a rough and hard process; but it is not a killing one, especially to New-Englanders.
In a while, the boys would laugh at what they have complained of. There is a vein of humor and sarcasm running through the report of Dr. Howe
, such as might have been expected from a gentleman of his peculiar temperament, knowledge, and practical experience in the rough usage of active military life; and yet it is full of kind words and wise suggestions.
He says, ‘The invoice of articles sent by the “Cambridge
” and other vessels for our troops, contains articles hardly dreamed of even by general officers in actual war. Hundreds of chests of Oolong teas, tons of white crushed sugar
, and then a whole cargo of ice!’
Besides these regular supplies, a vast variety of articles of use and luxury had been sent by the families of the soldiers and the town committees.
‘Their principal value (and that is priceless) is as a testimony of the patriotism, zeal, and generosity of the men and women, who felt that they must do something for the cause, which seemed to them, not only of their country, but of humanity.’
He speaks of the reports of cruelty practised in one of the regiments (not named), which are so frequent that they made a powerful impression on him. He found only about one per cent on the sick-list, and only two cases of dangerous illness.
As to the matter of suffering, he says, ‘Some soldiers do indeed complain that they have undergone needless exposures, privations, and hardships, through the indifference of officers.
It is hoped that the most flagrant cases of the kind arose from over-sanguine temper, which made the officers overlook the great liability to storms, when leading out troops unprovided with tents, and that longer experience will correct this.’
But, he says,—
There will be many captains like one whom I could name in the Massachusetts Fifth,—the stalwart man, every inch of whose six feet is of soldier stamp; the captain who eschews hotel dinners, and takes every meal with his men, eating only what they eat; who is their resolute and rigid commander when on duty, but their kind and faithful companion and friend when off duty; who lies down with them upon the bare ground or floor, and, if there are not blankets enough for all, refuses to use one himself; who often gets up in the night, and draws the blankets over any half-covered sleeper, and carries water to any