Faro, Monte, Chuck-a-luck, High ‘n Low. Such were the favored gambling games among Civil War soldiers in camp. Chess was also a favorite, as it has been for soldiers through the ages. As the war dragged on and prayer meetings and preaching became more common on both sides, in Rebel units like the 13th dice and cards were no longer so evident.
Indeed, it was said that Rebs going into battle would take care to leave their gambling items with the baggage. They didn’t want their religious kin to learn that heathen dice and cards were found on their bodies should they be killed in the action.
As historian James M. McPherson said in Religion and The American Civil War:
“Religion was central to the meaning of the Civil War, as the generation that experienced the war tried to understand it.”
More on that in a subsequent post.