The Adventures of Private Miles O'Reilly

We must interest ourselves, however distasteful the task, in regenerating the dismal swamp of local politics. We must drain the fetid marsh now swarming with unclean things, refence the ancient boundaries of popular rights, and perform for the toads, reptiles, and other vermin which coil and swelter in those hot-beds of corruption—our local party organizations—another miracle of like character with that for which St. Patrick claims the gratitude of Ireland.


He judged men by himself. That was the only standard of measure they had to go by; and he knew, after much self-study, that no men living were actuated by pure, patriotic, or disinterested motives. These terms were words, mere words and nothing more. He himself had once joined in raising the cry: "Honest men against cheats." By this he had convinced the cheats that it would be cheaper to "let him in" than to keep him out—and that was all he wanted. His own experience told him that there were no honest men in public life—no honest motives. These things he knew, and would believe nothing to the contrary.

Once again have I bobbed for treasures in the venerable Vault at Pfaff's, and have come up with a true gem between my teeth. If you're at all a fan of military humor, then I recommend this work by Charles G. Halpine. While it may not have the unmatched genius of No Time for Sergeants [to which one cannot refer without invoking the indelible imagery of the saluting toilet seats], it is notable for having been written by an officer in the Union Army during the Civil War.

My transcription of the 1864 edition primarily came from this scan, which was mostly quite clear and the OCR mostly clean. I also used this scan as a backup. While I have not intentionally added or omitted a single word in the body of work itself, I have omitted references to page numbers in the table of contents, as well as the superfluous illustrations and their captions.

So here it is: the master HTML version, the home-brew Kindle version, and the actual Amazon publication.

As Gen. Halleck says, "For my own part I'll take some of that whiskey—just enough to drown a mosquito."

February 17, 2021

ffred's nearly-forgotten treasures