Zzzskirmish drill by Signals,
and in rifle-target practice at different ranges—from fifty yards to 1,000 yards—and so proficient did the men become in estimating distances that, although the chain was used to confirm their calculations, its use was finally discontinued as being unnecessary.
Every day these practices were kept up under strict discipline, and systematic regulation and improvement in markmanship noted, and such men as failed to make satisfactory progress were returned to their companies and others substituted, so also, when the casualties of battle decimated the ranks, other details were made from the regiment in which the loss occurred, thereby keeping up the full maximum of strength.
Thus, when the campaign of 1864 opened, this body of 180 officers and men, selected for special duty and because of eminent qualifications for such service, appeared thoroughly trained and fully equipped, and their subsequent record proved that they were absolutely invincible in every engagement in their history, never having been driven from their lines in any single engagement.
The battle of Mine Run
was the beginning of the