February 25, 1863 Issue of the WEEKLY STANDARD (Raleigh, North Carolina)
   Transcribed and Posted by Myrtle Bridges February 14, 2003

"Long Grabs," in a letter to the Fayetteville Observer, from the army of the Rappahannock, says:
"The first idea that occurs to a man of sense, on beholding a great army in the exercise of all its 
operations in active service, is its enormous expense. Thousands of officers and hundreds of thousands 
of soldiers must be fed and clothed and provided with medical aid, tents, cooking utensils, axes, spades, 
desks, paper, pens, arms, equipment, ammunition, drums, flags, wagons, horses, mules, forage, saddles, 
halters, harness, cannon, caissons and ambulances, all, must be paid for by the government, at high prices. 
Then all property destroyed or appropriated by the army; freight on stores and supplies; transportation for 
troops, and for the sick and discharged; rent of buildings for hospitals, ranging in Richmond from $1,500 
to $3,000 a year, for each warehouse or building used; bounties, hospital attendants, stores, medicines 
and liquors; together with exorbitant prices, swindling, forging, speculating and extravagances, foot up 
an amount truly astounding. It makes one think that the government pocket is full of holes through which 
the money is going out, and only one where it comes in, so that at a period not very remote, there may 
be "nary red" in the till! It is to be hoped that a rigid economy may be practiced in our affairs, although 
efficiency be somewhat impaired thereby

Tents are now more numerous and to each one is a stick and dirt chimney, making it really comfortable. The 
only way known or practiced at the first of the war to have a fire in a tent was by means of a stove, but 
the chimney is an infinite improvement. I hardly think it necessary to supply infantry with overcoats; a 
thick stout blanket is much more valuable. On the march, the soldier cannot carry his overcoat and other 
necessary equipments, and has often to throw his overcoat away. In battle, he can seldom use his overcoat, 
and consequently it gets lost. While in camp, and by good fires, he does not need it, and if on picket or 
on other duty, he can easily tie his blanket around him, if it is practicable to wear over garments, so 
that his blanket, which he is required to carry, will do on all occasions in place of an overcoat, as well 
as to sleep on. I think, both from experience and observation, that thick woolen cravats are an injury 
rather than a benefit to the soldier. The ordinary clothing can generally be so arranged as to afford 
sufficient protection to the neck, while a thick woolen wrapping causes the pores of the neck and throat 
to become open, rendering that sensitive and vital part of the body more liable to disease from exposure. 
It would be better to use the material for gloves, socks and underclothing, which with blankets and gloves 
are always most needed.

Among the many allusions to individual gallantry, I see but little mention of North Carolinians, who 
deserve such compliments to the full extent enjoyed by the troops of any other State, as the following 
incident will show. I have not yet heard of any feat of individual bravery and coolness more worthy of 
admiration or indicative of truer gallantry and chivalry. During the battle of Fredericksburg, Sergeant 
Covington, of the "Pee Dee Guards," 23rd N.C.T., and son of Dr. C. C. Covington, of Rockingham, became 
separated from the regiment and the rest of our army, when, being unarmed, he met with two armed Yankees, 
one of whom immediately leveled his gun at Covington, who ordered them to surrender, and called out 
"Come on, boys, here's two more prisoners." At the same instant he seized one Yankee's gun, who surrendered
without firing, and then pointing the gun at the other Yankee, he laid down his arms, and surrendered also. 
Covington quickly marched them off to the regiment, first loading them with valuables and provisions, the 
Yankees in the meantime being very inquisitive as to where were the "other boys." They had gone some distance 
before they understood the matter, when they manifested very bitter remorse and self-reproach at their own 
stupidity and cowardice. Sergt. Covington was highly complimented for his gallantry."

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