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Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Army Life in a Black Regiment, Chapter 10: life at camp Shaw. (search)
ce in being ordered on active service, where a few strokes of the pen will dispose of all this multiplicity of trappings as expended in action or lost in service. For one, the longer I remained in service, the better I appreciated the good sense of most of the regular army niceties. True, these things must all vanish when the time of action comes, but it is these things that have prepared you for action. Of course, if you dwell on them only, military life becomes millinery life alone. Kinglake says that the Russian Grand-Duke Constantine, contemplating his beautiful toy-regiments, said that he dreaded war, for he knew that it would spoil the troops. The simple fact is, that a soldier is like the weapon he carries; service implies soiling, but you must have it clean in advance, that when soiled it may be of some use. The men had that year a Christmas present which they enjoyed to the utmost,--furnishing the detail, every other day, for provost-guard duty in Beaufort. It was