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Title: The Camp-life of the Third Regiment
Author: Kerlin, Robert T.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Illustration: CHAPLAIN ROBERT T. KERLIN.]



DEDICATION


To the brave, true, and generous-hearted boys, my comrades and friends,
of the Third Missouri Volunteers, who offered their lives for country in
the cause of humanity.



THE CAMP-LIFE OF THE THIRD REGIMENT.


BY CHAPLAIN ROBERT T. KERLIN.


1898.
HUDSON-KIMBERLY PUB. CO.
KANSAS CITY, MO.



PREFACE.


What is camp-life like? What did we do? How did we fare? What scenes,
incidents, and episodes occurred? These are questions everyone wishes
answered by somebody who "saw it all." If one cannot paint, one should
have the dramatic skill of a Schiller to render all this picturesque
manner of life worthily vivid to the reader. How rich it is in its free
manifestations of human nature! No restraint here upon one's being and
seeming to be what he is. The qualities, good and bad, of our common
humanity, therefore, appear unrestrained by the conventionalities,
undisguised by the false glosses of civil society. All here has reverted
to primitive conditions.

Enter the camp with me, if you will, and we shall watch together this
moving panorama of soldier life; we shall see and hear and feel what as
visions and impressions will remain with us forever--and not painfully
so altogether, either on account of the evils or the hardships, for
everywhere the good is more than the evil and the hardships are endured
as by brave soldiers. If your heart be sound and good, as the examining
surgeon assured me mine was; if you appreciate the immense significance
of this national uprising in arms in the cause of humanity; and if you
assume, as you rightly should, that this high motive has mainly
influenced these men to enlist and offer their lives--then the scenes of
the army shall be to you unforgettable evidences of the life energies
awakened and the ideals vivified of a people hitherto supposed to be
hopelessly materialistic in their thoughts and mercenary in their ways.

The contents of this little book, with the exception of two brief
chapters, are letters that were written in camp from time to time and
published in different newspapers. It is thought best to present them
just as they originally appeared, believing they will thereby most
faithfully and vividly bring the characteristics of camp-life before the
reader.

ROBERT T. KERLIN, _Chaplain_.



CONTENTS.

                                                             Page
Dedication                                                      3

Preface                                                         7

Valedictory                                                     9

Letters from Camp:
    I. Panoramic View                                          11
   II. Ole Virginny; Fun in Camp                               20
  III. A Little More Fun; Some Trouble                         25
   IV. Various Things--All Interesting                         31
    V. Joy and Sorrow; A Little Sermon                         39
   VI. The Thoroughfare March and Encampment in the Slough
         of Despond                                            47

Significance of the War                                        53

Chronology                                                     57

List of the Dead                                               58



VALEDICTORY.


Much more remains for the historian, whoever he shall be, of the Third
Regiment yet to relate, which things, some pleasant and forever
memorable, some unpleasant and perhaps unforgettable, shall here not be
so much as suggested. The writer's inclinations are all toward quietude
and harmony; his limitations, besides, are imperative in forbidding. At
Thoroughfare Gap he fell sick of a fever and was _hors de combat_ during
the subsequent encampment there and at Middletown, Pa. He has,
therefore, been unable to detail from first-hand knowledge the later and
less pleasing experiences of the regiment. The facts, by all concerned,
are too well known to require a further _exposé_. When he believed that
his pen could be of genuine service to the regiment, he wrote without
thought of fear or favor; he would again so write did the circumstances
seem to him to require it; that is, if justice to any demanded it and
good should be accomplished by it. By these principles let us ever be
guided.

The war is over; so let the sweet-smelling incense of comradeship and
fraternity rise on a common altar of Peace.

       *       *       *       *       *

And now the Chaplain, in bidding his comrades farewell, would make his
final words to them worthy of their remembrance, safe for their
guidance, and strong for their support to the very end of life. For six
months in camp he sought to be their moral guide, their spiritual
pastor, and their faithful ministrant in every need of body, mind, and
heart. He would still be their counsellor, their friend and helper. As
when in camp opportunity could be found he talked to them of the Way of
Life, warned them against vice as destructive, encouraged and exhorted
them to virtue as only safe and wise, and tried to bring high and pure
influences into their lives, so now at parting he would seek to give
them a message of friendship, a token of perpetual comradeship in
spirit, and would make known to them his great solicitude for their
individual welfare, temporal and eternal. Again, and for the last time
probably, he would entreat them to be courageous in the days of peace
and in civic duties as they were in times of war and in the exactions of
a military camp. Having faith in the boys, believing them to be his
friends and prizing their friendship as his abundant reward for all he
sought to do for them, he would now say, out of a heart of anxiety that
each one of them may prosper in peaceful life and as a brave soldier
come to the end of his earthly career victorious in all manner of
virtue: Be strong and of good courage; be fearless champions of all that
is right, true, and good; espouse and maintain the cause of the just, of
the weak, and of the oppressed; resist the proud and the cruel; be an
uncompromising foe of evil in all its forms; cherish for yourselves high
and worthy ideals; strengthen your wills and gather moral force by manly
resistance of wrong and by high achievement of good; strive against bad
habits--conquer them if you are brave and wise, else they will conquer
you; be loyal to what you have known from childhood to be the wise
teachings of all good men. Finally, soldiers, follow Him who dared to
die, alone, forsaken, upon the Cross of Calvary, that He might bring
truth, love, mercy, righteousness, redemption to mankind. Follow Him!
FOLLOW HIM!



I.

PANORAMIC VIEW.


For a week, in Camp Alger, the boys of the Third have been clearing a
forest, digging wells, building kitchen arbors and adobe furnaces,
spading and raking about the tents and making themselves beds and other
household conveniences out of the materials afforded by the forest
primeval. From where I am now sitting, underneath the tall pines, in
front of my tent, which a squad are putting in order, you can see a
string of boys moving in this way or that, bearing logs from the
clearing, or carrying a long pole toward the companies' quarters; while
in the valley beyond the tents the Third New York is drilling to the
music of bugle and drum, and a forest of oak trees rises beyond. Camp
Alger occupies an old Virginia plantation of 1500 acres, about ten miles
from Washington. But it is not under garden-like cultivation, as the
name and location might suggest. It is a wilderness, with here and there
a narrow winding road and a small open field. The various
regiments--some twenty odd--are located in this vast, uncared-for
estate, just where open space can be found or made. Ours was placed to
the west of those already in the ground when we came, and assigned a
little field of about 10 acres in extent. The Third New York is encamped
along the north side of this field, while we are along the west, and
both regiments use it for exercise. The old manor house lies south of us
about half a mile. The newer part of the house was built early in this
century of brick brought from England, while the older part belongs to
the last century, and is built of wood. It is, of course, a historic
place, and the lady of the manor told me many interesting things
concerning the country around. One of the smooth, sandy roads winding
through the estate was made by Washington; another is called "Gallows'
Lane," because, during the civil war, so many Union pickets met their
fate there at the hands of Col. Mosby's men.

The Third does not have so many visitors at Camp Alger as it had at
Jefferson Barracks, and the "producer," that is, the young lady who
brings a box of dainties to her soldier laddie, is conspicuously absent.
Still, we have not been wholly neglected. Several Missourians living in
Washington, among them some congressmen, have visited us. They speak of
our regiment in the highest terms of praise, and promise to use their
influence to get us early to the front. As for ourselves, having a good
opinion of our rank, we expect to be among the first on Cuban soil.

I do not know what impression the newspaper accounts of the Third have
made upon your minds, but the impression everywhere made by the boys
themselves has been extremely favorable. Every one I talked with in St.
Louis, spoke in highest praise of the gentlemanly behavior of the
Third--in contrast, I am sorry to say, to some other regiments. And it
was so all along our journey eastward. Wherever we stopped any length of
time, as at Louisville, Cincinnati and Parkersburg, the papers spoke in
the most commendatory terms of our men. We were at Parkersburg nearly a
whole day, and "took in" the town. The dailies of that place each gave
us a column write-up that made us feel proud of the standard of conduct
maintained by our regiment.

If a spectacular, dramatic representation of the Third Regiment in Camp
Alger could be put upon the stage it would be more than the success of
the season. I suggest this as an opportunity for any Missourian whose
aspirations tend toward the dramatic in literature. The writer would
have only to be a faithful copyist with enough of the artist's sense and
imaginative faculty to select the characteristic and telling features,
and present them on a thread of romance. Let me just go about with him a
day and show him what he could work into a fine spectacular performance.

First, the general scene shall be a vast wilderness of pines, cedars,
oaks and chestnuts, and other forest trees, with a tangled undergrowth
of vines, ferns, mosses, blackberry bushes, shrub honeysuckle, laurel
and other flowering plants; narrow, sandy roads, worn deep into the red
soil by a century of travel, wind through this wilderness; and here and
there as they lead, in their windings, over hill and vale, through deep
shades, crossing now and then a clear, rippling stream to which
thrushes sing and where mosses and ferns cluster thickly to the water's
edge, there should appear in the great forest a little open field, whose
yellow soil lies broken into furrows only in strips, indicating to what
extent farming had been carried when the government laid hold upon the
vast old estate for an army camp.

The Third Regiment shall be placed at the western edge of a small field
that opens in the midst of a wilderness and slopes gently southward and
eastward toward spring-fed streams that are hidden by shrubbery and
fringed by many ferns. The time shall be a day in June, and the action
shall open with the rising of the sun. From the higher ground, where the
staff officers' tents are situated at the extreme west side under the
towering oaks and pines, we shall watch the sun appear above the wooded
hill to the east and drive away the white mist in the vale below, while
the wild birds, the robins and thrushes, are greeting the dawn with
happy lays. The mess fires beyond the tents are started, and in the
still air of morning their columns of smoke rise and outspread tall and
graceful.

Hark! The bugle sounds the first call. How it thrills the very soul and
makes you feel all the grand opportunity of the new day, awakening the
old hope never dead, and kindling enthusiasm for life's enterprises ever
new! Who would not waken to hear it, however sweet his morning slumbers
might be to him? waken to hear, though he should turn over upon his
canvas cot and float away into dreamland again with the inspiring notes
still echoing through his soul. But if he lies awake he will hear from
one quarter "Dixie," it may be, played by the band of some other
regiment; shortly afterward, "The Star-Spangled Banner" by another, and
then the drum corps of our New York neighbors will make sleep utterly
impossible. Then follows our full bugle corps, with revéille proper:


     I can't get 'em up, I can't get 'em up,
         I can't get 'em up this morning;
     I can't get 'em up, I can't get 'em up,
         I can't get 'em up at all.

