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[77] duty, and soon many of them were wearing chevrons betokening sergeant and corporal rank and a few had on shoulder straps.

To give the facts in the case of the recruits to the two-year regiments and their claim, a full statement ought to be made. They were enlisted under a definite promise and understanding that they would be retained in the same regimental organization or discharged with the rest of the regiment. When the regiments were disbanded both of these pledges were ignored and they were ordered to report to the 121st at once. Their protest against this action was submitted to a Board of Investigation, and this Board reported in their favor, so they were organized into an independent battalion and assigned to duty as guard at Brigade Headquarters, until the report of the Board should be acted upon by the War Department at Washington. When it came before Secretary Stanton, with his usual bruskness he dismissed the case, saying, “Might as well disband the army.” So the report came back disapproved on the ground that these men had enlisted for three years and that the government was not responsible for the illegal acts of its agents, or the false promises they had made. Of the other question, as to the detention in the old regimental organization, nothing was said. We had supposed that in joining the old regiments we were doing the best we could for the army and the country; that the plan to fill up and retain the old organizations was the wisest policy and would be adopted by the War Department. In this, according to high military authority, we were right, and it is now conceded that the disbanding of the old regiments, and the organization of so many new ones was a military blunder resulting in the unnecessary loss of thousands of men who had to enter upon hard campaigns

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