Posted 7-20-01
Great Sutler Heist


There had been a number of Hawkin's 9th New York Zouaves intermingled with soldiers from various regiments throughout the 9th Army Corps alongside a road where a bread wagon had been noticed parked along side, a baker selling loaves of bread to the soldiers. Some of these soldiers had been paid and were willing to pay the money for the bread while other's being broke were denied the chance to eat. Hunger normally wins out in a situation such as this, and before you know it, it simply takes one Zouave to pull the linch-pin on one of the wagon wheels and well...you have a wagon full of bread freely dumped all over the road. The bread then became public domain and with many hungry soldiers standing about, it became a free-for-all stuffing their shirts and pockets with the loaves.

Over the brow of the hill the soldiers noticed a horse drawn carriage coming, looked and saw Major General Ambrose Burnside in carriage with President Abraham Lincoln. Burnside's began shouting at the soldiers to stop plundering the wagon, and how could soldiers of his army corps disobey order and dishonor themselves. All of these soldiers taking notice to the wagon once the yelling began, scattered to the four winds in an attempt to not get caught, or the uniforms and regiment numbers on their hats and jackets be recognized, should the wrath of God come down on them.

The Zouaves stood fast alongside the wagon and as General Burnsides and the president rode up, they came to a smart military salute...bread falling to the ground from beneath their own jackets.

General Burnsides then charged the Zouaves to go after the culprits that ransacked the wagon and have them arrested for disobeying orders. Gladly, they ran after the soldiers capturing many and returning them to the wagon, which seated both Major General Burnsides and President Lincoln.

Burnsides began royally chewing these soldiers out cursing them for their dishonor and then made examples of the 9th New York telling these scoundrels that these were honorable, and good soldiers. As President Lincoln silently looked on not saying a word, Burnside's then charged the Zouaves to take these culprits to the Provost Marshall by his command and have them arrested. This the Zouaves did and when reporting to the Provost Marshall they had been asked what these soldiers were being charged with? The Zouaves simply shrugged their shoulders and said, We believe General Burnside's wants them charged with straggling.

©Dan Moran - 2001