A "Bummer" in the Army.
The following description of a character in the army is from a correspondent of the New York Herald:
I have used the word "bummer" in my accounts, and it has been suggested that many of your readers do not know the meaning of the term. It has now a recognized position in the army lexicon. Any man who has seen the object that it applies to, will acknowledge that it was admirably selected. — Fancy a ragged man, blackened by the smokes of many a pine knot fire, mounted on a scrawny mule without a saddle, with a gun, a knapsack, a butcher knife, and a plug hat, stealing his way through the pine forests, far out on the flanks of a column, keen on the scent of rebels, or bacon, or silver spoons, or corn, or anything valuable, and you have him in you mind. Think how you would admire him if you were a lone woman with a family of small children far from help, when he blandly inquired where you kept your valuables. Think you how you would smile when he pried open your chests with his bayonet, or knocked to pieces your tables, pianos and chairs, tare your bed-clothing in three inch strips, and scattered the strips about the yard.
The "bummers" say it takes too much time to use keys. Color is no protection from these rough-riders. They go through a negro cabin in search of diamonds and gold watches with just as much freedom and vivacity as they "loot" the dwelling of a wealthy planter. They appear to be possessed of a spirit of "pure cussedness." One incident of many will Illustrate. "A bummer" stepped into a house and inquired for sorghum. The lady of the house presented a jug, which he said was too heavy, so he merely filled his canteen. Then taking a huge wad of tobacco from his mouth, he thrust it into the jug. — The lady inquired, in wonder, why he spoiled that which he did not want. "Oh, some feller'll come along and taste that sorghum, think you've poisoned him; then he'll burn your damned old house." There are hundreds of these mounted men with the column, and they go every where. Some of them are loaded down with silver ware, gold coin and other valuables. I hazard nothing in saying that three-fifths (in value) of the personal property of the counties we have passed through is in Sherman's army to-day.