Near Petersburg, Virginia, in the frosty pre-dawn hours of March 25,
1865, a Union sentry in front of Fort Stedman could hear the faint
rustle of dry cornstalks quite clearly. ‘I say, Johnny,’ he shouted as
he brought his weapon to full cock, ‘what are you doing in that corn?’
Sharpshooters might rule the daylight hours, but at night the opposing
pickets, separated by less than 500 feet, often became quite chummy.
‘All right, Yank, I am just gathering me a little corn to parch,’ came the answer.
‘All right Johnny, I won’t shoot.’
A bit later the Federal asked, ‘I say, Johnny, isn’t it almost daylight? I think it is time they were relieving us.’
‘Keep cool, Yank; you’ll be relieved in a few minutes.’