     The corporal's worse than the private,
     The sergeant's worse than the corporal,
     The lieutenant's worse than the sergeant,
         But the captain's worst of all.

     Oh, I can't get 'em up, I can't get 'em up,
     I can't get 'em up in the morning;
     I can't get 'em up, I can't get 'em up,
         I can't get 'em up at all.


Then the camp is as alive as a swarm of bees, with a similar hum and
buzz of mingled noises. A thousand soldiers in a half-hour's time have
dressed, performed their simple toilet--a close-shorn head in many
instances enabling a towel to render adequate service as comb and brush,
and formed into company lines to respond with a lusty "Here!" to the
call of their names--soon after to be swinging their guns or clapping
their hands in calisthenic drills.

The bugle-call to mess is not so musical, and, put into words, is not so
poetical, as some of the others, but it serves the intended purpose. It
goes as follows:


     Porkee, porkee, porkee without any lean;
     Soupee, soupee, soupee without any bean;
     Coffee, coffee, coffee the worst ever seen!


After morning mess you may see a variety of scenes characteristic of
camp life. You will see a "fatigue" squad lined up before the Sergeant
Major's tent to receive orders for duty around headquarters. They will
rake the yard and roll up the side-curtains of the tents, clear away
some brush, or make some improvement in our sylvan settlement. Here and
there in officers' tents you will see the various school
assembled--schools for every rank from major of battalion to the
non-commissioned officers. And they will study their little blue-backed
"Drill Regulations" as diligently as in days gone by they studied their
blue-backed spellers.

At 9 o'clock, say, a battalion marches out of camp to take exercise in
the field. While it is performing its evolutions you may perhaps see a
skirmishing squad break from the edge of the forest somewhere about,
and, with a terrifying yell, make a sudden attack upon the enemy. Across
that young peach orchard yonder to our south you will see another
company advance by repeated short swift runs and sudden stops, falling
each time flat upon the ground to fire, thus driving the foe from the
field and winning the day against fearful odds. At 11:30, thirsty,
perspiring and dust-begrimed, they come hastily into camp, clash their
guns down and look for all the world as though they had just come back
from the war. They have met the Spaniards in the field and "routed them
and scouted them, nor lost a single man."

When distinguished visitors come to our camp our regimental band comes
up to do them honor, and they play, as only this band can, to the
delight of all who cover the hillslopes of Camp Alger within hearing.
"Ben Bolt," "Margery," "The Merry American," "The Stars and Stripes
Forever," and other favorites are finely rendered, but most beautiful of
all is their hunting song, with its bugle echo and imitation of the
chase resounding through the woods:


     A hunting we will go,
     A hunting we will go,
     A hunting we will go,
     Tantivy, tantivy, tantivy,


And then the barking of the dogs and noise of the pursuers and the
capture of the quarry.

At 6:30 we have dress parade. Our stage manager may not be able to
present this effectively. He would require the services of an entire
university corps of students as "supes." The three battalions of four
companies each, preceded by the band and bugle corps, march, after some
field movements, before the mounted staff. This is the most imposing
warlike spectacle to be exhibited.

After this the boys are free. Soon their tents, viewed from
headquarters, will present a diversified and interesting scene. Three
hundred white canvas houses, dimly lit within by tallow candles, the
mess fires glowing underneath their arbors beyond, white-aproned cooks
moving about them, and everywhere groups of boys engaged in all manner
of amusement in the several company lanes--this is the picture--a sort
of Midway Plaisance.

We shall place some of these scenes before you upon the stage. There
will be no order or formality, but a jolly, free-for-all. Everybody
knows, however, who can entertain and what everybody can do, though the
amount and variety of artistic talent among these thousand boys is
something surprising. We shall first have a mandolin and guitar duet,
and this will bring a small group together. B---- B---- will then be
called for, and he will increase the crowd. Taking the guitar in hand he
will sing some comic darky songs in his inimitable way. "The Warmest
Baby in the Bunch" will be called for, then a half dozen others all at
once. The medley of titles of popular songs will take the crowd best.
C---- will then do some whistling. You will think a mocking bird is in
camp. Such chirping, warbling and piping you will say you never heard,
except, possibly, from thrushes, robins and mocking birds. Then D----
will be called for. D---- is an Irishman, a true son of Erin. He has
been with Barnum as a clown, and now has chosen the army for its freer
life. D---- is a splendid fellow. I count him as one of my best friends.
Our acquaintance came about in this way:

One evening at Jefferson Barracks, before many of the boys in his
company came to recognize me, dressed as I was in citizen's clothes, I
joined a promiscuous crowd in their lane where they were having an
impromptu entertainment. "The Girl I Left Behind Me," "The Old Oaken
Bucket," and other songs that appeal tenderly to the universal heart,
had been sung, and that, too, remarkably well. D---- was called for. He
placed one foot upon a pine box lying in the center of the circle and
started out upon a song that for its pathos touched each heart. In fact,
D---- was in a pathetic way that evening. What was our astonishment and
chagrin when D---- turned about fierce as a jungle cat, and began
swearing like a mule driver. What had happened to evoke such wrath and
malediction? A half mile away some boys were greeting the 4th, just then
arriving, with vociferous cheering; near by some boys of a neighboring
company were thrumming quietly upon a guitar and a mandolin.
D---- explained, mainly in words which not even Kipling was ever
realistic enough to string together, that he never could begin doing
anything without those "curs" in the neighboring company starting up
some noise. D---- was not in the rest of the evening's performance. No
amount of persuasion could induce him to proceed. D---- was really not
in a happy mood. And though you could not consider his resentment as at
all just, anybody would have sympathized with him and have tried to
reason away his delusion. But in vain. A few days after I saw D---- by
daylight; he recognized me and we had a pleasant little chat. He was all
right. Again I saw him, and he had a patch on his face. The "farm
house," just outside the reservation, had got the best of D----. Still
he and the chaplain are good friends, for D---- has a good heart.

So D---- comes upon the stage and sings, making some fine local hits.
Now his song will make you weep, because you can't laugh any more, then
another will make you cry for the world of pathos in it, and, as you
must think, in his heart, too. If you have a heart yourself to
appreciate and sympathize with every brother man you will feel, deep
down in it like saying, "God bless you, D----, and give you joy."

Then H----, tall, gaunt, sallow and dry, will recite "St. Peter at the
Gate;" S---- will render "The Picture on the Barroom Floor;" N---- will
perform on the flute; a half-dozen couples will give a cake-walk, the
ladies being distinguished by a handkerchief tied over the head and a
poncho around the waist, and better walking you must admit you never
saw. Then regretfully we hear the bugle sound tattoo; in fifteen minutes
"quarters" will sound, and, in yet another quarter of an hour, "taps."

Some sacred songs are now called for. The chaplain has been present at
all the performance, and his interest and delight have been unfeigned.
It may be some boy has let slip a word he wouldn't have spoken if the
light had been bright, revealing the chaplain.

It may be a hot drop of tallow has fallen upon the hand of some fellow
and burnt it while he was intently listening to a song; then he may have
spoken hastily. He afterward comes and asks the chaplain's pardon. The
whole affair--the various performances and the conduct of the boys,
courteous, free and jolly, has been gratifying to the chaplain, and he
tells them so, adding a word of encouragement and of counsel. All the
boys now want to sing the favorite song of the camp. We, perhaps, have
sung "Rock of Ages," "Yield Not to Temptation," and other old familiar
hymns, for they like these best. But now they want to sing, "Nearer My
God to Thee," which, because it is best of all, we have put off to the
last. Then, with a brief prayer, it may be, for God's blessing upon the
soldier boys, and for His protection and guidance, the chaplain
dismisses them, while, with heads bowed in reverence, under the stars,
heaven's solemn peace seems to have descended upon them.

Then the most beautiful of all the bugle calls sounds out into the
stillness of the night. It is "taps." How melodiously it invites to
sweet and peaceful rest. The words but feebly suggest the mellow notes
of the bugle:


     Love, good night; must thou go,
     When the day and the night need thee so?
       All is well, hasten all to their rest.


Many things that would be interesting features in a spectacular
performance would have to be left out, I fear. You could not, for
example, present upon the stage our last Sunday morning's 8 o'clock
service. But what pertaining to the whole camp could be more important
from any point of view? The marching of the company squads in almost
full, though voluntary attendance, to the grove, and taking an easy
position on the grass about the improvised pulpit beneath the tall
forest trees, the inspiring music, the respectful, unbroken and solemn
attention given to the sermon, the profound impression, deepened by the
response given by some who came forward to witness before all to their
acceptance of the Savior Christ and their purpose to follow Him, then
the evening service of song, at which still others, with the like
courageous and noble decision make choice of the true way of life--this,
taken along with the fact that the boys of this regiment are manly,
high-spirited and well-behaved, would be impressive, though only
suggested by words.

A true presentation of the Third would, I think, give assurance to many
a mother, sister and sweetheart, anxious and prayerful for the welfare
of her soldier boy. She would see, for the most part, a sturdy,
generous-hearted, gentlemanly, though sun-embrowned and rollicking body
of young men--respectful to citizens and officers, kind, though
sometimes rough to one another, eager for "fun or trouble," which means
a campaign anywhere against the Spaniards, and stirred generally by a
noble motive that enables them to endure hardships like a good soldier.

If the friends of these boys care to know how their present pastor feels
about the whole matter he can put it in one sentence, which he hopes
will give assurance to anxious hearts. Well, then, he takes a hopeful
view of every situation, he has faith in the better and nobler qualities
of human nature, and to these, by one means and another, always makes
his appeal. He enjoys camp life, though fully aware of all the evils he
has to oppose. He enjoys his pastoral work--call it not work--his
friendly comradeship, with the boys. He is hopeful, he is encouraged by
results, and always encouraging. He is thankful to Almighty God for the
true and generous responses these noble-hearted soldier boys make to the
good influences he seeks to bring into their lives. May their loved and
loving ones at home write them letters of good cheer and good counsel,
and encourage them to be as brave in championing the cross of Christ as
they certainly will be in fighting for the flag of their country.



II.

OLD VIRGINY.


