Valuable service of [negroe] Joe

But I cannot close my catalogue of household things without mentioning more particularly “Joe,” to whom reference has been made. He was sent me by Heaven, I have no doubt. I am telling the truth. Just as war began, and while I was organizing the Virginia Light Guard, in my office, in the law building, comer Twelfth and Franklin streets, I saw that I must get a man-servant to take to the field. Passing down Bank street one morning, I met a tall, straight, polite-looking mulatto man, who walked with a quick step, and I inquired if he was for hire. He said no, but for sale. The price was $700. I at once bought him in, and in the four years alone in which he was with me, from Bethel to Appomattox, he was worth $7,000 to me. Joe used to tell me he was brought up by his “old missus” in the home with a “silver spoon” in his mouth, and that he was taught to do everything. He was waiter, gardener, butler, washer, and ironer, etc., etc. I found he told me the truth. He could do anything, and do it all well. He was blessed with an excellent spirit, and was trusted by every man and officer in the battalion. When going into battle he took charge of all our watches and jewelry, and never was anything missing. He washed for many of the officers, attended to his ambulance horse, and mine, and arose at daybreak. He was one of the cleanest and most honest cooks, and what was most gratifying, he loved me better than anybody in this world. I advised him soon after the war began to get married. Take notice, my young friends, I believe in everybody of any account getting married; but be certain you don’t marry in haste and repent at leisure. Joe was no soldier. He knew his business. When we went into Maryland and Pennsylvania I became very uneasy lest he should make a break for liberty. I kept my eye on him. To lose him would be to lose my right hand. On the second day’s fight at Gettysburg I saw Joe coming across the field at full speed. I never saw him in such fright, and he said to me, out of breath: “Marse William, I thought dey had me!” “Who?” I asked. “Dem Yankees,” pointing to the thousands of Federal prisoners on their way to Libby Prison. I was greatly relieved. I had no more fear of Joe’s loyalty.

Southern Historical Society Papers.
Vol. XXIII. Richmond, Va., January-December. 1895.
How The Southern Soldiers Kept House During The War.

[From the Richmond (Va.) Dispatch, February 9, 1896.]
The Experience of Dr. W. W. Parker, Major of Artillery, Confederate States Army.

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