Great injustice was done to fighting regiments in allowing them to return without being filled to the maximum.
While the State
was filling its quota it was, as far as active service went, nearly all on paper.
Every old regiment had many brave and well-qualified non-commissioned officers who could not be promoted because only two officers were allowed each company, and, besides, we were placed in line to do the duty of a regiment, when we were no larger than a company of heavy artillery.
Yet our men did not complain; with brave hearts, but with eyes filled with tears, they again bade goodby to loved ones, and marched away to face dangers that three years experience had demonstrated would make vacant places in their thinned ranks.
did not return with us, and the regiment was in command of Lieutenant-Colonel Rice
We had a nice passage to New York, spent St. Patrick's day and Eph. Hall
's birthday in Philadelphia
, and in due time arrived in Washington
I was detailed officer of the day, Lieutenant Thompson
officer of the guard.
A little incident occurred here which I think is not known to the officers, but it shows the honor of the men of the 19th.
After I was detailed Colonel Rice
sent for me and said, “We leave here at six o'clock to-morrow morning.
The officers will stay up in the city.
I want you to keep every man here to be ready to move at the time stated.”
After the officers had gone I fell in the men and informed them that we were to move at six A. M.; that as they were tired I should post no guard, and as Lieutenant Thompson
and myself had business in the city we should not be able to stay with them, but would see them all at half-past 5 the next morning.
and I returned about three o'clock, and when the colonel came at