to his memory should I relate one or two of the little dialogues between Captain Merritt
Our regiment had a peculiar drill in the manual.
It was formulated by Colonel Devereaux
, and is nearly what is used by the army to-day.
After loading we stood with our little finger on the head of the rammer until the order was given to shoulder arms.
One day on drill Captain Merritt
looked down the line and saw Boynton
with his hand by his side.
“Put your little finger on the head of the rammer, Boynton
,” sang out Captain Merritt
. “I won't do it,” replied Boynton
“Won't do it!
“Because it is all nonsense; my gun is loaded, and do you suppose I would stand up in battle like a darned fool with my little finger on the head of my rammer?
No, sir, I propose to drill just as I intend to fight.”
Another day the order was, “Right shoulder, shift arms.”
The proper way was to make three motions, but Boynton
did it in one. “Make three motions, Boynton
,” said Captain Merritt
. “Didn't I get my gun on my shoulder as quick as any man in the company?”
was the reply.
was discouraged and ordered me to punish Boynton
, but I explained his peculiarities, and assured the captain that he would earn his thirteen dollars a month when fighting began.
He let the matter drop.
Had the Union
army been composed entirely of men like Charles Boynton
the war would have ended long before it did.
We held our position until midnight. It was the saddest night I ever spent.
The dead and wounded of both armies lay between the lines.
The wounded were constantly calling on their comrades for water, and we could hear calls for Mississippi
, mingled with those for