to these would-be shirkers to fail in their plans, but some of the more persistent would stick to their programme, and, by refusing food and taking but little exercise, would in a short time make invalids of themselves in reality.
There were undoubtedly many men in the service who secured admission to the hospitals, and finally their discharge, by this method; and some of these men, by such a course of action, planted the seeds of real diseases, to which they long since succumbed, or from which they are now sufferers.
I must hasten to say that this is not a burlesque on all
the soldiers who answered to sick-call.
God forbid! The genuine cases went with a different air from the shams.
I can see some of my old comrades now, God bless them!
sterling fellows, soldiers to the core, stalwart men when they entered the army, but, overtaken by disease, they would report to sick-call, day after day, hoping for a favorable change; yet, in spite of medicine and the nursing of their messmates, pining away until at last they disappeared — went to the hospitals, and there died.
Oh, if such men could only have been sent to their homes before it was too late, where the surroundings were more congenial and comfortable, the nursing tender, and more skilful, because administered by warmer hearts and the more loving hands of mother, wife, or sister, thousands of these noble souls could have been saved to the government and to their families.
But it was not to be, and so they wasted away, manfully battling for life against odds, dying with the names of dear ones on their lips, dear ones whose presence at the death-bed was in so many cases impossible, but dying as honorable deaths as if they had gone down
With their back to the field and their feet to the foe.
This is one of the saddest pictures that memory brings me from Rebellion days.
The proverbial prescription of the average army surgeon was quinine, whether for stomach or bowels, headache or