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[528] to the belief that their conduct was prompted by cowardice. As a punishment, he ordered that the regiment should be deprived of its colors until, by future good behavior and honorable service on the field of battle, its soldiers showed themselves worthy to bear them. The ringleaders of the mutiny were to be placed in arrest, and the regiment was to be ordered to fall in by company and march to the quarters assigned them in Virginia, and if they refused to obey this order, they were to be fired upon. The scene during the reading was exceedingly impressive. The sun was just going down, and in the hazy, uncertain twilight, the features and forms of officers and men could scarcely be distinguished. Immediately behind his aid was General Porter, firm and self-possessed. Col. Stevens was in front of his own regiment, endeavoring to quiet his rather nervous horse. In the rear of the regulars, and a little distance apart, General Sickles sat carelessly on horseback, coolly smoking a cigar and conversing with some friends. At one time during the reading, a murmur passed through the line of its mutineers, and when that portion of the order directing the regiment to surrender its colors was read, a private in one of the rear companies cried out in broad Scotch tones--“Let's keep the colors, boys!” No response was made by the remainder of the regiment. Major Sykes at once rode up the line to where the voice was heard. It would have been more than that soldier's life was worth, had he been discovered at the moment, in pistol range, by any of the officers. After the orders had been read, General Porter said to Colonel Stevens, “Point out the leaders.” A squad of men were detailed from the battalion to accompany the colonel, who went from company to company and designated the obnoxious members. They were marched to the rear to the number of forty or fifty, and placed under arrest. This operation took some time, and it was dark before the arrest was completed. The final order was then given to wheel by company into column and march to the quarters in Virginia.

This was the order which they had disobeyed in the morning, and which, if again disobeyed, would have been followed by a fire from the regular infantry. There seemed to be a moment's delay, but the mutinous volunteers, evidently seeing that resistance was useless, reluctantly obeyed, and took up the line of march to their quarters. The arrested leaders were taken to the guard house, while the remainder of the regiment was escorted by the cavalry and the battery.

The news of this disaffection has created a deep feeling of grief among the friends of the Seventy-ninth. A strict investigation will be entered into, and some of the ringleaders may be shot, as an example to this and other regiments. The firm stand taken by General McClellan is universally applauded. He is determined that discipline shall be maintained, and, no matter at what cost, his orders must be respected. The presence of such a large force evidently overawed the mutinous regiment, for there was that in the tone of the general's orders, and the manner of those deputed to execute them, which showed that they were in earnest.

Order read to the Seventy-Ninth.

The following is the order read to the Seventy-ninth N. Y. regiment:

The General Commanding has heard with the deepest pain of the acts of insubordination on the part of the Seventy-ninth regiment. Without attempting to enter into a discussion of the causes, it is sufficient to say that they are frivolous and groundless.

That these acts have thrown disgrace upon the regiment and the service, and taking place at this time, they give rise to the strongest suspicions of the most abject cowardice. The regiment has forced upon the Commanding General an issue which he is prepared to meet.

The men are ordered to lay down their arms and return to duty. All those refusing to do so will be fired upon immediately. If they comply with the order, the ringleaders only will be punished.

The colors of the regiment are taken from them, and will be returned only when their conduct in camp shall have proven that they understand the first duty of a soldier — obedience: and when, on the field of battle, they shall have proved their bravery. The names of the leaders in this revolt will be sent to the Governor of New York, to be placed in the archives of the State. A court-martial will be held forthwith.

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C. H. Stevens (2)
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George Sykes (1)
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George B. McClellan (1)
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