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Abraham Lincoln (search for this): chapter 11
dered. After I had obtained the reluctant consent of my father to enlist,--my mother never gave hers,--the next step hecessary was to make selection of the organization with which to identify my fortunes. I well remember the to me eventful August evening when that decision to enlist was arrived at. The Union army, then under McClellan, had been driven from before Richmond in the disastrous Peninsular campaign, and now the Rebel army, under General Lee, was marching on Washington. President Lincoln had issued a call for three hundred thousand three-years' volunteers. One evening, shortly after this call was made, I met three of my former school-mates and neighbors in the chief village of the town I then called home, and, after a brief discussion of the outlook, one of the quartette challenged, or stumped, the others to enlist.. The challenge was promptly accepted all around, and hands were shaken to bind the agreement. I will add in passing, that three of the four stood by tha
Robert E. Lee (search for this): chapter 11
ds up directly to the theme about to be considered. After I had obtained the reluctant consent of my father to enlist,--my mother never gave hers,--the next step hecessary was to make selection of the organization with which to identify my fortunes. I well remember the to me eventful August evening when that decision to enlist was arrived at. The Union army, then under McClellan, had been driven from before Richmond in the disastrous Peninsular campaign, and now the Rebel army, under General Lee, was marching on Washington. President Lincoln had issued a call for three hundred thousand three-years' volunteers. One evening, shortly after this call was made, I met three of my former school-mates and neighbors in the chief village of the town I then called home, and, after a brief discussion of the outlook, one of the quartette challenged, or stumped, the others to enlist.. The challenge was promptly accepted all around, and hands were shaken to bind the agreement. I will add in
n. Instead of interposing an emphatic objection, as he had done the previous year, he said, in substance, Well, you know I do not want you to go, but it is very evident that a great many more must go, and if you have fully determined upon it I shall not object. Having already determined upon the arm of the service which I should enter, accompanied by three other acquaintances of the same opinion, two of them the school-fellows mentioned, I started for Cambridge, with a view of seeing Captain Porter, who was then at home recruiting for the First Massachusetts Battery, which he commanded, and enlisting with him, as there were at least two men in his company who were fellow-townsmen. But we were much disappointed when the Captain informed us that his company was now recruited to the number required. However, we directed our steps back to Boston without delay, and there, in the second story of the Old State House, enlisted in a new organization then rapidly filling. Here is a cop
ous object to observers. The drilling of raw recruits of both the classes mentioned was no small part of the trials that fell to the lot of billeted officers, for they got hold of some of the crookedest sticks to make straight military men of that the country-or, rather, countries--produced. Not the least among the obstacles in the way of making good soldiers of them was the fact that the recruits of 1864-5, in particular, included many who could neither speak nor understand a word of English. In referring to the disastrous battle of Reams Station, not long since, the late General Hancock told me that the Twentieth Massachusetts Regiment had received an accession of about two hundred German recruits only two or three days before the battle, not one of whom could understand the orders of their commanding officers. It can Drilling the awkward squad. be easily imagined how much time and patience would be required to mould such subjects as those into intelligent, reliable soldie
George B. McClellan (search for this): chapter 11
al history to illustrate what thousands of young men were doing at that time, and had been doing for months, as it leads up directly to the theme about to be considered. After I had obtained the reluctant consent of my father to enlist,--my mother never gave hers,--the next step hecessary was to make selection of the organization with which to identify my fortunes. I well remember the to me eventful August evening when that decision to enlist was arrived at. The Union army, then under McClellan, had been driven from before Richmond in the disastrous Peninsular campaign, and now the Rebel army, under General Lee, was marching on Washington. President Lincoln had issued a call for three hundred thousand three-years' volunteers. One evening, shortly after this call was made, I met three of my former school-mates and neighbors in the chief village of the town I then called home, and, after a brief discussion of the outlook, one of the quartette challenged, or stumped, the others t
