View at Cedar Creek
Sketch by Lossing, Oct. 1866

Several incidents seem to capture the senseless nature of life as an enlisted man. In the first, paranoia is the theme. During the night of May 9th, 1864, "a private of the 15th Artillery while asleep and probably dreaming suddenly sprung up and fired his musket in an instant the whole regiment was blazing away in every direction." (Page 50) Yet Thiselton and his comrades did not seem to view the enemy with fear and hatred, but only as fellow men caught up in the sweep of war.

This can be seen in the following incident which occurred in January of 1865. The 6th New York Heavy Artillery (NYHA) was drawn up in line of battle not 150 yards from the Confederates, but there was no firing exchanged, only conversation. Thiselton's regiment was greeted by one soldier calling out "I say boys, here is the Big Six come all the way from Cedar Creek," and more bantering followed. Thiselton writes "quite friendly relations were kept up, our men would go out half way between the lines and invite the rebs to dine with them. The result of this intercourse tended to swell the number of deserters and at last the rebel officers smelt a mice and would not allow their men to talk with us." (Page 85)

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