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Stand By The Union

by Oliver Optic

Though it is said that the South "robbed the cradle and the grave" to recruit the armies of the Confederacy, it is as true that young and old in the North went forth in their zeal to "Stand by the Union," and that many and many a young soldier and sailor who had not yet seen twenty summers endured the hardships of the camp and the march, the broiling suns, and the wasting maladies of semi-tropical seas, fought bravely and nobly for the unity of the land they loved, and that thousands of them sleep their last sleep in unmarked graves on the sea and the land. The writer can remember whole companies, of which nearly half of the number could be classed as mere boys. These boys of eighteen to twenty, who survived the rain of bullets, shot, and shell, and the hardly less fatal assaults of disease, are the middle-aged men of to-day, and every one of them has a thrilling story to tell. The boys of to-day read with interest the narratives of the boys of thirty years ago, and listen with their blood deeply stirred to the recital of the veteran of forty-five years, or even younger, who brought back to his home only one arm or one leg.

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