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140 Fauna Colonel Thomas W. Higginson, 1st South Carolina [African American] Volunteers, off Cape Fear, North Carolina, on Nov. 23, 1862: “Now the soldier boys are in ecstacies at a school of porpoises & run lumbering from one side of the deck to the other to watch them.”7 Private George A. Remley, 22nd Iowa Volunteers, in a letter to his brother from Brashear City, Louisiana, on Sept. 19, 1863: “Porpoises are frequently seen plunging about in the bayou. They seem to be huge monsters ten or twelve feet long and five or six feet wide and are perfectly­harmless.”8 Private John Westervelt, 1st New York Volunteer Engineer Corps, on board the steamer Tappahannock off the coast of Florida on Feb. 26, 1864: “This was the 26th and at noon we made land which proved to be Fernandina. Thousands of porpoises greeted us here and sported around the vessel for miles.”9 John Hay, assistant secretary to President Lincoln, near Savannah, Georgia, on April 24, 1863: “We got away from Fort Pulaski at 5 oclock this morning. We skirted along within sight of land, among porpoises & Pelicans which were equally inaccessible till 3 P.M. when we entered the harbour of Fernandina.”10 • Whale baleen plates were used to make hoops in women’s fashionable skirts of the day. • Sperm candle—“A candle made from whale spermaceti.”11 F i s h More than nine hundred species of fish inhabit the various freshwater habitats of North America. Almost every stream, bayou, river, and lake harbors fish of some kind. The great diversity of species was generally unknown to the common person of the Civil War period, as the many varieties of obscure minnows, darters, chubs, and madtoms were seldom recognized. The situation is the same for the hundreds of types of fishes, large and small, associated with brackish and marine environments. Within the Civil War literature one thing is clear: fish were highly regarded as a source of food.   Fish 141 Soldiers sought fish at every opportunity across the broad landscape of the conflict. Also, the recreational value of fishing was important to many who suffered the boredom of army life. Methods of acquiring fish varied with the situation and creativity of the fishermen. John S. Jackman, 9th Kentucky Infantry, in Jackson, Mississippi, on June 3, 1863: “The boys caught a great many fish out of the lake and [Pearl] river. One way of catching them was rather novel: Two men would go into the lake, when the water was not very deep, and hold a blanket spread out, down close to the water, then others would commence lashing the water about, making it muddy, and the fish would commence skipping above the surface of the lake, and fall on the blanket, thus being caught by hundreds .”1 Major General Lafayette McLaws, CSA, in a letter to his wife from Fredericksburg , Virginia, on April 12, 1863: “The enemy are very quiet, and civil, our men not only fish in the river but seine it, catching hundreds of fish. The enemy fish with poles but have not ventured to seine as yet.”2 Major James A. Connolly, 123rd Illinois Infantry, Murfreesboro, Tennessee , writing to his wife on June 9, 1863, of a raid on a Confederate cavalry camp: “They were encamped on the bank of a stream, and when we drove in their pickets some of their men were in the stream seining and had caught a fine lot of fish . . . the fishermen leaving their fish floundering on the bank.”3 Assistant Surgeon Dr. Daniel M. Holt, 121st New York, at winter quarters on the Hazel River, Virginia, in a letter to his wife on Feb. 7, 1864: “The weather is balmy and springlike. Our boys go out, dig worms, and go to the river often returning with a string of nice fish.—I went one day, but as usual, got nothing. Fish do not like my bait any better than the men like my pills. Who can blame them?”4 Lieutenant John Q. A. Campbell, 5th Iowa Infantry, near Helena, Arkansas , on March 18, 1863: “The ‘boys’ are making traps to catch fish in the bayous. They have already caught some fine fish. The river is still ­rising.”5 142 Fauna Corporal Robert A. Moore, 17th Mississippi Regiment, in Fredericksburg , Virginia, on May 13, 1863: “Have been seining in the Rhappahannock to-day. Have caught but few. The river is lined with fishermen. Shad, herring & perch are most abundant.”6 Lieutenant Robert...


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