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Chapter 31 - Incident at Shiloh

It was a sultry night just before the battle of the wilderness at Shiloh in the Civil War. Camp fires were springing up in both armies. Both sides were getting set for the battle the next day. An occasional sentries challenge could be heard on both sides.

Northern soldiers began singing, "Tenting tonight" and "John Brown's body". This was soon countered by rebel forces singing "Dixie" and "Bonny Blue Flag". After a verse of "Bonnie Blue Flag" a character in the northern forces began making up a parody on "Bonnie Blue Flag". He hurriedly scribbled several copies and passed them on to the singers.

And now the rebels are singing:

We are a band of Brothers,
Native to the soil
Fighting for the property
We gained by honest toil
And when our rights were threatened
We came from near and far
To fight for the Bonny Blue Flag
That bears a single star
Hurrah, hurrah for Southern rights hurrah!
Hurrah for the Bonny Blue Flag
That bears a single star

The music stops and a northern voice hollers, "hey, Johnny Reb, listen to this," Silence in the rebel camp while the yanks give out their version:

They never picked no cotton,
They never hoed no corn
They never worked a single bit
Since the day that they were born
They tried to break the Union
(And England helped them too)
So down with the Bonny Blue Flag
That bears a single star
Hurrah, hurrah for equal rights hurrah
And down with the Bonny Blue Flag
That bears a single star.

Again silence, which was soon broken by a rebel voice saying, "Y'all know something boys? We ain't fightin' for no damn propitty on account we ain't got nary propitty so just why are we fightin'? Does any of us know?

Another voice, "let's go on over and see the damnyanks and see if we can find out more". Sounds of a sudden fight, a few shots and here comes a bunch of rebs bearing a torch and white flag.

The Yanks hold their breath-and their fire and one reb says to the yank looie, "We all heard what y'all was singin' and it shore makes sense. (He must have been a northern spy from South Dakota). "We ain't got a lick of propitty to fight for and we don't aim to fight for the big owners no more But we won't fight our own people."

"Well", says the Yank Looie, "If you take an oath you won't fight us we will send you north and you can work." This being agreeable to all, they all join in on the parody of Bonny Blue Flag.