X. Raw recruits. She asked for men, and up he spoke, my handsome and hearty Sam, “I'll die for the dear old Union, if she'll take me as I am ”: And if a better man than he there's mother that can show, From Maine to Minnesota, then let the people know. Lucy Larcom. Many facts bearing upon the subject of this sketch have been already presented in the opening chapter, but much more remains to be told, and the reader will pardon me, I trust, for now injecting a little bit of personal history to illustrate what thousands of young men were doing at that time, and had been doing for months, as it leads up directly to the theme about to be considered. After I had obtained the reluctant consent of my father to enlist,--my mother never gave hers,--the next step hecessary was to make selection of the organization with which to identify my fortunes. I well remember the to me eventful August evening when that decision to enlist was arrived at. The Union army, then under McClellan, had b
burden and responsibility of the closing wrestle for the mastery necessarily fell largely on the shoulders of the men who bared their breasts for the first time in 1861, ‘62, and ‘63. I have thus far spoken of a recruit in the usual sense of a man enlisted to fill a vacancy in an organization already in the field. But this sehe advantage of pecuniary and other inducements, without which many would not have been made. For patriotism unstimulated by hope of reward saw high-water mark in 1861, and rapidly receded in succeeding years, so that whereas men enlisted in 1861 and early in ‘62 because they wanted to go, and without hope of reward, later in ‘621861 and early in ‘62 because they wanted to go, and without hope of reward, later in ‘62 towns and individuals began to offer bounties to stimulate lagging enlistments, varying in amount from $10 to $300; and increased in ‘63 and ‘64 until, by the addition of State bounties, a recruit, enlisting for a year, received in the fall of ‘64 from $700 to $1000 in some instances. It was this large bounty which l
rs began to settle down and accept the inevitable, taking lessons in something new every day. It will be readily seen, I think, that the men composing the earliest regiments and batteries had also their trials to endure, and they were many; for not only they but their superiors were learning by rough experience the art of war. They were, in a sense, achieving greatness, while the recruits had greatness thrust upon them, often at short notice. Furthermore, recruits from the latter part of 1862 forward went out with a knowledge of much which they must undergo in the line of hardship and privation, which the first rallies had to learn by actual experience. And while it may be said that it took more courage for men to go with the stern facts of actual war confronting them than when its realities were unknown to them, yet it is also true that many of these later enlistments were made under the advantage of pecuniary and other inducements, without which many would not have been made.
doing it, only as the recruits in some instances provoked it. There was a song composed during the war, entitled the Raw recruit, sung to the tune of Abraham's Daughter, which I am wholly unable to recall, but a snatch of the first verse, or its parody, ran about as follows:--I'm a raw recruit, with a bran‘--new suit, Nine hundred dollars bounty, And I've come down from Darbytown To fight for Oxford County. The name of the town and county were varied to suit the circumstances. In 1863 a draft was ordered to fill the ranks of the army, as volunteers did not come for- Drafted. ward rapidly enough to meet the exigencies of the service. Men of means, if drafted, hired a substitute, as allowed by law, to go in their stead, when patriotism failed to set them in motion. Many of these substitutes did good service, while others became deserters immediately after enlisting. Conscription was never more unpopular than when enforced upon American citizens at this time. Here is
for they got hold of some of the crookedest sticks to make straight military men of that the country-or, rather, countries--produced. Not the least among the obstacles in the way of making good soldiers of them was the fact that the recruits of 1864-5, in particular, included many who could neither speak nor understand a word of English. In referring to the disastrous battle of Reams Station, not long since, the late General Hancock told me that the Twentieth Massachusetts Regiment had recein, for what they could not help — by being subjected to the knapsack drill, of which I have already spoken. It was a prudential circumstance that the war came to an end when it did, for the quality of the material that was sent to the army in 1864 and 1865 was for the most part of no credit or value to any arm of the service. The period of enlistments from promptings of patriotism had gone by, and the man who entered the army solely from mercenary motives was of little or no assistance to
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