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[152] thirsty, but indomitable. At an early hour there was a universal snore through the Naval School of Annapolis.

The two days that we remained at Annapolis were welcome. We had been without a fair night's sleep since we left New York, and even the hard quarters we had there were a luxury compared to the dirty decks of the Boston. Besides, there were natural attractions. The grounds are very prettily laid out, and in the course of my experience I never saw a handsomer or better bred set of young men than the — cadets. They number about----, only twenty having left the school owing to political conviction. The remainder are sound Union fellows, eager to prove their devotion to the flag. After spending a delightful time in the Navy School, resting and amusing ourselves, our repose was disturbed, at 9 P. M., April 23, by rockets being thrown up in the bay. The men were scattered all over the grounds; some in bed, others walking or smoking, all more or less undressed. The rockets being of a suspicious character, it was conjectured that a Southern fleet was outside, and our drummer beat the roll-call to arms. From the stroke of the drum, until the time that every man, fully equipped and in fighting order, was in the ranks, was exactly, by watch, seven minutes. It is needless to say any thing about such celerity — it speaks for itself. The alarm, however, proved to be false, the vessels in the offing proving to be laden with the Seventy-first and other New York regiments; so that, after an unpremeditated trial of our readiness for action, we were permitted to retire to our virtuous coaches, which means, permit me to say, a blanket on the floor, with a military overcoat over you, and a nasal concert all around you, that, in noise and number, outvies Musard's celebrated concerts monstres.

On the morning of the 24th of April we started on what afterwards proved to be one of the hardest marches on record. The Secessionists of Annapolis and the surrounding district had threatened to cut us off in our march, and even went so far as to say that they would attack our quarters. This, of course, was the drunken Southern ebullition. A civilian told me that he met in the streets of Annapolis two cavalry soldiers who came to cut our throats without delay, but as each brave warrior was endeavoring to hold the other up, my friend did not apprehend much danger.

A curious revulsion of feeling took place at Annapolis, and indeed all through Maryland, after our arrival.

The admirable good conduct which characterizes the regiment, the open liberality which it displays in all pecuniary transactions, and the-courteous demeanor which it exhibits to all classes, took the narrow-minded population of this excessively wretched town by surprise. They were prepared for pillage. They thought we were going to sack the place. They found, instead, that we were prepared and willing to pay liberal prices for every thing, and that even patriotic presentations were steadily refused. While we were in the Navy School, of course all sorts of rumors as to our operations were floating about. It surprised me that no one suggested that we were to go off in a balloon; however, all surmises were put to an end by our receiving orders, the evening of the 23d, to assemble in marching order next morning. The dawn saw us up. Knapsacks, with our blankets and overcoats strapped on them, were piled on the green. A brief and insufficient breakfast was taken, our canteens filled with vinegar and water, cartridges distributed to each man, and after mustering and loading, we started on our first march through a hostile country.

Gen. Scott has stated, as I have been informed, that the march that we performed from Annapolis to the Junction is one of the most remarkable on record. I know that I felt it the most fatiguing, and some of our officers have told me that it was the most perilous. We marched the first eight miles under a burning sun, in heavy marching order, in less than three hours; and it is well known that, placing all elementary considerations out of the way, marching on a railroad track is the most harassing. We started at about 8 o'clock, A. M., and for the first time saw the town of Annapolis, which, without any disrespect to that place, I may say, looked very much as if some celestial schoolboy, with a box of toys under his arm, had dropped a few houses and men as he was going home from school, and that the accidental settlement was called Annapolis. Through the town we marched, the people unsympathizing, but afraid. They saw the Seventh for the first time, and for the first time they realized the men that they had threatened.

The tracks had been torn up between Annapolis and the Junction, and here it was that the wonderful qualities of the Massachusetts Eighth Regiment came out. The locomotives had been taken to pieces by the inhabitants, in order to prevent our travel. In steps a Massachusetts volunteer, looks at the piece-meal engine, takes up a flange, and says coolly, “I made this engine, and I can put it together again.” Engineers were wanted when the engine was ready. Nineteen stepped out of the ranks. The rails were torn up. Practical railroad makers out of the regiment laid them again, and all this, mind you, without care or food. These brave boys, I say, were starving while they were doing this good work. What their Colonel was doing, I can't say. As we marched along the track that they had laid, they greeted us with ranks of smiling but hungry faces. One boy told me, with a laugh on his young lips, that he had not eaten any thing for thirty hours. There was not, thank God, a haversack in our regiment that was not emptied into the hands of these ill-treated heroes, nor a flask that was not at their disposal. I am glad to pay them tribute here, and mentally doff my cap.


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