It is reported in camp that the New Yorkers, the first night after our
arrival and encampment near them, slept on their guns, with bayonets
ready for defense. They supposed that of course we were cowboys and
toughs, coming as we did from the Indian village at the mouth of the
Kaw. As a matter of fact, however, the West, in the rural districts
especially, is further removed from primitive condition than the East,
whether that be New England or Virginia. These Virginia homesteads
indeed are old; but they have reverted, as it were, to nature's
dominion, and are covered with a second growth of timber and a tangle of
blackberry vines. Here and there you will see a little meadow white with
daisies and fringed with wild roses, or a cultivated field with
potatoes, corn or wheat growing in it; but how different does the
yellow, stony soil, and the scanty growth thereon, appear from what one
sees in Missouri. And you will see them plowing with a single horse or
mule and the old single-shovel plow. Eastern Virginia is like another
world to one of us Westerners. To-day a party of us explored the country
hereabouts. First we went to an old homestead about two miles south of
our camp to see some old Canton chinaware and colonial furniture which I
discovered some days ago. It was the possession of the family of
Masons--one of the F. F. Vs. They showed us a gold-hilted sword that was
used by Gen. John Mason in the war of 1812. They had old mirrors,
sideboards and tables; old hand-made blue china, over a century old;
candelabra that in their day cost from $50 to $75, and now, by age, are
much enhanced in value; a grandfather's clock that stood on the floor
and reached the ceiling, and kept time for the first generation of the
republic; and old high-post bedsteads, in which the great-grandparents
of many a Missouri boy now at Camp Alger, may have slept. A picture of
this old homestead would be interesting to Westerners if it could be
faithfully rendered. The old, deep-cut, yellow road winds around the
north slope of the hill southward of the house a few hundred yards. From
this the road leading to the house goes down across a small, sparkling
stream well fed by springs which you can see here and there in the green
slopes of the hills. The house stands under a deep shade of lofty and
wide-spreading chestnuts. It is painted white, of course. All of these
Virginia houses are so painted or whitewashed. The outhouses are
numerous, and likewise exhibit a liberal use of whitewash and white
paint. The spring house--that's never wanting on one of these
homesteads--the smoke house, the lumber house--which is usually built of
logs and was once doubtless a negro cabin--hen house, barns, etc., all
looking clean and bright and beautiful in their green setting.

From the Mason homestead we went to an old mill which I had found out
when some days ago I visited the outposts. The old mill has not ground
any corn, I presume, for a generation. Its mossy roof threatens to
tumble in; the old wooden water wheel is falling to ruin, its wooden
cogs are fast disappearing. It is a century and a half old. The lady in
whose family the mill has always been, and who now lives near it, where
her parents, grandparents and great-grandparents before her lived,
related to us to-day that Washington, when a young man, came along while
they were building the stone foundation and said: "Boys, what are you
building here? An Indian fort?" When told that it was a mill, he said it
would serve them also as a fort and refuge against the Indians. The
nails that now but feebly hold the decaying boards to the massive
timbers of the frame were hand-made. Visitors esteem these, or a wooden
cog, or some other old iron or piece of wood, as a valuable souvenir.
The dwelling house of the owner stands on the steep hillside a few steps
away. As you climb up to it you pass the whitewashed spring house, the
old ash hopper, the old-fashioned bee hives, all in the midst of
blossoming shrubbery, and come to a door under the large-timbered but
cozy old veranda, and look into a low ceilinged room of which the
whitewashed joists are unhewn logs. While we enjoy the fresh milk and
strawberry pies they set before us, we use our eyes, looking with
delight about us upon the old-time things.

It can rain as hard here as at Jefferson Barracks. The night after our
arrival, and before the tents were ditched, it rained cats and dogs. The
quarters of several companies were inundated--it was easy to get a bath,
plunge or shower. One boy sat in his tent perched up on a box with his
shoes by the side of him, while the waters swirled around. A shoe was
accidentally knocked off and was being hurried away--he makes a run and
a splash for it, and returns successful--to find the box with the other
shoe swept away into the darkness. He took it philosophically, telling
his friends next day that he "went to sleep in the army and woke in the
navy."

To-night we were given a free entertainment in Company G lane. It
consisted mostly of dancing. First we had the old Virginia reel, and it
was given in grand style. The fiddling brought back the scenes of the
country picnic and Fourth of July of our boyhood. There was one musical
feature, however, that was new. One of the boys, with a lead pencil in
each hand, sat by the fiddler and thumped on the strings and produced
all the effects of a banjo perfectly. Then they gave us a cake-walk.
There were some half-dozen couples that entered the contest. The ladies
wore blue-checked handkerchiefs on their heads and poncho skirts. Do not
believe any report saying that the boys of the Third are discontented
and unhappy. Go down through the company lanes any evening and see what
they are doing. You will see a great many writing, some reading, some
playing cards, but most of them will be engaged in some out-door
amusement. Their amusements are continually varying. At St. Louis it was
"leap-frog;" now it is "tug-of-war." "Cock fighting" and "bull fighting"
are also amusements, and are said to be very entertaining. We are
invited to see some of this to-morrow evening. Of course, the fighting
is all between the boys, and when they represent the chickens--as the
thing has been described to me--they are so fixed that they tumble all
over themselves at the lightest touch. You will hear a great many funny
things said, it doesn't matter what the boys are doing. A circus is not
more delightful.

Mascots of every imaginable sort--pigs, chickens, cats, dogs, rabbits,
terrapins, goats, small boys--are a special feature of camp life. Odd
characters, too, are quite as common. I will tell you of one--a
"character"--that belongs to Company E. He must have been picked up, I
think, as a sort of mascot. He imitates a pig in all its swinish habits
of grunting, squealing, and being unclean.

At Jefferson Barracks a dozen times a day I looked up to see where that
pig was. You could not help thinking one was in camp and was very hungry
at that. His face, when you saw him, confirmed the deception. A hungry
pig following a pail of buttermilk after one taste is not more piggish
than this poor boy. On a recent evening, when I was present at a mixed
entertainment, consisting of mandolin and guitar music, singing,
reciting, etc., "Piggy," as he calls himself, attempted to play his
rôle, coming out and getting down in the center of the circle, but he
didn't take. The boys were plainly tired of him and called him down. He
strongly suggested the court fool of the middle ages. This is the best
that could be said of him, an object of extreme pity. What now, after
this boy has so long aspired only to amuse people by playing so abject a
rôle, at which he has learned to succeed so perfectly--what yet are his
human possibilities? Well, that night after singing, his captain invited
me in to sit with him awhile, and I referred to this boy, whereupon he
related this incident of him. He said that a few days before the "pig"
had sent for him to come to the guard house, where, for some
misdemeanor, he had been incarcerated, and shoot him. The captain found
him all broken up--the human was asserting itself in tears--for man is
not only the animal that laughs, but the animal that weeps also; and
this particular one was proving himself by his tears a man. The boy
said: "Captain, I want you to take me out and shoot me. I would rather
you would just kill me than to treat me the way you do." The captain was
astonished and asked what he meant. He replied: "Why, you didn't speak
to me this morning when I spoke; you just ignored me as if I was nobody.
I would rather you'd take me out and shoot me." His captain then
explained to him that it was an army rule not to speak to any one in
disgrace, and so gave the poor boy relief. The human sense of
self-respect was not extinct, but when awakened, was even very strong in
this deluded, ignorant boy; which is another confirmation of my
fundamental doctrine and principal of action. There are two things I
have supreme faith in: The first is human nature, and the second is
Christ's method of dealing with it. These two faiths must not be
separated, if they are to remain true and practicable. Only Christ's way
of approaching and appealing to men calls forth the good that is in
them. To have faith in Christ, that is, in His way and His doctrine,
implies, on the other hand, faith in humanity. Whoever will follow
Christ's method and show His spirit, His tact, faith and love will find
human nature nine parts good to one part evil and responsive in kind to
every appeal. To awaken the good that is in every man, is the true work
of salvation, and that is done in but one way--that is Christ's. Lowell
expressed it all in these words:


     "Be noble and the nobleness that lies
     In others, sleeping but not dead, will rise
     In majesty to meet thine own."


The kind of treatment we receive at the hands of others is, in the main,
the reflection of our own deeds and thoughts.



III.

FUN AND TROUBLE.


"Guard mounting" is the most ceremonious feature of the daily routine of
the camp. It occurs at 1 o'clock each day, and occupies almost an hour.
The entire band and bugle corps make the ceremony beautiful and
impressive, for all the time that the inspection is in process the band
plays its patriotic airs and the bugles sound their calls and marches.
The old guard, which has been on duty for twenty-four hours, is
relieved, and a new guard assembled upon the parade, and after each has
undergone thorough inspection, and the officers in command have made
report in formal military manner, the new guard, preceded by the blaring
bugles, goes to the guard house to be instructed in general and special
orders, and thence detailed to their several posts. The guard is
composed of details from each of the twelve companies, in numbers
according to the requirements of the camp. Our camp at present, with
twenty odd posts, requires above seventy men and officers. There is a
captain in general command as officer of the day, a lieutenant who is
officer of the guard, a sergeant, and a corporal for each of the three
reliefs, for the entire sentry force is divided into three parties, each
serving in turn two hours and resting four. While, therefore, there is a
circuit of outposts extending around all Camp Alger, yet each particular
regiment thus has its own circuit of sentinels, who by day and by night
pace their beat and challenge those who pass the lines either way,
determining whether, according to orders, the passers-by have a right to
proceed. A few nights since, in company with the officers of the guard,
I made the circuit of our own posts, in order to learn by actual
experience how they performed their duties. It may be asked, Why is
guard mounting attended with so much of "the pomp and circumstance of
war?" So I asked, and the answer from a "regular" army officer was
this: "Why, there is no more serious responsibility laid upon any one
than upon the sentinels. The safety of the entire camp depends upon
their faithfulness. This ceremony is designed to impress them with a
sense of the immense responsibility resting upon them."

A funny thing happened in the Third New York shortly after our arrival
here. The officer of the guard, on his round giving instructions, passed
by a raw guard and told him that the countersign would now be
discontinued. After awhile the officer on his way back was challenged by
this guard and asked for the countersign. You can imagine that the
officer was somewhat surprised at this. But the guard was firm, and
insisted that he should give the countersign or stay outside the lines.
"Why," protested the officer, "I just now told you there was no
countersign." "You told me," rejoined the innocent and faithful-minded
guard, "you told me the countersign would be 'discontinued.'"

These boys joke at every situation. While cutting cedar boughs to make
himself a bed the next morning after arriving here, a boy returned my
greeting with the proverb: "Yes, a gambler's life; one day the turkey,
the next day the feathers." It sounded like a proverb, but for all I
know it was original and new.

