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 of the German companies fell into line spontaneously and gave three cheers. It is well enough to know that, in spite of this possible breach of orderly discipline, the offending company received high praise from Capt. (afterwards general) G. N. Macy, whose good opinion was certainly of value, and who wrote (June 14, 1862), ‘I am very [glad] to say that the company behaved splendidly [at Fair Oaks] and did nobly but with one exception.’ This testimony is the more valuable as this officer had been promoted some months before to the captaincy (of Co. B) over the heads of its two original lieutenants, a thing which, even where necessary, rarely promotes harmony or even good discipline. The third German company, in the 25th Mass. Infantry, had German officers, and maintained its character well.1 Desertions from these three companies were but few; indeed, the whole number recorded against the whole 25th Regiment was but thirteen, none of these being to the enemy.2 There were Irish companies in several regiments, as, for instance, four in the 48th Infantry, one in the 25th, and so on, but the men of this descent were mainly concentrated into two distinctively Irish regiments,—the 9th and the 28th. Of the first Irish regiment, the 9th, Adjutant-General Schouler wrote in January, 1862: ‘This regiment is one of the best the Commonwealth has sent to the field. It is composed almost entirely of men of Irish birth and their immediate descendants.’3 As a rule, they showed the fighting characteristics of their race and sometimes the turbulent qualities. As for desertion, the regiments which suffered most from it were not the distinctively Irish regiments, although they suffered a good deal. In June and July, 1863, the United States law in regard to drafting was put in force in Massachusetts under Major Clark, U. S. A., provost marshal general. All male persons in the State between twenty and forty-five years of age were enrolled, in two classes (107, 386+56, 792=164, 178 in all). The number actually drafted was 32,079, of whom 6,690 were held to serve. Of these, 743 actually entered the service, 2,345 were represented by substitutes,
2 Mass. Adjutant-General's Report (January, 1865), pp. 612, 672.
3 The first Irish company volunteering in the State was the Emmett Guards of Worcester, Mass. (Schouler, I, 107). For the proportion of foreigners in our army at large, see Comte de Paris (translation), I, 182. For the cordiality with which the green flag was received on the battle-field, see Comte de Paris (translation), I, 178; Walker's 2d Army Corps, p. 62. The green flag of the 9th Mass. was presented by the Irish citizens of Boston at the State House, April 24, after Governor Andrew had presented the national and State flags; and that of the 29th by New York regiments Mass. Adjutant-General's Reports (January, 1864), p. 313. Compare Macnamara's Irish Ninth, pp. 52, 68, 79, etc.
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