properly be estimated in dollars and cents, nor can the good which they were the means of accomplishing ever be accurately known on earth.
These works are as treasures laid up in heaven.
Without the means of transportation afforded by the railroads, and the transmission of important information by the telegraph, these invaluable organisms would probably never have existed.
We are not aware that any of a similar character were formed during the war of the Revolution; and, if any were formed, they would have been almost entirely inoperative, on account of the want of ready transportation, and the impossibility of receiving timely information of the casualties resulting from a great battle.
They were, however, valuable auxiliaries to the good cause all through the late Rebellion.
A battle was no sooner fought than it was known through the land; and as soon as known, and ere the smoke of the conflict had disappeared, and the wounded been taken to the hospitals, materials of every useful description, with volunteer surgeons and nurses, were in rapid transmission to the places where they were most needed.
We have taken much pains, during the last four years, to garner up all the information possible to be obtained respecting these local organizations, scattered throughout our ancient Commonwealth, from Barnstable
; and, although we have been successful to a reasonable extent, we have not accomplished all that we have desired.
We have, however, probably gathered in the bulk of the crop, so widespread and so nourishing; but there is left standing in the field unseen, alone, something for the gleaner yet to do. And we apprehend that, however much may have been gathered, and may hereafter be, much that was done will never be fully known; for in many instances no written records were kept, and in others those that were kept have perished from the earth.
The labor performed was so much one of love and duty, that it is remembered only as a satisfaction by those by whom it was performed; a thing which brought its own reward, in thus having contributed,—however much or however little, yet something,—in these long years of war and suffering, towards rendering the