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[83] mustered into the service, the mustering officers refusing to muster them. They had, therefore, either to return home, or join the ranks as enlisted men. In the regiments which were sent to Washington, the extra lieutenants were mustered in, and served with their companies to the end of their terms. The reason for this distinction has never been given.

The material of these commands was of the best. They were young men who had a taste for military duty. They were from the middle walks of life, and depended upon their health and hands for support. Most of them were mechanics, farmers' sons, and clerks in stores. They bought their own uniforms, and paid company assessments out of their own pockets. They were public-spirited, full of life, and knew their duty. Many of the companies had honorable records, running back to the war of 1812, of which they were proud. They had rivalries and jealousies. They demanded their right position in the regimental line, and would have it. They obeyed their officers because they were their officers, and held positions by their votes. They chose the color and style of their own uniforms. If a rival company wore blue, they would have gray or red. The uniforms in a regiment were variegated, like the colors of a rainbow. They were made more for show than use, as active service proved. Yet they cost much money. But it was no one's business but their own, as they paid the bills. They had their pet names, as well as the regimental letter, and they preferred being known by the name they had themselves chosen. Thus there were the N. E. G.'s and B. L. I.'s, the ‘Tigers,’ the ‘Savages,’ and the ‘Guards.’ Each had its friends and followers, and each its enemies and detractors. Yet beneath all these there was a substratum of genuine good feeling, and a soldierly pride. The very opposition they received from those who laughed or sneered at the militia cemented them in closer union, and made them more determined to be militia. Their armories were their own. There they could meet and drill, and talk back at the outside world, free from interruption, as in their own homes. These they adorned with pictures of old generals, photographs of former captains, and fac-similes of the Declaration of Independence. There they talked of bygone

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1812 AD (1)
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