America's  favorite  counterfeit hero leads an army of bummers in Union Blue from Atlanta to  the  sea  in  an outrageous adventure that leaves   the   Southland  howling,  the   Union saved,  and   the   reader   longing  for  more. 

Bumming the
Glory Road

An appendix of thirty-three informational, historical
and  biographical  notes  completes  the  novel.

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                                                      Bumming the Glory Road or David M. Smeltz)


Bumming the Glory Road

The   last   tragic  year   of   the   Civil   War
comes to life in the notorious memoirs of America’s  favorite scoundrel. Fueled with brandy and inspired by vengeance, ancient General  Sidney  Sawyer  spins  his  tale  of treachery,  lust,   love,   hate, and  revenge. Atlanta burns, Georgia howls, and Carolina is   crushed  under  the   muddy   boots  of  Gen. Sherman’s  bummers.  From the blood-  soaked  slopes  of  Kennesaw  Mt.  through the   horrors  of  Andersonville  Prison,  our   counterfeit  hero  battles  buxom  Rebel spies peg-leg  traitors,  and  future  presidents,  as Sherman’s  rowdies  go  bumming  along  the                   Glory Road!

Excerpts from

Bumming the Glory Road:

Sawyer displays uncharacteristic valor at Kennesaw Mt.

The assault was falling apart. We were past the last of the obstacles and the Rebel works were there, right there– not twenty paces ahead, but the men were dropping to their bellies between the bodies of their slain comrades and couldn’t be moved. They were spent, exhausted and sickened by the slaughter. They needed a hero, a champion and I was Johnny-on-the-spot.

But then I looked about with fresh eyes and began to wonder what the deuce I was doing on thisspot. This wasn’t the spot for Colonel Sidney. The dead lay thick around, men screamed, steel and lead flew past my ears with whizzes and hisses, and the enemy lined the trench, faces black with soot, teeth bared in hate, ramrods slamming home fresh loads.

The brutes were only a stone’s throw away and now they were throwing stones. Big jagged chunks of heavy rock pelted into our ranks. They must have had bushels of them at the ready and they flew into us like shrapnel bruising bodies and bloodying heads.

Fight fair you Confederate swine!” I bellowed.

A heavy rock thumped my crotch a lucky inch from my courting tackle. I gave another bellow, but the pain cleared my head wonderfully. What the hell was I doing here? I was staff, for the love of God. My place in battle was behind the commanding general’s horse a half mile behind the firing line. And then a hand grenade arched over my head with its wicked fuse guttering smoke and sparks. My punished groin didn’t prevent me from bounding ahead and I was balanced on the lip of the Rebel trench beside Danny McCook when it exploded with a crack too far behind to wound.   

The trench was swarming with Confederates, the wounded screaming, the dead trampled underfoot, the rest pounding slugs down the barrels of their muskets or crouching, bayonets at the ready, for the expected avalanche of avenging blue coats into their ditch.

Forward 3rd Brigade!” McCook bellowed in his parade-ground voice.

He pointed his saber down at the cowering Confederates and shouted, “Surrender you damned traitors!”

And they might have surrendered if a minié ball hadn’t crashed through his breast and dropped him to his knees.

Not five yards away Oscar Harmon, the 3rd’s second in command waved his hat, fired his pistol into the belly of a Rebel officer and took command of the Brigade.

"Forward!” he cried.

It was the shortest command in the history of war. A Rebel slug found his heart and he fell like a wet rag.

“We must save the colonel! Come, Sidney, Come!” It was Poe, the tubby mama’s boy. Now he was giving meorders? He pulled me by the sleeve to where McCook had collapsed beside the trench. Pink drool spitted from his lips and bubbled from his nose with each breath.

I felt as if I was waking up from an exciting dream into a terrible nightmare. “He can’t be saved you silly brat!” I thundered. “He’s lung-shot– dead where he squats.”

From the lip of the trench a half dozen Rebels popped up close enough to touch, but before they could do us mischief a swarm of Henry rifle fire from down the slope caught one of the Johnnies full in the face and the rest ducked back below the edge.

"Grab him! Pull him! We must save him!” Poe squeaked as he bent to hoist up McCook by the collar.

A single Rebel corporal sprang over the edge of the trench and lunged at Poe with his bayonet. Abandoning the instincts of a lifetime I stuck out my left hand and caught the tip of the steel like a fielder in base-ball. It went straight through my paw yanking the blade aside and the fat little hero was saved. What had gotten into me? I found out later just what had gotten into me.

The corporal howled, “Yer dead mutton, ye Yankee bastard!” yanked the bayonet from my hand and came at me in another lunge that I couldn’t dodge.

He gave a hysterical Rebel yell, made to gut me like a carp, and gave a stupid look of surprise when Poe’s saber lanced through his neck.

