Civil War humor from a 21st-century Zouave

Incorporating some fun into their humdrum camp life, five Union soldiers toss a comrade with a blanket. (Library of Congress)

Incorporating some fun into their humdrum camp life, five Union soldiers toss a comrade with a blanket. (Library of Congress)

Robert “Maynard” Kufrovich, a Civil War buff and re-enactor (114th Pennsylvania Infantry) who lives in Waldo County, chooses a theme and whips up funny jokes about it. He often spends his 30-minute lunch break creating his funny and succinct puns, which he emails to friends.

Recently, Maynard shared some jokes based on the Civil War. Pay close attention; his humor can be subtle!

Robert "Maynard" Kuprovich is an educator and a Civil War buff who delights in writing pithy jokes and sharing them with his friends. He recently penned some Civil War humor. (Brian Swartz Photo)

Robert “Maynard” Kuprovich is a Civil War buff who delights in writing pithy jokes and sharing them with his friends. He recently penned some Civil War humor. (Brian Swartz Photo)

• At the Battle of Gettysburg, the Confederate army was very optimistic, General Lee speaking.

• Regretting having his wife in camp, the sharpshooter wished that she would just stop sniping at him.

• In many Civil War camps, the bagel would sound, signaling mealtime.

• In one desperate attack on the Union camp, the Confederates stampeded their hogs, prompting assault pork.

• The overly talkative Union artillerist was politely asked to shut his muzzle.

• While aiming his Canon, the photographer got off many good shots.

• Eating the tough, dry squares of flour led to many soldiers suffering massive hard tacks.

• Private Wilson had Pickett duty in the midnight hour.

• During the balming raid, there were many successive salve-O’s.

• Wondering whether General Lee would encamp by the cliffs, the Union officers figured he was just bluffing.

• Barry became so intimidated by the cannon, that it took him awhile to come out of his shell. “I wonder if he had an explosive personality or was just a big bore,” Maynard says.

• Running short of ammunition during the battle, Private Dawes treated the whole regiment by buying them a few rounds.

• The movement of troops was as slow as Manassas in January.

• If Burnsides wore side burns, did Doubleday ever win the daily double?

• At the Civil War battle of the Apple Orchard, a few cores (corps) were completely wiped out.

• Every evening, the camp came alive with dancing after the sound of taps.
Maynard says, “This one was a definite shoe-in…and I’m not brogan about it, either.”

• Just before the election, soldiers would sit around their campfires discussing what was to come soon in waging a political campaign. “This one would probably evoke more camp pains than anything,” Maynard explains.

• When briefed about the firing range, Clem initially thought that he would learn how to use a wood stove with a cook top.

• Private Matters was using his bayonet to trim his beard, when the camp calm was abruptly interrupted by a night raid, after which he knew he had had a close shave with the enemy.

• One night, three Confederates seeking to trade with the Union pickets introduced themselves as Robert, Edward, and Lee. “This is from an actual incident that happened to me on my first re-enactment,” Maynard says.

Humorist Robert "Maynard" Kuprovich adopts a serious persona when he portrays a Zouave with the 114th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment. (Brian Swartz Photo)

Humorist Robert “Maynard” Kuprovich adopts a serious persona when he portrays a Zouave with the 114th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment. (Brian Swartz Photo)

• The Insect Civil War was won by Ulysses S. Ant.

• The forthright and honest artillery officer was given a promotion for being a straight shooter.

• The first time that Union troops were transported by rail to their training camp was a display of Yankee ingenuity. “Trust me, it rail-ly happened,” according to Maynard.

• Even before the comedian became an artillerist, he was very familiar with bombs and duds.

• When the Confederate captain was given the order to charge the battery, he promptly hooked up his battery charger. “Shocking, huh?” Maynard comments.

• The entire Confederate cavalry unit was assembled in line at Henry’s Ford.

• General MacDonald was amicably known as “Big Mac” by his troops. At the Battle of Golden Arches, however, he was in a real pickle when his men were sandwiched between the enemy’s big buns. “I sort of relish this one,” Maynard says.

• The famous charger, General Lee, won the Bermuda Hundred over the weekend.

• Mrs. Custer, when little George Armstrong Custer was just a wee babe, knew he was destined to be a great cavalry officer when he was seen sabering his rattles.

• The Confederate cavalry began to strike the Union supply train, wounding the Union teamsters and causing many scabs.

Brian Swartz can be reached at visionsofmaine@tds.net. He would love to hear from Civil War buffs interested in Maine’s involvement in the war.

Brian Swartz

About Brian Swartz

Welcome to "Maine at War," the blog about the roles played by Maine and her sons and daughters in the Civil War. I am a Civil War buff and a newspaper editor recently retired from the Bangor Daily News. Maine sent hero upon hero — soldiers, nurses, sailors, chaplains, physicians — south to preserve their country in the 1860s. “Maine at War” introduces these heroes and heroines, who, for the most part, upheld the state's honor during that terrible conflict. We tour the battlefields where they fought, and we learn about the Civil War by focusing on Maine’s involvement with it. Be prepared: As I discover to this very day, the facts taught in American classrooms don’t always jibe with Civil War reality. I can be reached at visionsofmaine@tds.net.