Billy Button – 1864
Billy B(utton) of ours was a queer character — a goodhearted, accommodating fellow slightly addicted to profanity when excited. After our return from furlough in the cotton press in New Orleans we had one day, for dinner, bean soup. I sat near Billy eating it, when he suddenly broke out, using all the then-known cuss words. When the storm lulled a little, I enquired what the matter was. He says, “What do you suppose I found in this d—d bean soup? I found a whole bean and I am going to the Captain to get that (put in swear words) cook shot and court martialled.” Pity for the cook, I suppose, induced him to change his mind, and put up, or down, the bean. On the retreat from Alexandria, Billy and I had both exchanged our worn out horses for mules. We were in the same set of twos. Billy’s mule had but one eye, but Billy used to brag a good deal of the speed and intelligence of that mule. One day we came to one of those numerous ditches they made for fences. In crossing, as it was miry, we went in single file, and would be obliged to gallop smartly to regain our places. Billy and I came together soon after crossing and I challenged him for a race. The field we were in was thick with stumps knee-high. It was nip & tuck to the quarter pole, when Billy’s mule swerved from the path, struck a stump, and went down, pinning Billy by one leg. Robbins came next and went down, [on] top of poor Billy and the mule, Billy all the time expressing himself. We got them all up, but Billy he could not stand. Lieut. Bond came back and says to Billy, “Any bones broke?” Billy sat rubbing his leg, the mule with his head turned looking down at Billy with the good eye. Billy said he “guessed they were not broke, but some of them were most J—-
h—-ly bent”. It finished the campaign for him.