Cavalry Soldier Steals Beehive to Spread Honey on Hardtack

After four years of campaigns during the Civil War, man recalls stealing beehive and honey to go with hardtack.

| Good Old Days

During the Civil War, Grandfather served four full years in the 9th Illinois Cavalry with the troops in the West, as he called it, meaning along the Mississippi River and the Southwestern states. Somewhere in the campaigns, the men were running short of supplies and were tired of the hardtack they were issued. Grandfather spied some beehives near a farmhouse and thought how good honey would taste. Under cover of darkness, he grabbed a hive and away he ran. He was fleet of foot and was making good progress back to his companions when he tripped and fell.

Out came the bees, humming angrily. Grandfather was determined not to lose the honey, so he picked himself up and ran on, stinging bees and all. The boys had their honey and Grandfather had numerous bee stings.

Sometime after this, the cavalry had to dismount and advance on foot. Grandfather was delegated to remain in the rear to hold the reins of his comrade's horses. While doing this, a stray shot struck him in the knee, disabling him for some time. After recovering, he rejoined his company, serving until the end of the war. He was with the troops who marched down Pennsylvania Avenue to be reviewed by President Abraham Lincoln.

He often spoke of Mother Bickerdyke, the brave woman who did so much by her nursing to relieve the suffering of sick and injured men. He said she was like an angel to the troops.

As long as Grandfather lived, he retained the erect military bearing he acquired during the four years of the Civil War.

Gladys Meyer
Omaha, Nebraska

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