They Play The Rogue's March For You
Probably the most humiliating and embarrassing military events during Civil War days was to be drummed out of the camp with ceremony. The Rogue's March is most commonly played for those who would return from the battlefield long before their regimental comrades would. Conveniently disappearing from the field of honor, while your friends and officers were still in the act of driving their misguided brethren from the area. Depending on the offense of the accused however, it was not necessarily limited to this alone.
One of the many complaints of the Civil War soldier was that the Regimental Sutler made more frequent stops at camp than the Paymaster did. It was common place that the soldier sometimes went six or even nine months in between pay periods.
In November 1862, Charley Prentiss of the 19th Michigan Infantry wrote home to his wife asking her to send him some money. Already knowing that the people back home were in worse shape than those in the field, he even went as far as suggesting to her to borrow some for both of them. He stated to her that even the officers are writing home to family for financial support. Charley went one step further and request his wife send the loan to him in Confederate Currency in one dollar bills as that no one in the state of Kentucky would accept the Yankee Money.
A sergeant in Company F compensated his own poverty by making his own. Some called it Kalamazoo Railroad Money. He wound up paying a citizen who could not read, nor write, for a hog. Two dollars was asked for, on which the sergeant handed him a five-dollar bill and got three dollars of legal tender back as change.
The regiment found him out and denounced him as a villain and unfit to associate with honest men. The command was called to dress parade, while this man marched before all his comrades having the Rogue's March played special for him, then placed in the guard house to do manual labor for one month and to live upon bread and water for half of it.
©Dan Moran - 2001