The guard house suggests some good stories I heard two evenings ago,
when I stopped in to see who was there. I found about twenty boys, the
most of whom were in for over-staying their leave in the city or for
going without leave. But one who called himself a Dutchman was in, as he
related, on the following score: The officers of the day and of the
guard were on a round of inspection. When they approached his post he
called, "Halt, who goes there?" The answer came, "Officers." He sends
off straightway for the corporal of the guard. Of course he should have
said, "Advance and be recognized." They told him this, and his reply
cost him a few dollars and a few days in the guard house. It was, "All
officers look alike in the dark to me. I wouldn't advance the Lord
Cromwell unless I could see him."

The relation of his experience started the boys to telling stories, and
for an hour we had a pleasant time. One story was of a sentinel, who,
having halted a man and received to his query, "Who goes there?" the
answer, "A friend with a bottle," commanded, "Advance, uncork the
bottle, and let it be recognized!" It was said that the guard was unable
to more than half-way recognize the bottle and so sent for the corporal
who satisfied himself entirely as to the other half. The "moonshine"
about here, it may be remarked, is called "two-step"--presumably because
after taking a dram of it a fellow doesn't take more than two steps
without tumbling. Another story equally well represents phases of camp
life. The sentry posts of Camp Alger are usually in pretty stumpy
places. One night one of the officers, just about the time a sentinel
called out, "Who goes there?" having stumped his toe, exclaimed, "Jesus
Christ!" The guard, according to one version, said, "Advance and be
recognized!" According to another version, he called for the corporal to
turn out the chaplain! That seemed to him to be the appropriate thing to
do. On another occasion when an officer exclaimed, "the devil," a
similar call was made for the chaplain to turn out and meet his satanic
majesty, who had arrived in camp.

If you would find out what is going on in camp, go some time to the
guard house when a large crowd has been "run in," not for any very
heinous offense, but for something which they try to justify themselves
in, and say they would do again. The crowd will be lively and good
hearted, and will have nothing to do but to tell and hear stories. One
story on any particular phase of camp life will be a starter; then they
follow fast. And the boys will be glad you came if you have chatted with
them in a free and sociable way, and will give you a hearty invitation
back again.[A]

Last night I accompanied Capt. C----, the commanding officer of the
guard, around the sentry circuit of the camp. In the evening I was at
the guard house, where two prisoners were immured for a little
difficulty they had had, and the captain asked me if I would not like
to make this round with him. Wishing to know all about it, I met him at
10:30 and we went out through the dark. We were halted by every one of
the fifteen sentinels. "Halt! Who goes there?" "Friends," I would
answer, or, "Officers of the camp." "Advance one and be recognized,"
would be the sentry's response. Then I would advance, and at the
bayonet's point stand till he recognized me or said he could not, and I
told him who I was. Then I told my companion to advance, while the guard
held his gun at port. The sentries made a great many mistakes, as might
be expected. Sometimes they said simply, "Advance," instead of "Advance
one;" then we both advanced. The captain thereupon showed him the danger
of that. Sometimes I was permitted, when ordered to advance, to go right
up to the sentry without his drawing down his gun upon me. The captain
would then show him how he exposed himself by that error. Thus he
instructed each of the sentinels on duty. One of the "rookies" the other
day made a funny blunder. A general instruction to the sentinel is "to
walk his post in a military manner, and to salute all commissioned
officers and all standards and colors uncased." Wishing to get it fixed
firmly in his mind, this guard kept repeating it over and over to
himself. The result was that at last he got the word "millinery"
hopelessly substituted for "military" and in spite of himself would say
"colored officers" instead of "commissioned officers." The officer of
the guard found him in this confusion of words--and left him so.

The army is a good school. The average American youth, to render him a
good citizen, needs just the lessons of obedience and respect for
authority he gets here. My chief study is human nature under the
conditions of camp life and under the diverse manifestations inevitably
presented in military life. The guard house and the court room afford an
opportunity to become acquainted with some classes and specimens of
humanity. One evening last week I was retained as advocate for the
defense of two accused of cursing their officers. The trial is not
conducted as in a civil court, but according to the following manner in
the "field court." The lieutenant colonel constitutes the court, and,
having summoned the accused before him, reads the charges and proceeds
to the investigation. The advocate for the accused has but a limited
opportunity of displaying either his ability or smartness. He can ask
only such questions as his client requests shall be asked, and he
addresses them not to the witness directly, but to the judge, who puts
them to the witness.

In the first case in which I was advocate for the accused, the charge
was drawn up in the following prescribed and regular manner:

_Charge_--Disrespect toward his commanding officer, in violation of the
twentieth article of war.

_Specification_--In that A---- B----, Company ----, United States
Infantry, did use vile, abusive and threatening language toward his
captain. (Place and date.)

One of the boys was fined $1 and the other $2. The fines go to the
Soldiers' Home fund. Two days later I was called on to save one of these
boys from being tried on a charge of violating the twenty-second article
of war, which reads as follows:

"Any officer or soldier who begins, excites, causes or joins in any
meeting or sedition in any troop, etc., shall suffer death or such other
punishment as a court-martial may direct."

The colonel read the offender this article and gave him a warning he
will perhaps remember.

The lieutenant colonel's tent and mine are side by side, and the
proceedings of his court are, therefore, under my observation. The
cases, since pay-day especially, have been frequent, "two-step
moonshine" having been boot-legged into camp. Some of the boys on
outpost duty, thought it would be fun to have some fine spring chickens
they found at a farm house. The chickens cost them about $5 apiece. A
number of boys over-stayed their leave of absence in the city. They,
too, pay for their fun.

Human frailty and freakish love of liberty, more than wilful meanness,
appear in the conduct of those brought to trial. And, in most cases, the
ancient proverb is illustrated: "He that sinneth against me (says
wisdom) wrongeth his own soul."

Our first funeral occurred last Sunday. The circumstances of the case
rendered it pathetic in the extreme to whoever paused to reflect. The
contrast between the man's mournful career and his honored burial could
not have been greater. He died a drunkard's death. He was laid to rest
in the National Cemetery of Arlington, by nature one of the grandest, by
associations one of the most famous spots in our whole country. But
three days an enlisted man, he was buried with military honors. He was a
wrecked and ruined man; he had no relative, not a close friend near him
in the hour of his death, but the entire company of which he had so
lately become a member, marched ten miles through dust and extreme heat
to escort his body to his grave among the great of earth. The bugler,
who sounded "taps" for the battleship _Maine_ and for Gen. Grant, and
other illustrious dead, sounded the sweet and mellow notes above his
mournful tomb, bidding peace and repose to his spirit. What words could
be spoken for one of so sad a fate? How much of pathos in it all! How
much call for human sympathy, and what warning!

The feeling of comradeship and fraternity is more nobly and powerfully
manifested among soldiers than among any other class of men I know of.
Their spirit of generosity toward one another is not less strong than is
their sense of justice. These, I would say, are the most marked
characteristics of the soldier: Feeling of comradeship, spirit of
generosity and sense of justice. As for the last, being a fighter by
profession, he comes to entertain a high sense of honor, and is called
upon to maintain his rights and stand up for his cause. Of course, there
is code of laws for army life, which, although unwritten, are none the
less strict. There is, therefore, no school of character better than the
camp. It, indeed, ruins many. So does every occupation and every
environment. But those who set themselves strongly against the evils of
this way of life acquire a strength and nobleness which are not possible
under less strenuous and trying conditions. It is, therefore, a school
for character excelling any other. But greater tact and wisdom and
stronger personal influence are required here than elsewhere to direct
the sentiments and determine the character of those under training. Good
music, good literature, good addresses and entertainments, and good,
thoughtful treatment in general are influences that go far toward making
good soldiers and good men.

FOOTNOTE:

[A] The boys made merry over every situation and joked and jollied one
another under all circumstances. A lady visiting the camp at Fairmount
Park happened, in passing, to see a nice-looking boy in the guard house,
and with surprise stopped and asked, "Why, what have they put _you_ in
here for?" The poor boy blushed and began to stammer; a comrade standing
by took in the situation and promptly replied, "For playing baseball on
Sunday, madame!"



IV.

VARIOUS THINGS--ALL INTERESTING.


Huckleberries are ripe in the wilderness around Camp Alger, and many
boys from Missouri are getting their first taste of the berry
immortalized in the name of Tom Sawyer's adventurous friend. Dewberries
also find many a nook in the woods and the fallow fields, where of
mornings they gleam fresh and black on their low running vines. But most
abundant of all are the blackberries. The vines were in blossom when we
were at Jefferson Barracks, and we thought we should like to be
there--if not at Porto Rico or Manila--when the berries should be ripe;
but we find them more abundant around our present camp and of a fine,
large growth. Joaquin Miller advised the Virginians to "plow up their
dogs and plant vineyards." Were I a Virginian I should present to view
such a field as Solomon said belonged to the sluggard, "Lo, it was all
grown over with thorns."

There can hardly be a better berry-growing region anywhere than among
these old, yellow hills, in sight of the nation's capital. All kinds of
berries of a fine quality grow well here by nature, which proves that
soil and season are congenial. Under cultivation, as here and there you
may see them, the yield is large and the quality excellent. The boys on
their visits to the "ole swimmin' hole" usually get not only plenty of
good fresh country milk, but scatter through the woods and get a taste
of some kind of berries, or quickly buy out any vender they may chance
to meet.

The "ole swimmin' hole" is in Accotink Creek, above Tobin's mill. It is
just such a place as every one of us was familiar with in boyhood. At
the bend of the creek the water deepens, and the old sycamores, leaning
half-way across the stream, cast a cooling shade. One aged trunk, with
broad limbs, slants up from the water's edge to the deepest place, as
if it had at some time said to itself, "Now, I'll make this an ideal
swimming hole by furnishing the boys a place to plunge from." And so
here is where the "immortal boy," since before George Washington
surveyed the estate of Lord Fairfax, has spent such happy hours as live
in the memory of the man forever.

The most prolonged and thorough bath the boys have taken was when they
were out last week on their three days' march. Having pitched their
flies--small tents just large enough for two men to creep under and
sleep with their feet sticking out--officers and men make for the little
stream like thirsty oxen on the plains. After a long and dusty march
could they desire anything more delightful than what was offered by the
cool depths of "Difficult Run?" The bountiful heavens, doubtless with
the best intentions, sent them also a shower-bath. And such an one as it
was! We thought it could rain at Jefferson Barracks. It doesn't rain so
frequently here, but when it does rain it leaves nothing more to be
asked for in that line.

