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William Bircher remembers coming home.

July 11, 1865

We were then disbanded and said the last “good-bye” to our comrades in arms, the great majority of whom we would never, in all probability, see again. And a more hearty, rough-and-ready, affectionate good-bye there never was in all this wide world. Songs were sung, hands were shaken, or rather rung, many a loud, hearty “God bless you, old fellow!” resounded, and many were the toasts and the healths that were drunk before the men parted for good.

Source: William Bircher, A Drummer-Boy’s Diary, ed. Newell L. Chester (St. Cloud, MN: North Star Press, 1995), 127.



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