Don’t be caught dead with playing cards.

“A few things I will never forget while in the service, at one time not engaged in battle, quite a number of the Boys was playing cards, having what they term a good time. All of a sudden we heard firing off to the right and the boom of cannon off to the left and officers riding back and forth, and we was soon in line and marching to the firing line where we hear we would have to face death. So the Boys began to throw away their cards. No one wanted to be killed with a deck of cards in his pocket. But I never saw a Testament thrown away during a battle.”

– Personal recollection of (1845-1935), Thomas Jefferson Williams120th Indiana, Company D.

James I Robertson, Jr., writes, “The one development that could bring an abrupt halt to gambling was the call to battle. Men would promptly throw away cards, dice, and other gambling instruments so that, if wounded or killed, no ‘passports to sin’ would be found in their persons. Avid gamblers could then be seen intently reading their Bibles as they awaited the command to form ranks. Such repentance was generally short-lived. The more ardent gamblers who survived the battle would rush frantically into woods and fields in search of discarded items.”

Soldiers Blue and Gray, Robertson: p. 95.

Five men sit at a table playing cards and betting. Ships sail by in the background.

First prisoner: “I’ve lost twice’s on that damnd old ace.”

Dealer: “Hurry up and make your bets.”

Third prisoner: “How many times has the jack won.”

Fourth prisoner: “I’ll wait and see how the cards runs.”

Civil War Treasures from the New-York Historical Society,
http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/ndlpcoop/nhihtml/cwnyhshome.html

Civil War Treasures from the New-York Historical Society,
http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/ndlpcoop/nhihtml/cwnyhshome.html

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