmes

The sidebar image is a standard issue "State Seal" button worn by Confederate Soldiers from the State of Georgia (larger than full-scale). ECHOS OF GLORY: ARMS & EQUIPMENT OF THE CONFEDERACY Time life Books, 1991, pp. 96.

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Published on February 13, 1998. Changes last made on February 10, 2002.

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