The little stream was lashed into a fury, and the boys had to dive to
keep from getting wet through. It rains on and on, and pours ever
harder. It doesn't matter if the bathers do think they have enough--they
get more. And where, meanwhile, are their clothes they would fain put on
dry? They are taking a swim, too, and the dust of the hills far away is
being thoroughly beaten out of them. Imagine the scene. The features of
the picture, if you were to sketch it with Hogarth lines, would be high
green hills rising steeply on either side; a narrow, winding valley,
through which wanders the little stream; on the west bank of this
rivulet, occupying the whole width of the vale and sloping up to meet
the low pines on the western hills, some 2,000 toy-like tents, known in
soldiers' parlance as "dog-tents" and "flies;" torrents of rain; in the
spray and mist of mingling waters an indefinite number of indistinct
forms appearing somewhat like the interminable line of royal ghosts in
Macbeth. There was no complaint in camp of dry weather for twenty-four
hours. D----, of Company C, had the opportunity of his life presented
him, for he is an expert with the pencil, his talent amounting almost to
genius.

Skirmishing in the woods and out-marches to the Potomac occupied the
following day. For discipline the troops behaved with such caution and
vigilance as they would observe in the enemy's country. And in the
enemy's country, indeed, they were. That night, just after call to
quarters had sounded and quiet had settled down upon the populous
village of nomads, the order was passed through camp for every man to be
ready to repel a sudden night attack, as a regiment of cavalry had been
discovered in the neighborhood by the scouts. You might then have heard
a hum of excitement and bustle of preparation, while a thousand bayonets
clanked in their sockets and the boys placed their guns by their sides.
As for the chaplain, he lay awake straining to catch every challenge and
response in the most distant sentry lines, and expecting every moment to
hear the blood-chilling yell of the on-rushing enemy as their horses
should dash into our camp. The first thing he realized was a quick jerk
given to his booted foot sticking from under his "fly," and then the
words, "Up, Chaplain, the cavalry's coming." A red streak lay along the
eastern sky above the hills; there was a low hum in camp, which was
gradually increasing. Lieut.-Col. W----'s good-natured laugh said that
it was all a joke, and the chaplain, without having to wait to dress,
went off grumbling to the creek to wash his face and get ready for 4
o'clock breakfast. The enemy, for reasons sufficient to themselves,
failed to carry out their programme.

Before sunrise the entire Third Regiment, leading the Third Brigade,
having broken camp, was formed along the winding road that trails up the
hillsides from the little valley, and was ready for the command
"Forward." Before the dew had yet wholly vanished from the clover, and
before the ripening blackberries had lost their morning coolness, we
marched into the old camp led by the band playing "Dixie." We had
marched about twelve miles in three hours and forty-five minutes, and
only three men had to be brought in in the ambulances. It was remarked
by some one that we went so fast we could not read the signs in Dunn
Loring. Capt. S----'s funny man said it was because the chaplain was in
front and he was leading them in "the straight and narrow way." Most of
the officers marched with the men, and all enjoyed their morning walk.

There is no monotony in camp life. There is routine, of course, but many
diversions and incidents, and something is continually happening. Last
night in the small hours an order came from corps headquarters for a
check-roll to be taken in every regiment instantly. For a few minutes
just before midnight the whole camp was in a stir. "What was it for?"
everybody was asking of everybody else. "Chesapeake Bay is full of
Spanish gunboats, and they want us at once," said one of the sergeants
to his men in hurrying them up. It became known this morning that a few
hundred soldiers had been raising Cain at Falls Church, and Gen. Graham
wanted to find out who they were. Hence this order for a check-roll. Two
cavalry regiments were sent out to run in the hilarious lads, but they
were only partially successful. The rest of the stampeders are reported
to be in Baltimore and Philadelphia, and no one knows where else. The
explanation is that the entire Sixth Pennsylvania took French leave for
the Fourth.

The other evening, while I was singing with Company E, where my friend
D---- belongs (whom, by the way, I wronged by intimating that the patch
on his face was there as the sign of a good time passed at the "farm
house," it being there, as he informs me, only to cover a boil), while
we were singing some sacred songs after D---- had executed a fine jig on
a foot-square board and the company's quartette has sung, "The bull-dog
on the bank and the bullfrog in the pool," etc., a quick command was
given for the company to "fall in" with their guns. They didn't wait for
the benediction, and I fell in with them to go "where duty or danger
called them." They were rushed in double-quick time into the officers'
lane and halted. Then the cause of it all was whispered about. An
obnoxious "shack" had been smashed into and the regiment was called out
to capture those committing the deed. What happened? We met a crowd,
surrounded by an armed posse, coming from that quarter and going rapidly
toward the guard house. An investigation there revealed the startling
fact that every one of the forty-odd boys surrounded and put under
arrest at the canteen was utterly innocent. Every wrong-doer, of course,
is innocent till proved guilty; but in the case of this crowd it soon
became evident that innocence was indeed injured. They were nearly all
"rookies"--that's the word for recruits. How could "rookies" be mixed up
so largely in such an affair? A mistake has been made, that is plain.
When the uproar occurred there had been a rush of the "rookies" to the
spot to see what was going on; the raiders had fled and escaped, of
course, and the "rookies" were hustled in. They learned a lesson early.
A picture of them lined up two-deep and frightened by the menacing
interrogatories of Col. Gross, while a flickering candle was thrust in
the face of each one to discover who he was, and bristling bayonets
stood around them; the disappointment of the officers as their mistake
and failure became more and more apparent, the fright of the "rookies"
as they stood there in the uncertain light and their old clothes, the
glad expression of relief when they were ordered to be dismissed--this,
too, would be a picture.

Evenings in camp, both among officers and men, are delightfully spent in
such amusements as I have already described, in various kinds of
farcical entertainments and in story-telling. The Irish element in the
regiment is sufficiently prominent to keep everybody happy. A lady
friend of our of Celtic stock visits us occasionally from Washington,
and makes her visits memorable by the good Irish stories she tells. The
other evening when she was here, and there was a lull in the
conversation, she suddenly exclaimed, "Oh, do you remember the last time
I was out here?" "Why, of course, we do," everybody replied. "Well,"
said she, "forget that and remember the _Maine_!" Whereupon the laughing
and the story-telling began anew.

If a number of first-class romances do not grow out of the exchange of
compliments between the soldier boys and the girls who crowded to the
trains to see them on their way here, the postmaster of the Third will
be much disappointed. Half of the mail sometimes is addressed to or
comes from the numerous places where buttons were traded for bouquets,
and sigh was given for sigh, and names were hastily exchanged, as the
train sped away. All sorts of souvenirs are sent to Parkersburg, Athens,
Cincinnati, and other places, where the senders knew not a soul before
their journey through them. Unique methods of meeting the emergencies of
army life are sometimes devised. One lad, having no paper, but a clean,
white collar, for which he no longer has any use, fills it with a tender
message, folds it in an envelope, and so gratifies his wish to
communicate with the girl he left behind, while he gives her a souvenir
she will cherish long and tell the story of many years after the war is
over, and their grandchildren, perhaps, are gathered about their knees.
Another boy has neither paper nor envelope, so he writes upon his cuff,
links it together, stamps it, and so sends a message of romantic love to
one, it may be, whose fond eyes and fascinating face he saw in some
crowd in a strange place. If the chaplain does not have some work to do
growing out of all this romance, the postmaster is no prophet, and both
of them will be disappointed.

Rhymers and song-makers are not wanting. A letter left camp yesterday
directed in the following poetical style:


     "Hurry me away at a furious rate
       To Kansas City, Missouri State,
     For Miss A---- R---- wants me there--
       And I'm no humbug, here's my fare."


Another letter was addressed by means of the same jingle--the name only
being different. In this I regret to discover evidence that some young
man is richer in sweethearts than in poetic devices.

A hardtack was addressed and sent without any envelope, bearing this
rhymed message:


     "I am a hard-tack that none can chew
       Except a very brave boy in blue;
     No time nor season can alter me,
       I've been hard'ning since sixty-three;
     Coffee made of clay and rain
       Have tried to soften me in vain,
     And salt-horse grease has sought to melt
       Or touch my heart--it was not felt!"


The most difficult problem in camp, as the situation appears to one
concerned in the perpetual welfare of the men as citizen-soldiers, is to
provide for their mental needs. Let me make ample provision for them in
this respect and I will guarantee a good morality. Much of the time of
the soldier in camp is necessarily unemployed--how shall he occupy
himself? Idleness is the devil's great opportunity. The men of the Third
have generally been accustomed to books, magazines and papers--only one
man in the entire regiment could not sign his name and he is now dead.
The desire for mental employment is, therefore, strong. If it can be met
with good literature--as it must be met by some means--it will be far
less likely to go out in unprofitable and perilous ways. We have made a
good beginning in the way of ministering to the mental and moral needs
of the men, having erected a tent 40 feet square and furnished it with
tables and seats, and organ and song books, writing material, and
magazines and papers. Its capacity, however, is altogether inadequate;
it is not an uncommon thing to see it filled, and as many more sitting
on the logs around it. We had a dedicatory service last Sunday morning,
at which I spoke of the manifold and liberal uses to which it would be
put and led the minds of the attentive audience from the meaning of the
ceremony and of the ancient tabernacle in the wilderness to thoughts of
the dedication and high uses of the true temple of God, which is man
himself. Five enlisted men came forward to enlist under the banner of
the cross and dedicate themselves to the cause of Christ.

I know these soldiers, and I know that their action is the result of
sober thought and manly decision.

I have employed three or four details in building what they termed a
"meetin' house." The first time I used a guard-house gang--about twenty
boys in for over-staying their leave in Washington after pay-day. They
kept up their waggery while bearing logs and building seats and sang,
"There'll come a time, we pray, when we'll not have to build a church
each day."

There are a half-dozen fellows in the guard house to-day. I just now
promised them, to their delight, to take them out to-morrow and work
them. They were glad to get out of the "cooler" on any terms. Yesterday
I had a volunteer squad--not convicts--helping me "snake" logs with mule
teams to our new meeting grounds by the tabernacle. Many provocations,
of course, arose--mules, stumpy roads, contrary logs, pestiferous knots,
etc. But when I saw some fellow getting wrathy over a justly provoking
situation and struggling with his righteous indignation, I spoke a
timely word--sometimes too late--just to refresh his mind with the fact
that he was working on a "meetin' house," and with and for the parson.
Then we all had a laugh and worked on without cussin'.

These boys are now reading my letters. Half of them will read, or,
gathered about in their company lanes, will hear read, this letter. As
their friend who would not have them let this evil habit fix itself upon
them, I would entreat them to guard themselves against profanity.



