The Fight For Tennessee: July 1863 to January 1864

Gettysburg Address

What was life for men in the army camps like?

One of our best anecdotes from the winter of 1864 revolves around snowball fights.

In the camps of the Army of Northern Virginia, the soldiers had started a practice of snowball fights, but the one of January 4, 1864, surpassed all earlier endeavors. J. E. B. Stuart and General Heros von Borcke were at their winter quarters that day, watching as hundreds of the men led by General Lafayette McLaws battled with a similar number of General John Bell Hood’s division. Stuart and Borcke tried to stay out of it, but the snowball fight swirled around their building, and before long the two cavalrymen were outside, still acting as observers rather than participants. One man had a broken leg; another lost an eye; and there were numerous smaller injuries, but Borcke concluded that the episode “gave ample proof of the excellent spirits of our troops, who, in the wet, wintry weather … were ever ready for any sort of sport or fun that offered itself.”


This is a web preview of the "The Handy Civil War Book" app. Many features only work on your mobile device. If you like what you see, we hope you will consider buying. Get the App