It was a scene I’ll never forget– Poe and I were the only two creatures standing on the battlefield. Union dead covered the slope and draped the sheep racks. Confederate dead rimmed the trench. Every other living soul was in a ditch or digging one as fast as fingernails and bayonet could scoop the red soil. Lieutenant Poe, the mama’s brat, stood with one hand gripping the collar of his fallen commander and the other with bloody blade impaled through the neck of the foe. His eyes were wild, face filthy with black powder burn and spattered gore. His uniform was out at the knees, the back seam of his jacket torn from shoulders to tail. Lead peppered the rim of the trench, keeping the Rebels down and us alive. Little Colgate Poe was a hero, a god damned hero, and looked it!


Ancient General Sawyer remembers the horrors of Andersonville-

It is impossible for any sane man to describe Andersonville Prison, but the Confederate government and every swine connected with it are damned in time and eternity for what they allowed to happen– damnation, not for what they allowed– but for what they ordered to happen at Camp Sumter in the third year of our American Civil War.

Andersonville was fifty years ago and I’ve spent most of it with a bottle at my elbow against the memories. No thanks to the CSA, I’m still on the green side of the sod, but most of the Confederate brass are dead now, and if there is any justice they are all gnashing their teeth in hell. Davis should be camping in Satan’s pit, bunking with Stevens, his consumptive troll of a vice-president, but the cruelest fires must be reserved for that Swiss monster, Henry Wirz. Wirz was the only Southern criminal we Yankees tried and hung after the War. We should have hung a hundred others and I would have paid money to pull the drop lever. With every passing year more old Rebels die, and if they had given Andersonville so much as a wink and a nod, Satan stands beside their deathbeds to welcome them to justice.

         No human beings have ever done anything to other human beings worse than what the Confederates did to Union prisoners at Andersonville. They built a pine stockade around a twenty-five acre field. It was a twenty-five acre coffin. There were no barracks. There wasn’t a shack. There wasn’t a tree. The naked field was split by a great sewer. The Confederate States of America herded 45,000 men behind the pine walls and simply let them die. History is a lamentable register of crime that goes back to brother Cain’s first outrage, but there is level of atrocity below which mankind cannot sink.

And don’t whine about Yankee prisoner camps. Yes, the Johnnies died like flies at Elmira, and Camp Douglas, and Point Lookout, but we didn’t murder them as a policy. And soldiers died like flies in their own camps, both sides, mostly of the diarrhea. More men rotted and died in their own bivouacs than in battle. And Rebel prisoners had barracks with walls and roofs, and they had rations of bread and pork, and they had water that wasn’t fetched from their own sewer. They could write letters, they could cut their hair, they could play at baseball, they could wash their clothes, they had shade, they had blankets, they had spoons, they had hope. A Confederate taken by the Union was still a human being biding in a civilized situation. 

When I was a boy, Brother Tom and I went out to catch frogs. We put them in a tub, filled it with a few inches of water and figured we gave them a snug new home. Then we forgot about them. When Aunt Polly sent us to fetch her tub we found the frogs scattered on the bottom, starved, and dead, and dried to shrivels. The tub stunk. That is how at Camp Sumter, just across the tracks from the ugly Georgia town of Andersonville, Georgia, Jefferson Davis murdered 13,000 men.

For the first four nights I slept in the mud under the open sky. I spent hours each day queued up on Broadway, the camp’s only lane, in an endless line for rations. The rest of the camp was a warren of paths between she-bangs made of scraps of shirts perched on sticks, or a blanket pitched against the rain. It had been bone dry throughout the raid but now thunderstorms rolled over Georgia, one on the heels of the other. The camp was a quagmire. If prosperity blessed a prisoner with a cadre of partners, two blankets were stitched together to form a proper tent. I had no sticks, nor blanket, nor cadre, nor partners. I slept alone, with my hip-bone in a hollow scooped out of the mud. My ration was a square of ‘cornbread’ made of ground cob, a tear of flesh ripped from the under-jaw of a hog, and a handful of raw beans. I kept the beans in my breast pocket to suck on at night.

I spent half of the afternoon waiting in turn to wade through the sewage of Stockade Creek to fill my water bottle. The only clear water was where it was deepest near the stockade at the deadline. The prisoners reached as near to it as they dared, some tied cups to the end of sticks. The deadline ran straight through the creek, and guards in squat towers that we called pigeon roosts took delight in slaughtering any prisoner who got within arm’s length of it.

By my fourth night I had the Sumter shits and began squirting out my life in the long trench the prisoners called the sink. Grayback fleas swarmed in the seams of my uniform and made nights a torment. Nits teemed in my scalp. Confederate rations sickened more than nourished. I was beginning to die a slow death.