Almost every mess had at least one boy who could strum a guitar or banjo, or play a fiddle. Music echoed about the camps every night, and if most of it was not very good, still it lifted the hearts of the listeners. A few regiments even fielded small bands to entertain, often augmented by groups of amateur actors and glee clubs. One Kentucky Confederate brigade even had its own debating society. Hundreds of songs enjoyed popularity North and South, but one outshone them all, signifying the longing of the boys to return to their "Home, Sweet Home."
The rest of the time they took their fun where they could find it. In winter, a fresh snowfall was sure to produce snowball battles, some of epic proportions, like the one in the Army of Tennessee in March 1864, when whole divisions battled each other, taking prisoners and inflicting not a few wounds, all in the name of fun. They put on races and bet their meager pay on anything that would move, from cockroaches dropped onto heated plates, to men riding razorback hogs, or others pushing comrades seated in wheelbarrows. They played baseball - already an old game by the time of the war - used cannon balls for bowling at ten-pins, and even dabbled in a rude variant of cricket. They whittled sticks, carved pipes from soapstone, mended their garments, stared at the evening skies and daydreamed, and most of all just sat around the coffee boiler and talked, fighting their old battles over and over again, and boasting of what they would do when they got their next crack at Reb or Yank

Yanky Doodle
Jonny boy is marching home

Others pushing comrades seated in wheelbarrows


Cleaning their guns