V.

JOY AND SORROW.


Last Saturday I received an interesting packet of letters from someone
in St. Louis, who signed herself simply "R. S. M." The idea was so
unique and feminine, and the letters gave so much amusement to the boys
that I will tell you something about it. There were ten sealed envelopes
in the packet accompanied by a note to myself, explaining the object to
be to give a little amusement to the boys, and to help fill up a few
minutes with "something unusual." Each letter bore a different address,
some common name being selected, such as "Mr. Smith," "Mr. Jones," and
so on. The inscriptions on the backs of the envelopes were the
interesting exterior feature. One was addressed in this manner:

"When this you see, remember me."

"A valentine for a dyspeptic member of Company C."

Then on the back was the following:


     "It is not a cent,
     Yet it is sent;
     It costs not a cent,
     Yet it gives a scent."

     "There's a conundrum
       Sent to you;
     The answer's SCENT with it--
       'Tis 'lavender blue.'"


Another was addressed, "For a good boy who may open this July 26, '98."
On the back of this was written:

"From Illinois and California--A spray of the giant redwood tree, and a
spray of the old fashioned 'yarb' our grandmothers used."

Another said on the back: "Just to let you know that some one thinks of
the Missouri boys and wants to help them pass a minute away opening a
curious envelope."

So they ran. The merriment occasioned by the distribution of these
envelopes, as that addressed "to one who feels himself to be very
young," was delivered to a bald-headed fellow, and the one addressed "to
a good child," was delivered to one whom common acclamation pronounced
to be worse than Peck's Bad Boy, would have gratified the sender with a
vision such as she could hardly have expected.

A rhyme contained in the one addressed "to a dyspeptic," ran as follows:


     "It is better to laugh than be sighing,
       And sighing's no sign that you're sad,
     'Tis often a _sine qua non_, sir,
       That proves your digestion is bad.

     "So smile at your previous groaning,
       And rejoice that you're grown past that stage;
     Help others to laugh and be happy
       And you'll live to a jolly old age."


Thanks to this thoughtful, gracious lady! She may never know how much
good her little plan for cheering the boys has done and will do. She may
remain hidden under the initials "R. S. M." But be sure such kind hearts
and ingenious hands as hers make this old world brighter and better to
live in. It is such little, delicate, thoughtful, feminine acts that
bless our lives and do more good ofttimes than books and sermons.

The United Daughters of the Confederacy of St. Louis, the same day, sent
us three dozen night shirts for our boys in the hospital. This was a
most useful gift and amply supplies our regiment in this respect. We are
awaiting with delight the fulfillment of their promise, made through
their secretary, Mrs. W. P. Howard, to send us one hundred "sewing
kits." These are not the first gifts to prove their patriotism and
womanly sympathy for the soldier boys these Daughters of the Confederacy
have sent us. Their ministration to the needs of the regiment began at
Jefferson Barracks and has continued, with larger promises of future
help.

The Soldiers' Relief Society of Kansas City, of which Mrs. A. W. Childs
is president, has also sent many boxes of useful articles to be
distributed to the soldiers. I was enabled this afternoon, by the
provision of this society, to answer the call of the hospital steward
for sheets by taking them two dozen white, clean ones, that surely will
make the cot of pain more tolerable. At first, during even those days of
extreme heat, you might have seen many a sick fellow lying in the
hospital in his blue flannel field shirt. Now all is white and
delightful to see, relieving the eye that must needs look upon
suffering.

A few evenings ago, as I stood in front of headquarters with a reverend
old gentleman, who had served as chaplain in the Civil War, watching
together and commenting upon the varied scene before us, the galloping
orderlies as they bore messages this way and that; the jolting heavy
lumber wagons, drawn each by four mules, hauling rations for the
regiments; the manifold activities of the soldiers, some carrying water
in their large black buckets from the deep and excellent well the
government bored for us; some with large boxes of rubbish which they
were bearing, each box on two poles, toward the dumps; a crowd reading,
writing and playing games in the Y. M. C. A. tent, while a half dozen
boys on one side, among the logs under the great chestnut trees, were
pitching rubber rings at pegs in an inclined board, and a like number on
the other side were engaged in the old-fashioned farmers' Sunday game of
pitching horseshoes, and the band, down in the little plain beyond the
tents, was playing its beautiful strains while the guard was being
mounted; there passed across this scene of many activities, an object
frequently enough seen here, but never seen without its painful
suggestiveness--it was the ambulance with the Red Cross upon its ground
of blue. And the man of many years and large experience made a remark I
shall not forget. "The Red Cross," said he, "is the sign of the highest
outcome of our civilization. We had no such society as this in the Civil
War. We had no such hospital system as you have. There is nothing, I
repeat, that better represents the spirit of Christian civilization than
the Red Cross."

While, therefore, as the vehicle thus marked rolled hastily by, giving
its momentary pang of sympathy for some hurt or stricken comrade, its
triumphant suggestion was of the mission of mercy unexampled in ages
past, so supremely Christ-like.

That night, in one of the hospital tents, we sat by the bedside of his
dying son. Through the long, slow hours, he upon one side and I upon the
other, we watched the heaving breast of pain and the suffering face, and
inquired of each other by looks, in the dim light, if there was yet hope
for the strong, young soldier to win the battle he was contending in so
bravely.

In the still evening air, from twenty hillsides, the mellow notes of the
bugle bade good-night and peaceful sleep to the weary soldiers--and we
thought eternal rest to the soul of the one we were so anxiously
watching. Slowly the stars, however, went round in their courses and
looked down--how calm and distant and seemingly all indifferent, upon
the bowed head of the aged father as, toward morning, I could hear his
regular, though feeble tread up and down outside. And then, as the
bright sun rose, and the smoke from the campfires drifted off down the
vales, making such a scene of idyllic beauty; then all the hills and
valleys echoed with the sound of revéille calling to action, awakening
to new hope and the new day's new opportunities. But not for one soldier
was all this--his pulse of life beat too low. Till noon he lingered on
wrestling with the last enemy, and, as the sun began to slope toward the
west, his light on earth went out. In the prime of his years, one of the
strongest among his comrades, after ten days of suffering, he passed
away--Corporal John B. McNair, a soldier of his country, whose courage
was shown not upon the field of carnage where the trumpet and flag
inspire on to the deadly charge and heroic deed, but only in a battle
where he fought alone, with nothing to inspire, nothing but now and then
the kind look or word of comrades to cheer. But he died his country's
defender in the cause of humanity. His will be a soldier's reward in
heaven. It was last Saturday that, near the great and renowned, we laid
him to rest in the beautiful grounds of Arlington.

Sunday morning, the 24th of July, after the regular preaching service,
Company D, with a considerable number from other companies, met in the
Y. M. C. A. tent to hold memorial services for Richard Maloy, who died
two days before at Fort Myer, from where his remains were sent home for
burial. Circumstances made the services nobly impressive. When the
president's call for troops was first made, Richard and his brother
Charles were at home with their widowed mother in Kansas City. Dick--so
was he called by his friends--Dick said to his mother, "Mother, I will
go." She replied, "One cannot go, my son, without the other." "Then,"
said Charles, the younger of the two, "I will go also." So they joined
the Third Regiment and went out with their mother's blessing upon them.
The rigor of army duty was too severe for their immature bodies. One day
Charles, just after the return from the hard practice march, was
assigned to outpost duty. Dick said his brother couldn't stand it, and
applied to the sergeant to be put on in his place. The substitution was
made. It killed Dick.

At the conclusion of the memorial, one of his comrades came to me with
an open Testament in his hand, and, with breast choked with emotion,
pointed with his finger to the passage: "Greater love hath no man than
this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." That was enough; it
told everything.

As for the mother, some said the sudden news would kill her. It did not.
When her boys left home for the war it was then that she made her
sacrifice and proved her high-minded maternity that could let the larger
love of country and of mankind rise superior to the love of her own
flesh and blood. She keeps up the traditions of antiquity. Sparta had
not nobler women. Such mothers, who bless their parting sons and bid
them go, can receive them, living or dead, comforted and exalted with
pride that they were stirred by noble impulses and offered their lives
in the cause of humanity. We never know the celestial quantities our
every-day earth-born acquaintances possess until the hour of supreme
need comes to evoke them.

The problem of taking care of an army's sick is indeed no easy one. Our
army is still experimenting, or rather, it might be said, improving its
system with some phases of the matter yet under discussion. The
regimental hospital has been done away with, so that what was the
hospital of the regiment is now only a medical dispensary. Here, in
response to the sick call at 6:15 every morning, you may see a crowd of
soldiers, from 50 to 100 in number, lined up waiting to receive in turn
their capsules and pills. Two long pine trees in front of our dispensary
furnish acceptable seats to the weakened boys. In addition to medicines
there is little else left of all the complete and excellent equipment
the Third started out with, except a half-dozen or so litters, which are
used for taking up the sick out of their tents or carrying them off the
field to the dispensary until the ambulances can carry them to the
division hospital. There never having been any brigade hospitals, there
are in Camp Alger only division hospitals--first, second and third.

The Second Division hospital, where, as we belong to this division, our
sick are cared for, is organized with thorough system. In general
command there is some one of the regimental chief surgeons or brigade
surgeons. Then there is a full corps of officers with various ranks and
duties. There is a property officer with the rank of lieutenant, and so
they run. The chief steward has under him four other stewards and about
220 nurses, there being 24 nurses from each regiment permanently
detailed to this service. They are organized with captain, lieutenants,
and sergeants, very much like a company, and have regular litter drills
daily. There are three general wards, each making a white canvas
hall-like chamber nearly 50 paces in length, and three special wards, of
which one is for measles and another for critical ailments, and another
for surgical cases. In a very serious case, two special nurses are
called in and assigned wholly to its care.

The whole number of inmates from the nine regiments constituting our
division--that is, about 11,700 men--has run on a daily average from 60
to 80. The more critical cases, where it is practicable or advisable,
are removed to the Fort Myer hospital by the side of Arlington. The
hospital, situated centrally with reference to the various regiments to
which it belongs, now constitutes, with its numerous wards, its various
officers' quarters, its kitchen and mess tents, and the large number of
tents necessary for the nurses and stewards, a little camp all by
itself. Around it its own guards keep up their regular tread, and down
toward the general corral, where scores of government wagons and
government mules stand at feeding time, stand the dozen covered
ambulances that go night and day on their faithful missions.

