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[14] duties they were called upon to execute were of a high and exalted order, the approval of their immediate commander, the confidence of the sick or wounded—these, with the support of their own conscience, must be their supreme and only ambition.

With a sphere so limited, with reward so meagre and inadequate in comparison with those bestowed upon their military associates of similar or superior rank, we are now entitled to award them the highest credit for the unselfish performance of duty—whether done within the walls of a hospital, to the sick or wounded soldier in his quarters, or, as was often the case, in the face of the enemy, surrounded by danger and death, and equally exposed with the private soldier to shot and shell and to death-dealing missiles from those ‘instruments of precision’—as they were called—which sped with ‘damnable iteration,’ the

leaden messengers
     That ride upon the violent speed of fire.

And your speaker is fully warranted in rendering this tardy justice, as he cannot claim to have fully participated in the special exposures which you encountered.

To prove the devotion and the heroism of the surgeon and his youthful assistants, we would briefly recall some scenes which occurred at Petersburg, Va., near the close of that period when the beleaguered town was being shut in by a cordon of earthworks, crowned with batteries belching forth their bolted thunders,—the lines of the enemy were being pressed in closer and closer, the fire of every species of armament was converging upon that devoted centre, and the roar of cannon and the detonation of small arms ‘would deafen you to hear.’ So incessant was the cannonading from some quarter of the heavens, and so great the roar of artillery, that it seemed to the doomed city that a battle was almost constantly in progress.

The surgeons and assistant surgeons, the generals and the officers lived with their men in the open fields, in trenches swept by the fire of the enemy, literally in ditches and holes burrowed in the earth, half filled with water—from which they were sometimes in the rainy season driven out like rats. Half starved, upon the coarsest food, in cold and storm and rain, exposed to every hazard—these, our brethren of the medical department, quailed not; they patiently submitted to every hardship, often with systems shattered by privation and ill-health, whilst they performed services which required skill, care and serene courage.

No extended reference can be made here to privations endured in

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Petersburg, Va. (Virginia, United States) (1)

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