GDG- Dead soldiers and looting

Jack Lawrence jlawrence at
Wed Jan 11 21:19:11 CST 2012

It was not (and is not) that antiseptic.After Mine Run, Confederates who 
were wearing articles of "looted" Union clothing (The Confederates ere ill 
equipped and not getting re-equipped. So they looted the bodies of all dead 
soldiers, including their own, for needed items) were shot out of hand. 

The Hard Hand of War.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Matt Diestel" <agatematt at>
To: "GDG" <gettysburg at>
Sent: Wednesday, January 11, 2012 8:20 PM
Subject: Re: GDG- Dead soldiers and looting

> Esteemed GDG Member Contributes:
>> Esteemed GDG Member David Ward Contributes:
>> From what I understand, it was common practice for soldiers to take what
>> they needed from the dead. To some extent, the practice is still going 
>> on.
>> But in this day and age, it probably limited to ammunition. Clothing and
>> everything else is in good supply with our modern military.
>>  Dave Ward
>>     Traditionally --- and continuing up until today --- there are two
> types of, for want of a better word, "looting" of the fallen enemy.
>     The first is the one of military necessity --- the searching of bodies
> for documents  (wallets, letters, photos and, of course, official 
> documents
> such as orders, maps etc.) -- along with anything that could loosely be
> surmised as of military value..
>   The second is the taking of personal items off a dead body for souvenir
> or necessary purposes which certainly can roam through an almost endless
> range of items large and small that might catch a soldier's interest and
> fancy. Indeed, here and there a fallen soldier's family --- North and 
> South
> --- in the 1880s and 1890s to receive a packet in the mail from a former
> enemy containing items taken off the family members dead body so many 
> years
> before.
>    Also, it was a common practice that --- out of necessity --- corpses be
> "looted" by the opposing forces for items of clothing such as brogans,
> boots and, certainly in winter, great coats etc.
>    To move away from the Civil War to the Revolution for a moment, there
> were many personal references of the looting of the Loyalists killed at
> King's Mountain, for example (Along with American soldiers urinating on 
> the
> body of the fallen British commander.)
>     Part of the looting --- past and present --- may simply be the work of
> opportunists, but another factor may simply be that death is so common 
> that
> the needs of the living had to be served even if the quartermaster was the
> bodies of the enemy.
>                  With regards,
>                        Chet
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