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[297]

At two o'clock the regiment started for Salem, via the Eastern Railroad. At every station on the road, booming guns, ringing bells cheering, and joyous shouts greeted the train. It stopped just outside the city of Salem and the men alighted, formed line and marched into the city from the South Fields amid the firing of cannon, the ringing of bells and the cheering of a great crowd of people. After a short parade through the principal streets, the regiment was taken to Essex Hall, where another bountiful spread was served by the ladies of Salem; but, having eaten so much in Boston, the men did not eat heartily here.

There was a ‘Welcome Home’ speech from the mayor of Salem, another from General Sutton of the Cadets, brilliant music and an outpouring of love and warm greetings. From the hall the regiment marched to the common where it exhibited its perfect discipline and matchless skill in a drill and dress parade.

The regiment came near losing its colors here. They were only ragged remnants, clinging to the staves, but the women grabbed them and began to tear off little pieces as souvenirs. The officers rescued them from their hands, however, and finally came the order to ‘Stack arms.’ Then.—‘For thirty days, break ranks, march!’ and with a wild cheer the men scattered without ceremony for their homes.

The thirty days were passed in a round of pleasure, the men were warmly greeted, received everywhere and banquetted, and in a number of places ‘Veterans' Balls’ were given in their honor,—one at Rowley being especially notable. Several of the officers were presented with swords by their townsmen and the brief stay at home was in every way made pleasant.

Colonel Devereux resigned during this period and the command of the Nineteenth fell upon Major Edmund Rice,—Lieutenant Colonel Wass being on recruiting duty in Boston. To the honor of the regiment it should be mentioned that during the time it was on furlough in Massachusetts, no one of its members was under restraint by the civil authorities and the command reported in the field with every veteran originally furloughed. There were with it, also, a number of deserters who had been apprehended by the officers.

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