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[145] sheer disbelief. The same incredulity extended to those obstructions which the Confederates built skilfully on those rivers, and which were seldom allowed for or foreseen.1

On the other hand, the war developed methods and short cuts impossible for any regular army, and scarcely to be commended even for an unusually intelligent and self-respecting body. A Massachusetts colonel told the writer with satisfaction that he for a time, in a region wholly safe, entirely discontinued all sentinels round his camp, throwing the men entirely on their honor as to absenting themselves, and having a wholly empty guard-house as the result. He also told me that on a long march he also discontinued the tedious process of laboriously aligning his men before letting them rest and then again before taking up the line of march; but permitted them simply to halt for rest at a single command and set off again at another. The consequence was, he said, that his men got twice as much rest on a march as the other regiments.2 They never, perhaps, like some Confederate regiments, made charges without military formation, as at Charles City, or used stones for missiles, as at Groveton;3 but they were often, at the outset, equipped with muskets so poor as to be more efficient when clubbed than in any other way. There were among them individual instances of cowardice,4 but this was never, so far as I know, attributed to any Massachusetts regiment or battery collectively, or to the actual commander of any; nor were whole companies ever mustered out as insubordinate, as happened once in the Confederate army.5 It may fairly be claimed that the Massachusetts regiments were at first censured far oftener, among their mates, for showing too much discipline than for too little; and that, as the war came slowly to its height, the value of this discipline was more and more conceded by all. That great drawback to restraint in volunteer regiments, and especially in rural regiments, the

1 For these pilings, called ‘Yankee-catchers’ by those who built them, see Ammen's The Old Navy and the New, p. 191; Ammen's The Navy in the Civil War, pp. 47, 59, 93, 158, 186, 191, 192. The real ‘Black Horse Cavalry’ was the 4th Va. Cavalry, Co. H. (Crowninshield's 1st Mass. Cavalry, pp. 20, 190.)

2 See, in Lincoln's 34th Mass., p. 173, a striking bit of original action on the part of the colonel, in utter disregard of orders, but finally sustained by the brigade commander.

3 Johnson's Short History of Secession, pp. 168, 181.

4 See, for instance, Bosson's 42d Mass. Vols., p. 241; Macnamara's Irish 9th, pp. 125, 213; Walker's 2d Army Corps, p. 229. The latter, after describing the utter and bewildered terror attributed, perhaps unjustly, to some of the German regiments at Chancellorsville, adds: ‘I never saw an American so frightened as to lose his senses, though I have seen thousands of the natives of Columbia leave one battlefield or another in the most dastardly manner.’

5 DeLeon's Four Years in Rebel Capitals, p. 133.

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