SERVICE WITH THE THIRD
ilar letter. Even now, after a lapse of twenty-six years, it stirs the blood to read these two messages.
- This correspondence was as follows:
Second Massachusetts Infantry,
Camp Slocum, Washington, D. C.,
June 4, 1865.
We, the undersigned, officers of the Second Massachusetts Infantry, wish to express to the officers of the Third Wisconsin Infantry our heartfelt regret that the fortunes of the service are about to separate our respective organizations.
From the campaign of 1862, in the Shenandoah Valley to the present glorious close of this bloody war, we have fought and marched side by side with you in almost every rebellious state. To have been brigaded together for so long a time is in itself remarkable; no less so is it that between our two regiments there should always have existed such strong feelings of friendship and mutual regard, untinged by the slightest shadow of jealousy.
As we recall now, some of the hard positions we have been in, we cannot help remembering how often our anxiety was lessened by the knowledge that the old Third Wisconsin was close at hand to support us. We know that you have had the same thoughts about us. Nothing in this whole war will be pleasanter for us to look back upon than this feeling of mutual respect and reliance. It not only elevated the tone of both our regiments, but we honestly believe, it went a great way toward making our brigade and division what they are now acknowledged to be—among the very best organizations of the army.
We assure you that in our own State, wherever the Second Massachusetts is known, its brother regiment is also famous. Whenever any of us have been at home, among the first inquiries would be, "How is the Third Wisconsin?" It has been with pride that we have answered, "It is the same staunch old regiment that fought at Antietam and Chancellorsville."
These are not compliments but expressions of plain, honest feelings. We have been knit together by deeds not words; deeds, which, as time goes on, we shall look back upon with continually increasing pride.
Together we have shared dangers and hardships, victories and defeats; and it is hard now for us to part; but in the natural order of things, the war being over, you go towards your homes in the west, we stay near ours in the east. Let us not, however, though separated by thousands of miles, forget these old associations. Let us rather cherish them with the fondest recollections: let it be a story to hand down to our children and children's children, how the Second Massachusetts and Third