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[189] hold their attention to the very close. None of them left while the lecture was in progress. Now and then an orderly-sergeant would try his hand in the lecture field, but unless he was protected by the presence of a pair of shoulder-straps he was quite likely to be coughed or groaned down, or in some other way discouraged from repeating the effort.

The shortcomings alluded to were of a varied character. I think I mentioned some of them in the chapter on punishments. Sometimes the text was the general delinquency of the men in getting into line; sometimes it was a rebuke for being lax in phases of discipline; the men were not sufficiently respectful to superior officers, did not pay the requisite attention to saluting, had too much back talk, were too boisterous in camp, too untidy in line. These, and twenty other allied topics, all having a bearing on the characteristics essential in the make — up of a good soldier, were preached upon with greater or less unction and frequency, as circumstances seemed to require, or the standard in a given company demanded.

After the dismission of the line, guard-mounting took place but this in the artillery was a very simple matter. The guard at once formed on the parade line were assigned to their reliefs, and dismissed till wanted. Sometimes the guard-mounting took place in the morning, as did that of the infantry. The neatest and most soldierly appearing guardsman was selected as captain's orderly. But guardmounting in light artillery was not always thus simple. Camp Barry, near Washington, was used as a school of instruction for light batteries, for a period of at least three years. During the greater part of this time there were ten or a dozen batteries there on an average. Under one of its commandants, at least, a brigade guard-mounting was held at eight o'clock A. M., and here members of my company responded to the bugle-call known as the “Assembly of guard,” for the first and last time.

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