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[535]

Complaints were made in January, that the men in camp at Long Island suffered severely from the cold, and that many of them were frost-bitten. The State paymaster, Edward P. Bond, was directed by the Governor to ascertain whether the complaints were true, and report. On the 12th of January, Mr. Bond having visited the island, and examined into the matter, reported that he was satisfied that there was not the slightest truth in the stories.

Since the winter commenced, the only case of frost-biting has been that of a man who was detailed as cook, and, living in a room by himself, suffered his fires to go out, and, in consequence, had his toes slightly bitten. He reported himself at the hospital, and an hour's application of cold water cured him. The guards are changed every hour, and, on very cold nights, every half-hour. The men have floored tents, stoves, and all the fuel they want. There has been but one death, except by the drowning of deserters, since the camp was established, and not one since the 1st of October.

The order of the War Department allowing men in the service to re-enlist who had less than one year to serve of their original term was one of the wise measures of Mr. Stanton's administration. It retained in the service a large body of veteran troops. Upwards of ten thousand of the men in the Massachusetts regiments re-enlisted under this order, and were credited to the quota of this State. As an inducement to the reenlistment of veterans, the men were to receive large Government and State bounties, and were to be permitted to return home on a furlough of thirty days. Those who did not re-enlist neither received the bounties nor the furloughs. The men came home with a portion of their officers, in regimental order. The reception of these veterans was enthusiastic and heartfelt. It was a matter of deep interest to look upon the bronzed faces and martial forms of these heroes. Those who had occasion to pass through Boston, on their way to their homes, were cordially received by the State and city authorities, and received a banquet from the city in Faneuil Hall, and were addressed sometimes by the Governor, sometimes by the Adjutant-General, and always by Mr. Lincoln, the Mayor of Boston.

The first to arrive reached Boston on the 17th of January;

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