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[101] troops into every position which the chances of war might make desirable. He saw troops more clearly with his mind's eye than most men with the eye of the flesh, and he manoeuvred them rapidly and accurately in fancy. His perfect familiarity with all such matters gave him a singular command of his men. It was his habit to form his line in places where there seemed hardly more than room for the men to stand, and then to drill them in battalion movements, with such ingenuity and precision and nice calculation of distance, that men collected from all the neighboring camps to look on and wonder. He would also sometimes draw up his battalion as a brigade, and drill it skilfully in evolutions of the line. He devised some very rapid and beautiful movements, executed by breaking ranks and re-forming on the colors. He taught his men to perform these movements so perfectly, that at a review of the Second Corps, in April, 1864, in presence of General Hancock, General Meade, and General Grant, he won great applause by causing his regiment to break from the line, change front in any direction at a run, and to form square from line at a run, and commence firing from every front as fast as each man took his place. These movements were not mere embroideries,—--pleasing at parade, useless under fire. Besides the general advantage of teaching officers and men to be rapid, ready, and precise in every movement, they had the particular and practical advantage of being serviceable in action. Probably none but a steady and high-disciplined regiment could be trusted with the execution of such movements under fire; but in the surging, swaying battle of the Wilderness, where flanks were constantly exposed and turned, the Twentieth repeatedly changed front by breaking ranks and re-forming at a run on the colors. They thus had the triple advantage of rapidity, and of exposing to the enemy no company flank, and no rear of a marching company.

Major Abbott was the strictest of diciplinarians. His care of his men, his regularity in the discharge of his duty, and his justice, were so well understood that he seldom had

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George G. Meade (1)
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