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The silence of duty

“The scenes in a soldier’s life are continually shifting, sometimes for better and sometimes for worse, and we soldiers get to be nearly as indifferent about the matter, and care as little where we go, as a horse cares where his driver may see fit to drive him.  And we have just as little voice in the matter as a horse has.  One day a soldier may be in his tent comfortable, contented, and happy, and the next day on a march with but few of the world’s comforts and but little cause of contentment except what he finds within himself.  A soldier’s time and services are not his own, they belong to the Government which he has sworn to defend, and it is his duty to be ever ready and obey with alacrity whatever the Government calls upon him to do.  Sometimes a streak of good luck will turn up to a soldier whether he deserves it or not, and sometimes they won’t turn up though he may deserve it ever so well.  It would be easy to mention a great many good boys in the ranks who have been doing duty at the front since the war began, but to whom no soft detail has ever been given, or any particular favors shown.” – Wilbur Fisk, Hard Marching Every Day (eds. E. and R. Rosenblatt)

Published inAmerican Civil WarLit & Crit

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