On Monday, of this week, the Third underwent inspection by the general
inspection officer, Major Brown, of the Fourth Cavalry. Every man in the
regiment, and all the quarters and accoutrements, came under the trained
and uncompromising eye. At 8 a.m. the several companies were called in
battalions to the parade ground, where the soldiers, each with his usual
equipment of gun, knapsack, haversack, field-tent, and canteen, stood
under the already hot sun to be examined. Then, after disburdening
themselves, they were called out again to execute the movements which
the inspector might require of them. Some phase of the inspection
continued until late in the afternoon, when, beginning at 6 o'clock, the
entire regiment passed in review before General Davis, division
commander, and his staff. The fine showing we made elicited round after
round of cheering from our New York neighbors, and, at the conclusion,
high commendation from the reviewing general.

I will conclude with the presentation of another character. I had
frequently heard of J----, of Company K, and desired to make his
acquaintance. I was sitting on the band seats by our tall flagless
flagpole, watching the effects of the sunrise and of the first bugle
calls. I noticed some one advancing toward me from the direction of
Company K, at the extreme north side of the camp. It might have been
seen that, as he came on with grave and measured tread, the eyes of all
his comrades were upon him. But it was equally apparent that he for his
part disregarded everything. He came up, but spoke not a word and seemed
to be aware of no presence or beholding eye. Then he gravely unrolled a
cambric flag of the enormous and graceful proportions of 8 inches long
by 12 inches broad, and, attaching it to the rope, hoisted it to the top
of the pole, while his comrades loudly cheered and laughed at the
joke--to all of which he was utterly oblivious--returning with as much
gravity as he came. And the toy flag there floated where he raised it
aloft, "frenetic," as Browning says, "to be free." This fellow's
large-featured, benignant, Scottish face, with its fringe of hair
entirely encircling it, spoke full plainly of a big, jolly, generous
heart. The boys all call him "Honest Bill." The day we were going out
on our practice march J---- thought he didn't want to go. In fact, he
preferred to stay in the guard house. This was his scheme: He goes down
to the line of guards, is challenged, makes a dash through, but returns
and gives himself up. Quite successful! His large kindly face beams
happiness. What does his captain do? Nothing but send him along on the
march with the penalty of some days in the guard house hanging over his
devoted head. This was enough to try any flesh and blood, and almost
enough to provoke even a soldier to swear at his ill luck. I think J----
triumphantly resisted the evil one. When he returned to camp on the
third day, a wiser and seemingly no less happy man, he threw down from
his strong back not only his own burden of soldierly equipment, but the
packs of two of his comrades also who had grown faint in the long march.

So I know J----. Who, from this, doesn't know J----? His heart, sure, is
as big as his back is broad, and his nature as open as his face, which
shines like a harvest moon. God bless all such comrades.



VI.

THE THOROUGHFARE CAMPAIGN AND ENCAMPMENT IN THE SLOUGH OF DESPOND.


[There has been considerable said about the mistreatment of volunteer
soldiers now in the service of the government, and much of the talk of
suffering and want in the camps has been discredited because of its
seeming ridiculousness. Americans are not ready to believe that the
heads of the departments would permit the brave men to undergo the
trials and sufferings that have been so graphically pictured by the
newspapers, and the more conservative here put these idle rumors aside
as the work of sensation-mongers.

Now a minister of the gospel, a man who is at the front with the
soldiers, administering to them spiritual assistance and pointing them,
in their dark hours of distress, to a brighter future, has raised his
voice, and in words that sink deep into the heart and make the breast of
men shudder, he tells us that our boys are being murdered; that the
brave sons of Missouri are being cut down like grass before the scythe,
through the neglect and tyranny of officers in the army who are supposed
to look after their comfort.

Rev. R. T. Kerlin, chaplain of the Third Missouri Regiment, writes from
Thoroughfare Gap, Va., to a brother minister at St. Louis, telling him
of these things. Dr. Kerlin comes from Clay County, and the people of
this city and this State know him.

Dr. Kerlin's letter is published herewith, but he admits that, as
horrible as he has pictured the condition of the second division of the
Second Army Corps, it is even worse than he has made it appear, and that
the officers and men insisted that he make the truth more explicit that
aid might be gotten to them by the patriotic people of this State, in
whom they have confidence. The chaplain does not place the blame.]--_The
Kansas City Times._

The last week's itinerary of the second division of the Second Army
Corps, General Davis commanding, has been written in curses. The results
will be borne forever in the minds, hearts and bodies of 10,000
patriotic citizen-soldiers. Half-fed, wet and muddy, with no change of
clothes, a score, on an average, in each company bare-footed, the
volunteer soldiers of this division, as they go to their beds of wet
straw under their low dog-tents that let the rain through like sieves or
as they trudge through the mire of the stubble-field in which we are
encamped to-night, can find no language but oaths to express their sense
of ill-treatment.

Here is the story: It should be told in justice to these men, who have
offered their lives for their country, who represent the best elements
of our American citizenship, who are disposed to be manly, honest and
long-suffering, it should be told. As their pastor, knowing what
hardships they suffer, as well as what commandments they break, I will
attempt the narration.

One week ago to-night--Tuesday, August 2d--the order was issued about 9
p.m. for the regiments constituting this division to break camp at 8
a.m. the next day. Morning came, and a hotter day has not dawned this
hot season. An hour's delay, under heavy marching orders, was not rest.
At 9 o'clock the Third Missouri, or rather two battalions of it, less
the men who were bare-footed and sick, marched out of Camp Alger with
the first Rhode Island, Second Tennessee, One Hundred and Fifty-ninth
Indiana, Third New York, Twenty-second Kansas, Sixth Pennsylvania,
Seventh Illinois, Ninth Massachusetts and the recruits of Duffield's
separate brigade. Such forced marching was perhaps never required of
soldiers not beating a retreat or hurrying to a strategic point or an
imperative attack.

Within one hour after leaving camp the men were "killed." This is the
way they express it. The sweltering heat, the dust, the humid
atmosphere, the narrow, deep-cut, dusty roads, closed in by thick woods,
combined to make the marching difficult. Besides each man carried a
burden of not less than seventy pounds--gun, knapsack, haversack,
blanket, poncho, field-tent, canteen, mess outfit and day's
rations--what wonder that they fell out by dozens and scores?
Experienced army men said they never knew of such a day's march. It was
not the distance, for that was not so great. It was the conditions that
have been only barely indicated, and the absence of any apparent reason
for it all.

When Burk Station was reached three-fourths of all the men had fallen
out. This is a conservative estimate.

When the Third Missouri marched to Difficult Run a few weeks before--a
distance nearly as great--not 3 per cent of its men fell out. Company K,
for example, lost not a single man on that march. This company arrived
at Burk Station with fifteen men, all told, out of eighty-five that
started. Other companies fared much worse.

Rest the next day was simply imperative. Most of the men who had no
shoes had been left behind in the old camp. Now many others were in
their bare feet on stony ground. Besides this, rations were inadequate.
I saw men look at their petty dole of two onions, two potatoes, six
hardtacks and a chunk of fat salt pork--the issue for a day--and in
disgust toss it to the ground. Of course, the country was foraged. Those
who fell out on the march were not going to starve in a land of plenty,
even if a commandment, which they had respected hitherto, did say, "Thou
shalt not steal." Nor was it likely that those who came into camp would
be content with such scanty fare when corn in the fields about was in
roasting-ear and potatoes were abundant, and chickens and turkeys at the
farm-houses around threatened to make a night attack upon the camp
unless they themselves were first surprised and captured.

The boys did not always stop with the confiscation of this small game.
As they marched along the next day they amused the country people, who
flocked to the roadside to see them pass, by asking, "Who killed the
cow?" "Who killed the sheep?" and so on, and answering, "Such-and-such a
regiment."

From Camp Alger to Thoroughfare Gap, where we are now sunk in yellow
mud, not many farms within a mile of the road escaped a visit from
soldiers, who took or were given something to satisfy their hunger. I
rode on horseback behind the troops and made frequent side-excursions.
My statements are based on what I saw with my own eyes and learned from
the citizens and from the soldiers--the soldiers making no secret of the
fact as they deemed themselves justified by the circumstances.

The march from Burk Station to Bull Run was through mud. The night
before a heavy rain fell and every man in camp, possibly, got drenched.
Still the marching was improved, but rations were shorter and shoes were
more worn. But the boys kept up their spirits surprisingly, only saying
they would never forget the Maine, not adding "to ---- with Spain." It
was Sunday. I don't know that this made them swear less--who could have
told it was the Lord's day? If it had been in '62 and Stonewall Jackson
had been just beyond the Berkshire Hills, advancing on one of his
alarming maneuvers toward Washington, it would have been justifiable to
order tents struck at 5 o'clock Sunday morning that we might advance and
hold Thoroughfare Gap against the enemy. As it was--others besides the
chaplain simply submitted.

Our camp on Bull Run was well situated. It could not have been
healthier, the water supply for bathing purposes was the best we have
ever had, and for drinking purposes was adequate and fairly good. But we
were ordered to advance, and that night the soldiers who volunteered to
serve their country in a Christian cause slept tired, hungry and wet,
for another rain-storm beat through their little canvas kennels. Our
camp this time was on Broad Run, near Bristow. Remaining here over
Monday, we broke camp again this (Tuesday) morning, notwithstanding the
fact that the rain had poured in torrents during the night that the sky
was still overcast and lowering. As the men were marched out I asked a
surgeon what he thought of it. His answer was one word, "Murder."

Did you ever hear your country cursed by foreigners? That is nothing;
you know their curses harm her not, and despite all foreign prejudice
she will march on in her great career. But do you know how it would make
you feel to hear your own countrymen cursing the land that gave them
birth? Cursing, not as tramps might, not as unthinking and harmless
fools might, not as envious foreigners, but as patriotic, intelligent,
but ill-treated and outraged soldier-citizens. I have to-day heard
enough of this to grieve and sicken the heart. The men all day have
trudged under their burdens, through miry roads, and waded running
streams, that were sometimes waist-deep, and were drenched by two heavy
rains. It is raining now after "taps," and has been pouring down as it
can only in Virginia, ever since evening mess at 5:30.

The men know that heavy blame rests upon somebody. They will doubtless
be able to locate the responsibility before the march ends. I hope they
will, for their indignation is too burning to be misdirected. The
responsible party should bear it.

