Servant/slave cooking

On Jan. 24th, 1862, quartermaster clerk William H. Hill recorded in his diary that his mess was once again without a servant/slave to cook, serve and cleanup for them.

Regimental surgeon Dr. Albert Gallatin Anderson’s servant/slave John “quit cooking for us last night,” Hill wrote. John had been doing it for 24 cents a day since the mess’s servant/slave Phillip had run away on Jan. 6.

The mess, composed of Hill, who was a sergeant, and his superiors such as the quartermaster Captain James H. Turner, apparently had to shift for themselves like so many of the regiment’s privates were doing—learning, for the first time in many of their lives, what women habitually did for them at home.

The quartermaster mess’s reprieve finally came on Feb. 8th when the regiment’s Major Isham D. Harrison Jr., a slave owner, returned from a furlough home and joined them. “His boy cooks for us,” Hill recorded, though not mentioning Harrison’s servant/slave by name.

Phillip, apparently, was long gone.

About Dick Stanley

Retired Texas daily newspaperman
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