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The Wisconsin alumni magazine
Volume 1, Number 4 (Jan. 1900)

The University during the war,   pp. 153-160


Page 156


Wisconsin Alumni Magazine.
mother college to the motherland, seemed each a warrior
whose prowess should be felt in the coming struggle, and who
should come back to us crowned with laurels of victory, amid
the acclamations of a nation saved by their valor. We had
read of the three hundred who held the pass of old; but here
was a Thermopylae in our own time, and our bravest and best
were going forth to fill it. No mailed warrior of that older
time, no crusader going out to battle for cross or holy sepul-
cher, went forth more bravely than they.
   By and by came their letters from camp, filled, as all such let-
 ters were, with details of' the strange new life upon which they
 had entered; of the daily drill and picket duty, and longings
 to meet the enemy, but never a word of repining or of com-
 plaint. And then came that engagement at Falling Waters, in
 Virginia, where our First Regiment was for the first time under
 fire. And, writing back of their experiences and sensations
 when under fire, they seemed to us hero worshipers at home to
 be already warriors such as the bronzed veterans of the Old
 Guard; and the skirmishes through which they had passed
 grew in our imaginations to a very Waterloo of battle, in which
 our volunteers were chiefest among the conquerors.
 But the little band who went out in the First infantry were
 only the forerunners of those yet to follow. Each successive
 call for troops thinned our ranks and took from our number
 those whom we could ill afford to spare. Of the one hundred
 and nineteen students borne on the catalogue for the year I86I,
 nineteen had enlisted when the Board of Regents presented
 their report on the ioth of October of that year. Out of this
 same one hundred and nineteen, comprising the aggregate at-
 tendance for the college year ending June, I86I, at least forty-
 six entered the service during the war. In other words, forty
 per cent. of the entire number of students for the opening year
 of the war entered the military servige in various capacities
 before its completion. My own class, that of '64, bearing upon
 the class roll the names of forty-nine students, classical and
 scientific, during our freshman year, contributed seventeen of
that number to the army. Entering upon the sophomore year
156
[January


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