Those men who, on deciding to “go to war,” went directly to a recruiting office and enlisted, had but this simple examination to pass, the other being then unnecessary.
It is interesting to note that in 1861 and ‘62 men were mainly examined to establish their fitness
for service; in 1863 and ‘64 the tide had changed, and they were then only anxious to prove their unfitness.
After the citizen in question had become a soldier, he was usually sent at once to camp or the seat of war, but if he wanted a short furlough it was generally granted.
If he had enlisted in a new regiment, he might remain weeks before being ordered to the front; if in an old regiment, he might find himself in a fight at short notice.
Hundreds of the men who enlisted under the call issued by President Lincoln
July 2, 1862, were killed or wounded before they had been in the field a week.
Any man or woman who lived in those thrilling early war days will never forget them.
The spirit of patriotism was at fever-heat, and animated both sexes of all ages.
Such a display of the national colors had never been seen before.
Flag-raisings were the order of the day in public and private grounds.
The trinity of red
, and blue
colors was to be seen in all directions.
Shopkeepers decked their windows and counters with them.
Men wore them in neckties, or in a rosette pinned on the breast, or tied in the button-hole.
The women wore them conspicuously also.
The bands played only patriotic airs, and “Yankee Doodle
, and blue
,” and the Star-spangled banner would have been worn threadbare if possible.
Then other patriotic songs and marches were composed, many of which had only a short-lived existence; and the poetry of this period, some of it excellent, would fill a large volume.