However, if we were not at the front, we held the rear with a firm grip; and I never heard of more than two cases of even yellow fever getting by us.
After nearly a year of this sort of service (and by a process of evolution
having become known as the ‘Ninety-first Regiment, U. S. C. I.’), a corps of schoolmasters was sent down to us to ascertain how much or how little we knew about war. There were twelve of us to appear before this ‘weeding-out committee,’ as in reality we knew it to be. I catalogued myself as a weed gone to seed.
It took a colonel, major
, captain, and lieutenant about one hour to find out how much the eleven officers really chose to know.
Some of them knew they wished to leave the service—and their wishes found favor at headquarters.
I sat in my quarters shivering, although the thermometer registered about 100 in the shade, till the orderly brought the message that the ‘Board’ would like to see me. My temperature suddenly became normal, and I thought that if it took the ‘Board’ sixty minutes to dispose of eleven cases, it could dispose of my case in four minutes; that is to say, I thought I could tell them all I knew in that length of time.
But I woefully miscalculated the staying qualities of those four officers.
As the clock struck eight, the first question was fired at me. When it struck twelve, the president declared the examination closed.
The last half-hour, however, was passed in a delightful talk.
Two propositions were made to me. The colonel proposed that I be recommended for promotion and assigned to staff duty.
The major—a regular army officer—said he would like to have me transferred to the regular service.
I was profoundly grateful for their proposed recommendations, and I frankly told them so. I protested that I was not lacking in ambition; but my ambition was to remain in the volunteer service till the close of the war; that my desire for peace was so intense that I was ready and willing to fight for it. The temptation to yield to their several arguments was great, but I believe that I decided wisely.
Shortly thereafter came orders consolidating the Ninety-first Regiment with the Seventy-fourth Regiment—headquarters at Ship Island
All surplus officers, including all the field officers