What sort of preaching will these men listen to? Who will dare to preach
the commandments to them--except those they are in no danger of
breaking? I think the wise and sympathetic Christ, who thought better of
publicans and sinners than of the tyrannous and unmerciful rulers of His
time would be able to speak words of comfort to these men and influence
them to righteousness. But He would first feed them, so the unexampled
story of His compassion relates--and there would be fragments to gather
up. There are no fragments to gather up in our camp where a dog would
starve to death if he depended on the castaway scraps--no fragments of
fishes where wagon-grease and machine-oil are used by the soldiers for
frying their potatoes in. As the disciples of the same divinely
compassionate Friend were not forbidden by Him to pluck and eat the corn
of the fields through which they passed, so shall my disciples, these
soldier men, not be forbidden by me.

Whatever other preachers might do, I cannot preach to them so long as
they are hungry, foot-sore, and suffering most of all under a sense of
ignoble treatment, while our country knows not the measure of its ready
wealth. Not long, I hope, will the citizen-soldiers, soon now again to
be free citizens, lay the charge of blame to their country, but only to
the incompetent or self-seeking parties who are responsible.

It is but the soberest judgment to say that, if all the volunteers have
been dealt with as these have been, there could be no volunteer army
raised in this country for years to come, should the need arise. It is
well for the government to think of this. Again, the present treatment
of the soldiers, by which they are driven to foraging and begging, is
making the army a school for tramps. If these soldiers are soon mustered
out in large numbers, this country will be overrun, harassed and
terrorized by tramps.

Meanwhile, their endurance, their self-control, their discipline and
good behavior can but be wondered at--not that all they do can be
approved of by any means--but the conduct of men is largely determined
by circumstances, and the circumstances in the present case are averse
to all morality.



THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE WAR.


For our Country, in these days, to go to war is a very significant
event. In former times, for other nations, it meant not so much; the
provocation needed not to involve such high and general interests. To be
on the warpath, to plunder and be plundered, to kill and be killed is
with the barbarian the usual thing. Of our own Teutonic ancestors this
was true less, much less, than ten centuries ago; and it is very slow
indeed that we have outgrown their barbaric, warlike propensity. Still,
warfare, with the advance of civilization and the increasing power of
peaceful arts, with the spread and the strengthening of the sentiments
of humanity, and with the deepening of the sense of universal human
brotherhood, has gradually grown more and more to be deprecated,
condemned and avoided.

Therefore, in the Nineteenth Century of Christ, the Prince of Peace, to
take up arms and go to war against a sister nation and slay our brother
man is a remarkable event, well worth the while of American citizens to
reflect upon the causes--they must needs be unique, extraordinary,
characteristic of the enlightened time and country in which we live.
Could the provocation be other than of a moral and humanitarian nature?
Must it not needs be addressed to Conscience and to the sense of all
those high and Christian principles for which America stands? Surely,
else, in this day, such sacrifice of life and treasure would never be
made. And so it was in our recent war. The very sentiments which the
Prince of Peace, the preacher of brotherhood, kindled in our hearts,
were quickened into a flame of noble hostility against the barbarous
oppressor of another people. Our very enlightenment of Conscience, our
moral culture, our Christian spirit itself impelled us to war. Could we
prate of fellow-sympathy, of brotherhood, of humanitarianism, and yet
not make even the last effort, by a resort to arms, to deliver a people
down-trodden, plundered, enslaved? Never may our hearts be so hardened,
never may our souls be so dead to generous impulse, never may our
thoughts be so abjectly selfish, that we will not sacrifice all for
human rights, for freedom, for justice, for the happiness and ultimate
peace of the world.

I thank God for this war--it means so much for us, and through us for
mankind. Look at its vast significance. Our nation has experienced a
deep awakening such as this generation never felt before, and such as it
needed. Its conscience has been cultivated; all the nobler sentiments of
life have been given a wondrous new strength. These rose to dominion in
our lives, new impulses moved us, new ideals passed before us--we have
entered upon a new career of moral life, upon a higher plane, for we
undertook a great work for humanity and counted not the cost. We became
free from our habitual indifference, we despised our very lives,
offering them a ransom for the oppressed. Such a six-months of
self-forgetting morally enthusiastic life and oblation of peace,
comfort, treasure, and blood, were worth more to us than any score of
slothful years lived only for material gain. A nation may indeed be
"beastly prosperous." America, thank God, is not; though prosperous, she
is beyond example. Never did there live a people who made such worthy,
such philanthropic uses of their prosperity. Never did rich and poor,
the monarch of millions, and the possessor of a bare competence, make in
any land or time so noble a use of his material means. Witness our
colleges and universities, our churches and charitable institutions, our
libraries and museums; witness this war for an oppressed people.

Thank God we are not insensible of high demands upon us! Thank God we
are not wholly mercenary and materialistic! Thank God we are responsive,
disinterestedly, but with wealth and life itself, to other claims than
those of self and selfish getting and sending! We, who are called
pig-stickers, are capable of generous action--we have given ourselves
for the deliverance of the oppressed, thank God!

Who complains now that this generation is degenerate? Who now is
pessimistic? Who now taunts the youth of the land with being unworthy
sons of worthy sires? Who that knows of San Juan and El Caney, of
Santiago Harbor and Manila Bay, sighs for the heroic days of old and the
braver men?

The events of the last six months should give us confidence in the
better possibilities of ourselves. Europeans taunt us with having
everything "big" but nothing "great;" big cities, big rivers, big lakes,
big mountains, big crops, but no great works of art, no great
achievements in science and literature, no great men. False to begin
with. This generation is destined to prove it more glaringly so. There
is nothing too great to be achieved by those who felt and responded to
the high motive of this war.

What is the national result of the conflict? New impulses, new motives,
new interests, new ideals, new duties, broader views, vaster
undertakings, a richer national life. Put the oak that has planted his
roots deep and far out into the nurturing soil and lifted his
storm-defying brow toward heaven; put the lordly oak tree back into the
acorn hull; or seize the strong-pinioned eagle after he has soared above
the mountain peaks and challenged the tempests of the sea, seize and
cage him again in his broken shell, and then you may hope to diminish
our country to what it was, confining its expanded members by the old
bonds and subjecting its enlarged activities to the old ideals.

When were the great days of Greece? After the stormy period of the
Persian wars. It was struggle that made her great. It was Philip of
Macedon that crowned Demosthenes prince of orators; it was Xerxes and
Darius of Persia that laureled so many poets of the city they sought to
destroy. It was the shock of the tumultuous waves of an invading host,
it was the tempest of war that roused the life-forces of classic Helena,
and after the days of heroic struggle came the period of great
achievement in the pursuits of peace. It was then that art, sculpture,
music, poetry, and eloquence flourished as never in secure days of
slothful ease.

No argument this for wanton insolence, provoking war; far be it ever
from us to be aught else than a peace-loving, peace-preserving nation;
but, before God, realizing our great strength and high mission, let us
ever hold some things inviolable and dearer than our own comfort, wealth
and life. Still to be ready to fight and to die for justice and freedom
to mankind marks a people as courageous and noble. Let such courage,
such nobleness be forever the possession of the American people!



CHRONOLOGY.


     April 27.--Enlistment at Kansas City, Mo.

     May 7.--Departure for Jefferson Barracks.

     May 8.--(Sunday) Day of work, fasting and prayer in Camp Stephens.

     May 14.--Muster into the United States service.

     May 26.--Departure for Falls Church, Virginia.

     May 29.--(Sunday) Arrival, erection of tents.

     June 28-30.--Practice--march to Difficult Run.

     July 24-August 4.--First Battalion, Major Kelsey, at Colvin Run,
       constructing rifle-range.

     August 3.--Departure for Thoroughfare Gap.

     August 3-4.--Burk Station.

     August 5-6.--Bull Run.

     August 7-8.--Bristow.

     August 9-22.--Thoroughfare Gap.

     August 23-September 6.--Camp Meade, Middletown, Pennsylvania.

     September 6-9.--Return to Kansas City.

     September 9-October 21.--Fairmount Park.

     October 16.--Dismissal on 30 days furlough.

     October 21.--Camp Graham.

     Nov. 7.--Muster out.



LIST OF THE DEAD.


     Honor the dead who died for Freedom's sake!
     Time will their memory but greener make!


     Brown, Philip, private, Company F.--Died of typhoid fever at Fort
     Myer Hospital, July 30th; buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

     Carr, James E., private, Company F.--Killed by railway train,
     August 27th, at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and buried there.

     Gray, Arthur W., private, Company K.--Died October 26th, at St.
     Joseph's Hospital, of typhoid; buried at Forest Hill Cemetery.

     Kleinke, Otto R., private, Company D.--Died of typhoid fever,
     August 25th, in field hospital at Camp Meade; buried in National
     Cemetery at Gettysburg.

     Kinnard, Wm. G., sergeant, Company I.--Died at St. Joseph's
     Hospital, Kansas City, Missouri, September 22d, of typhoid; buried
     at Forest Hill Cemetery.

     Lautterbach, Charles, private, Company L.--Died September 23d, in
     Pennsylvania Hospital, Philadelphia; buried in that city.

     Maloy, Richard D., private, Company D.--Died at Fort Myer Hospital,
     July 22d, of typhoid; buried at Elmwood, Kansas City.

     McNair, John S., corporal, Company I.--Died in field hospital, Camp
     Alger, July 15th, of appendicitis; buried at National Cemetery of
     Arlington.

     Mericle, Charles, bugler, Company F.--Died of typhoid fever,
     September 22d, at Independence, Missouri, and there buried.

     Murphree, C. B., private, Company A.--Died of typhoid fever, June
     19th, at Fort Myer Hospital; buried at Arlington.

     Murray, John P., private, Company M.--Died of typhoid, September
     5th, at field hospital, Camp Meade.

     Nicholas, Henry G., private, Company F.--Died at Fort Myer
     Hospital, August 16th, of typhoid; buried at Lathrop, Missouri.

     Parker, Fred, Sixth Company, signal corps (transferred thither from
     Company F).--Died September 5th, at field hospital, Camp Meade, of
     typhoid; buried at Independence, Missouri.

     Rockwell, Samuel, private, Company C.--Died of delirium tremens, at
     Fort Myer Hospital, June 18th; buried at Arlington.

     Sargent, Wm. A., member of U. S. A. Hospital Corps, transferred
     from Company C.--Died September 17th, of typhoid; buried at
     Sabetha, Kansas.

     Spriggs, Elwood W., private, Company G.--Died September 16th, at
     Kansas City, Missouri, of typhoid; buried at Medaryville, Indiana.

     Thraen, Sigmund, private, Company A.--Died at Fort Myer Hospital,
     July 26th, of typhoid; buried at Arlington.





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