One day the colonel sent for me and said, “Jack
, I have a letter from Governor Andrew
asking that the regiment re-enlist for three years more or until the end of the war; do you think they will do it?”
My answer was, “I don't know; there are not many left to re-enlist.”
He said, “I wish you would go to your old company, A, and talk with them,” and I consented.
The regiment was encamped on a side hill in shelter tents, and the weather was cold and rainy.
I went to Company A; the mud in the company street was ankle deep and everything was as disagreeable as possible.
was first sergeant.
I talked with him and asked him to “fall in” the men. Thirteen responded to the call,--all who were on duty of the grand company which had left Massachusetts
I repeated the story the colonel had told me, then asked for a response from them; for a moment all were silent, then Ben Falls said, “Well, if new men won't finish this job, old men must, and as long as Uncle Sam wants a man, here is Ben Falls.”
Then spoke Mike Scannell
: “It is three years, as you know, since I have seen my wife and children.
I had expected to go home when my time was out and stay there, but we must never give up this fight until we win, and I am with you to the end.”
Others expressed themselves in the same way, and when I said, “All who will re-enlist step one pace to the front,” every man in line advanced.
I then saw men of other companies.
of Company C said, “They use a man here just the same as they do a turkey at a shooting match, fire at it all day, and if they don't kill it raffle it off in the evening; so with us, if they can't kill you in three years they want you for three more, but I will stay.”
I next saw Michael O'Leary