An Explosive Bench

From Stories, Anecdotes and Humor from the Civil War

In a tent in the camp of the 11th Indiana Battery near Murfreesborough, in the absence of chairs, a rude bench had been constructed by placing a board upon cross-legs. The board was soon found too limber to bear up the crowd which daily enjoyed its comforts, and was, in consequence, strengthened by laying another thick plank over it.

A roguish sergeant one day removed this top plank, bored a number of auger-holes nearly through the bottom board, filled them with powder, laid a train from one to another, prepared his fuse, and then replaced the plank.

Shortly after, the bench, as usual, was filled with his unsuspecting comrades. He reached down and touched the fuse with his lighted cigar. Of course, there was an explosion which hoisted the party as would a petard, upsetting the stove and tea-furniture, knocking down the tent and enveloping all in smoke and dire confusion.