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Everybody to help.

In the emergency every man capable of bearing, arms was called upon to aid in the general defense. In a few hours I found myself with several hundred citizens reporting for duty on Bank Street, opposite the provost marshal's office. As speedily as possible, we were supplied with such arms and accoutrements as were then available. The muskets were chiefly old United States Army flint-locks, which had recently been altered to percussion. They had, in all probability, seen service in the War of 1812, for although percusion caps had been invented by a Scotch parson and patented by him in 1807, they had not been generally adopted by the armies of the world until about 1840. They were dangerous weapons at close quarters, but at modern rifle range, to use the late A. M. Keiley's suggestive similitude, ‘not worth a tinker's imprecation.’

Armed with these antiquated firearms, we marched down the City Point Road to Jordan's Farm, some two or three miles below the city. We were a motley crew. No uniforms, battleflags, or shimmering bayonets invested us with the pomp, pride and circumstance of war. There were wanting even the shrill tootings of the fife and the taps of the drum to excite our martial enthusiasm, but there existed in the breasts of all, not that ardor which seeks only the ‘bubble reputation,’ but what was better, the earnest and determined resolve at all hazards and at all odds to defend their homes, their altars and their firesides.

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Anthony M. Keiley (1)
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