This is a story from cracked. I have never heard this and thought it was a pretty cool piece of history.
The Civil War Toy Boat Messengers
During the second half of 1862, soldiers in the Civil War were getting bored. Camped on opposite sides
of the Rappahannock River in Virginia, they were locked in a waiting game -- the Northern army was waiting for a bunch of pontoon boats to be fastened together as bridges, and the Southerners were waiting for the Northerners to just try and cross. But this ended up taking weeks, and so the two armies, both made up of Americans, wound up having a lot of time to sit and stare at each other. What's more, the area where they had set up camp had precisely jack shit to do. Eventually, they started to get goofy.
They were all stuck somewhere they didn't want to be, waiting to do unpleasant things they didn't want to be doing to a bunch of other guys they didn't even know. In a nutshell, it resembled a particularly crappy summer camp, and many of the soldiers were pretty young. So they started behaving accordingly: They built little toy boats and sent them across the river to the enemy soldiers.
The boats carried soldier variations of those little notes kids send to each other in the classroom. Instead of a scrap of paper with a "Do you like us?" scribble, the Southerners would fill a boat with tobacco, then float it over. Northern soldiers would send the boat back, stacked with coffee.
These were valuable gestures of friendship during a time when such luxury supplies were nearly nonexistent, and they didn't go unnoticed on either side. Like little boys on opposite sides of a river, the soldiers began making new friends. Waves and informal friendly gestures were exchanged across the water. When the Confederates held sports contests, Union troops were eager spectators from their waterside seats.
Eventually, men would even start crossing the river to meet with their friends on the other side, engaging in conversation, exchanging newspapers and generally acting like actual human beings toward the very men they were supposed to attack.
This would go on for weeks before the Battle of Fredericksburg would snap everyone back to reality