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Ah, never shall the land forget
How gushed the life-blood of her brave, Gushed, warm with hope and courage yet,
Upon the soil they sought to save.
Now all is calm, and fresh, and still ;
Alone the chirp of flitting bird, and talk of children on the hill,
And bell of wand'ring kine, are heard.
No solenn host goes troiling by,
The black-mouthed gun and stag'ring wain;
- WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT.
Not long after the close of the war a plan was proposed, hy some of the officers of the regiment, for the preparation of a history of the Thirty-sixth Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteers; but the plan was not carried into execution. At the regimental reunions, in subsequent years, parts of such a history were read by Comrades White, Ranlett, and Hodgkins, and the desire for a complete history of the regiment, which found expression on these occasions, was so strong that, at the reunion of the regiment at Worcester, in September, 1876, a committee, consisting of Comrades White, Ranlett, Burrage, and Hodgkins, was appointed to procure materials for a history of the regiment.
Some progress was made by the committee in the performance of the work thus assigned to them; but it was not so great as they, or their comrades of the Thirty-sixth, desired. At the reunion, September 2, 1879, the matter was again considered, and it was finally voted, " that Comrades White, Ranlett, Hodgkins, Burrage, and Noyes, be chosen a committee to have charge of the compiling, revising, and printing the history of the regiment, to be ready for delivery at our next reunion; and that the committee have power to procure any help they may need.”
Many difficulties were encountered in the progress of the work, and it was found that it would be impossible to prepare, within the limit of time prescribed, such a history as would be worthy of the regiment. The different members of the committee, amid the activities of busy lives, could give to the work only such intervals of leisure as they could find amid their daily tasks. At the annual reunions of 1880, 1881, and 1882, - testing the patience of their comrades who had entrusted to them this important task, — they were compelled to report progress only. In September, 1883, the last reunion, - howerer, they were able to say that the work was already in press, and would be ready for delivery in the course of a few weeks.
In the table of contents will be found the names of the authors of the different chapters. The work of Comrades White, Ranlett, Olin, and Noyes, entitles them to the hearty thanks of all their companions in arms. Especially, however, are such thanks due to Comrade W. H. Hodgkins, not only for his own contribution to the history, but also for his careful attention to the innumerable details which the preparation of such a work required. Indeed, without his unwearied endeavors in gathering materials, securing the coöperation of others, and attending to the business of publication, the history would not so soon, and night never, have been completed.
To the writer of these lines was assigned the editorial supervision of the work. From the materials placed in his hands he arranged the history of the regiment as it now appears. Two proofs of the entire work have passed under his eye, and in this part of his task he has had the invaluable assistance of Major Hodgkins. The history, of course, is not free from errors of statement; and it will doubtless be