in the evening; so with us, if they can't kill you in three years, they want you for three more, but I'll stay.”
Many declared that they would not serve again in any infantry regiment and expressed a preference for the heavy artillery as it was always stationed in a fort where the work was not so hard and the danger not quite so great.
The subject of re-enlistment, as discussed around the camp fires during this winter, is adequately explained by Sergt. Foster
thus: “Although the grade of Lieutenant General
was not revived until Feb. 26th, 1864—on which date Gen. Grant
was nominated and promptly confirmed—it was generally believed that the rank would be revived and that Grant
would be the man and that he would command the Army of the Potomac in person.
This belief was a patent influence on the re-enlistments.
We believed that his coming would inaugurate a new era in the movements of the army and that there would be no more running up and striking a blow at Lee
and then skulking back toward Washington
We reasoned thus: our time will not be up until the 28th of next August, the campaign will be opened early in the spring, we are near the rebel lines of fortifications—one or two day's march will bring us to them—and before our term of enlistment expires some of the heaviest fighting will have been done and, perhaps, Richmond
itself captured; during that time many of us will be killed and many maybe captured and have to stay in rebel prisons for months (and just this thing did happen and many who did not re-enlist remained in prison long after their term of service had expired). If we re-enlist, we get the bounty and, what is better, a furlough home to see our relatives and friends and to have a good time and to come back much better and in a more contented frame of mind to enter the campaign.
Accordingly after much discussion, enough agreed to re-enlist to insure our return home as a regiment.”
In justice to the veterans it should be said that a very large majority of them would have re-enlisted in any event.
The greater portion of them felt that whatever might be their legal obligations, their real term of service could only be closed by the entire suppression of the rebellion, and that while a man remained