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After a time we reported to the company at Rockville and found the three field officers examining the non-commissioned officers. Although we had been acting as “non-coms” since we left Massachusetts, none had received warrants from the colonel. First Sergeant Cook and I joined the procession. I was never more frightened in my life, as I had never spoken to the colonel or lieutenant-colonel, and the examination was unexpected. The marks were from one to five. In a few days, at dress parade, Captain Merritt read the list. He called First Sergeant Adams. I thought he meant my brother Isaac, who had been examined as a sergeant, and I was pleased with his good fortune, when the captain called “ First Sergeant J. G. B. Adams,” and explained to the company that I had passed the best examination and was promoted to that position. I did not want the place. First Sergeant Cook was a good man and was my friend. I went to the captain, told him I would prefer to be second sergeant and let First Sergeant Cook remain. This arrangement was made and I was happy.

Our duty at Rockville was very light. The boys had made the acquaintance of many agreeable people there; I was introduced, and the time passed pleasantly.

The colored people were holding revival meetings. As we had never witnessed anything of the kind before we all attended, without regard to religious convictions. The singing was of that wild, melodious nature that only colored people can render. The clapping of hands and stamping of feet, all in time, cause a thrill of excitement to run through the coldest veins. With the colored people the effect is such that they are lost to all else but the emotions of the hour. When striving with the spirit it is a strife in reality.

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