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Remembered Today:

G.W. Deaths due to pranks, horseplay, etc.

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I came across the following tragic incident from the American Civil War while doing research at our National Archives. I am now curious--during your Great War research/reading, has anyone come across any deaths which were attributable to pranks, horseplay, "joking around," etc.

While on the march in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia in late May 1864, the men of the 34th Massachusetts Infantry stopped to rest in Strasburg. Some of the men of Co. H were resting in a building when the company commissary, Corpl. Albert Blanchard, began circling the room placing rations of coffee beans and sugar before each man. When his good friend and tentmate, Pvt. George Hubbard (they shared the same hometown and enlisted a day apart in 1862) didn't pick up his rations right away, Blanchard remarked in jest, "If you don't want them, I will take them." Hubbard jokingly responded by picking up his empty rifle and pointing it at his friend, stating,"Take my coffee, and I'll shoot you." Hubbard then pulled the trigger and to his astonishment, the gun discharged, the round striking Blanchard just under the eye and entering his head. Another soldier had come into the room after being relieved from picket duty and had leaned his loaded gun against the wall next to Hubbard's empty one. Hubbard picked up this loaded rifle by mistake, thinking it was his empty gun. Blanchard died within 5 minutes or so. He was quickly buried under a roadside apple tree, and the march continued.

(photo: Cpl. Albert O. Blanchard)



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  • 11 years later...

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