required was identification.
It is lamentably true that such has not been the case since the war.
I found only one officer on duty with my battery at Fort Moultrie
, and he was awaiting my arrival so that he might go on leave.
He turned over the command with a manifestation of confidence which surprised me at the time, but which was fully explained the next day. In the morning the first sergeant reported to me, with the quarterly and monthly returns prepared for my signature, and made out more beautifully than anything in writing I had ever before seen, and explained to me in detail all the business affairs of the battery, as if he were reporting to an old captain who had just returned from a long leave of absence.
Next to General Scott
and Colonel Lee
, with whom I had had the honor of some acquaintance, I was quite sure there stood before me the finest-looking and most accomplished soldier in the United States Army.
What a hard time young officers of the army would sometimes have but for the old sergeants!
I have pitied from the bottom of my heart volunteer officers whom I have seen starting out, even in the midst of war, with perfectly raw regiments, and not even one old sergeant to teach them anything.
No country ought to be so cruel to its soldiers as that.
In September we had the usual artillery target practice, which was afterward recalled to my mind many times by the bombardment of Fort Sumter
in 1861 by the same guns I had used in practice, and at the same range.
Then came the change of stations of troops, which took the Moultrie garrison to Florida
, and some of the 1st Artillery to their place.
For a time the fort was left without garrison except a few officers who were awaiting the arrival of their regiment.
I also was ordered to remain until I ‘got off my brevet’ and was appointed ‘full second’ in the 1st Artillery.
It had been a yellow-fever summer, and the cottages on Sullivan