Their work had now been done. The country's flag again floated freely as the undisputed emblem of authority throughout all our broad domains. Before we took our departure from Camp Schuyler in August, 1862, we were presented with a beautiful flag, by the mothers, wives and sisters of our boys. It was presented with the admonition that it should be carried forward, victoriously and unsullied, that it should never be permitted to fall into treasonable hands, and that we bring it back an emblem of victory. How faintly did the donors of that flag realize the terrific cost, in suffering and in blood, which was involved in carrying out their admonitions. We now bring back that flag, with every requirement of its donors for its care and defense, ,literally fulfilled. Shot and shell have pierced its folds, and its staff, until it can no longer be unfurled, but it has never been desecrated by the touch of treasonable hands. Would that we might also have brought back to this reception, every young man who three years before had marched forth, bravely and hopefully, in its defense. This volume tells us on the pages giving a list of our engagements and their losses that in following our flag through the conflicts where duty called, that 275 of our men were called upon to pay that “last full measure of devotion,” which is the glory of those who fall upon the battlefield for a righteous cause. Beside these there were 121 others, equally brave and devoted, who had died as a result of exposure and disease. We thus have a total of 396 fatalities. Our ranks were still further depleted by the 450 wounded, a large proportion of whom were discharged for the disabilities they had thus suffered, and these added to the number discharged for disease made a total of 420 discharged.
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