Shooters Before Tooters

Daniel Harvey “D.H.” Hill

By Stephen Davis and Bill Hendrick

Editor’s note: Steve Davis and Bill Hendrick have written The Atlanta Daily Intelligencer Covers the Civil War, under contract with the University of Tennessee Press. Bill ranges widely among Civil War newspapers, and found the following article in the Winston-Salem (NC) Western Sentinel of April 3, 1863. Steve has written up the story for our blog.

Back when I was at Emory in Dr. Bell Wiley’s Civil War course I remember how he told us that during the war, Gen. Harvey Hill denied a bugler’s request for furlough by writing, “Shooters before Tooters.” (When Bell got excited, he’d jingle the coins in his pants pockets.)

Since then, I’ve found General Hill’s quip in Wiley and Milhollen’s Embattled Confederates (1964) but without attribution. I don’t see it at all in Hal Bridges’ Lee’s Maverick General (1961).

That’s why Bill’s discovery of this article is so huge. Here it is, in full:

NOT BAD.—Gen. D.  H. Hill, now in command of our forces in Eastern North Carolina, must, according to “Long Grabs,” a correspondent of the Fayetteville Observer, be something of a wag as well as a soldier. That writer says:

“The shrewd officer or cute old soldier who tries to come the ‘dodge’ over him generally gets out second best. The guilty and innocent sometimes share alike his surplus satire and wrath and pious, simple minded officials on petty courts martial are not unfrequently shocked at the summary manner in which he knocks all their carefully arranged proceedings into a cocked hat. Just before Gen. Hill left the army in Virginia, Dan _____, chief musician in Iverson’s Brigade, sent up a furlough for approval.

The aforesaid Dan had devoted his time almost exclusively to music at Chapel Hill, and along with _____, carried on an organized Band for several sessions, so that when Dan went into the army his appropriate sphere was music. Well, Dan thought as he had been so long inspiring his countrymen with the lays of martial music that he might claim a furlough with the rest, although he had killed no yankee. Imagine his chagrin when his furlough was returned, endorsed: ‘Respectfully disapproved. Shooters before tooters. D. H. Hill, Maj. Gen. Com’dg.’”

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