But, hungry, thirsty, grimy, these fellows were GRIT.
Massachusetts ought to be proud of such hardy, cheerful, faithful sons.
We of the Seventh are proud, for our part, that it was our privilege to
share our rations with them, and to begin a fraternization which grows
closer every day and will be _historical_.
But I must make a shorter story. We drilled and were reviewed that
morning on the Academy parade. In the afternoon the Naval School paraded
their last before they gave up their barracks to the coming soldiery. So
ended the 23d of April.
Midnight, 24th. We were rattled up by an alarm,--perhaps a sham one, to
keep us awake and lively. In a moment, the whole regiment was in order
of battle in the moonlight on the parade. It was a most brilliant
spectacle, as company after company rushed forward, with rifles
glittering, to take their places in the array.
After this pretty spirt, we were rationed with pork, beef, and bread for
three days, and ordered to be ready to march on the instant.
WHAT THE MASSACHUSETTS EIGHTH HAD BEEN DOING.
Meantime General Butler's command, the Massachusetts Eighth, had been
busy knocking disorder in the head.
Presently after their landing, and before they were refreshed, they
pushed companies out to occupy the railroad-track beyond the town.
They found it torn up. No doubt the scamps who did the shabby
job fancied that there would be no more travel that way until
strawberry-time. They fancied the Yankees would sit down on the fences
and begin to whittle white-oak toothpicks, darning the rebels, through
their noses, meanwhile.
I know these men of the Eighth can whittle, and I presume they can say
"Darn it," if occasion requires; but just now track-laying was the
business on hand.
"Wanted, experienced track-layers!" was the word along the files.
All at once the line of the road became densely populated with
experienced track-layers, fresh from Massachusetts.
Presto change! the rails were relaid, spiked, and the roadway levelled
and better ballasted than any road I ever saw south of Mason and Dixon's
line. "We must leave a good job for these folks to model after," say the
A track without a train is as useless as a gun without a man. Train and
engine must be had. "Uncle Sam's mails and troops cannot be stopped
another minute," our energetic friends conclude. So--the railroad
company's people being either frightened or false--in marches
Massachusetts to the station. "We, the People of the United States, want
rolling-stock for the use of the Union," they said, or words to that
The engine--a frowzy machine at the best--had been purposely disabled.
Here appeared the _deus ex machina_, Charles Homans, Beverly Light
Guard, Company E, Eighth Massachusetts Regiment.
That is the man, name and titles in full, and he deserves well of his