A lieutenant at eighteen, p.1
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       A Lieutenant at Eighteen, p.1

           Oliver Optic
 
A Lieutenant at Eighteen


  Produced by David Edwards and the Online DistributedProofreading Team at https://www.pgdp.net (This file wasproduced from images generously made available by TheInternet Archive)

  "SERGEANT FRONKLYN DRAGGED THE FORM OF LIEUTENANT LYONOUT OF THE MELEE." _Page 299._]

  _The Blue and the Gray on Land_

  A LIEUTENANT AT EIGHTEEN

  BY

  OLIVER OPTIC

  AUTHOR OF "THE ARMY AND NAVY SERIES" "YOUNG AMERICA ABROAD, FIRSTAND SECOND SERIES" "THE BOAT-CLUB STORIES" "THE GREAT WESTERNSERIES" "THE WOODVILLE STORIES" "THE ONWARD AND UPWARDSERIES" "THE LAKE SHORE SERIES" "THE YACHT-CLUB SERIES""THE RIVERDALE STORIES" "THE BOAT-BUILDER SERIES""THE BLUE AND THE GRAY--AFLOAT" "A MISSINGMILLION" "A MILLIONAIRE AT SIXTEEN" "A YOUNGKNIGHT-ERRANT" "STRANGE SIGHTS ABROAD""THE YOUNG NAVIGATORS" "UP AND DOWNTHE NILE" "ASIATIC BREEZES" "ACROSSINDIA" "HALF ROUND THE WORLD"ETC., ETC., ETC., ETC., ETC.

  BOSTONLEE AND SHEPARD PUBLISHERS

  COPYRIGHT, 1895, BY LEE AND SHEPARD

  _All rights reserved_

  LIEUTENANT AT EIGHTEEN

  TO

  MY PATRIOTIC FRIEND

  MRS. SARA WHITE LEE

  THE MASSACHUSETTS REGENT

  OF THE

  DAUGHTERS OF THE REVOLUTION

  THIS VOLUME

  IS RESPECTFULLY AND CORDIALLY

  DEDICATED

  PREFACE

  "A LIEUTENANT AT EIGHTEEN" is the third of the series of "The Blue andthe Gray--on Land." The stirring events of thirty-four years ago, whenthe first gun of the Great Rebellion awoke the nation from its slumberof thirteen years of peace, transformed the older boys of the day intomen. Thousands of them who lacked three or four years of theirmajority, and some of them even six or seven years of it, flocked tothe standard of the imperilled Union. While the volunteers were inconsiderable numbers over the military age, those who were not yet outof their teens were earnest in their desire to be enrolled in the ranksof the loyal army, and in one way or another surmounted the obstacle oftheir tender age.

  The youth of the hero of this volume is not contrary to the facts setforth in the official records of the States; neither does hisappearance in a squadron of cavalry constitute an improbability, norhis promotion from the rank of second lieutenant to that of firstlieutenant, nor even his appointment on the staff of a brigadier-general.In the rosters of three regiments of cavalry, preserved in the archivesof a certain State, the name of a young man of seventeen is given as afirst lieutenant; two of eighteen as captains; one of the same age asfirst lieutenant; and three more of that age as second lieutenants.Deck Lyon's rank, therefore, is not exceptional.

  Since the close of the war many high schools in the larger cities, andmany other educational institutions, have taught military drill andevolutions in their regular courses; and the students have beenorganized as companies, battalions, and regiments, and are thus trainedin actual practice as officers, from a corporal to a colonel, and asprivates, for service in the field if we should again unfortunately beinvolved in a war with a foreign or domestic enemy.

  The important battle of Mill Springs, or Logan's Cross Roads as it isindifferently called in the official reports of the government, isintroduced in the story, though not in its minute details. TheRiverlawn Cavalry are present, and take part in the action, and thecommand of the principal character renders important service on theoutskirts of the battle-field; and the squadron, either as a whole orin detachments, was busily employed. The State was overrun by lawlesshordes of ruffians, of which Shaler, the latest historian of the State,writes as follows:--

  "Deserters from both armies formed bands of outlaws called guerillas. These wretches, without commanders from either army, sheltered in the great forests that abound in nearly all parts of the State, were often strong enough to overcome the domestic forces, and were guilty of many outrages. They brought back to Kentucky the evils of its struggle with the Indians. Men again tilled their fields with their muskets by their sides, and slept in expectation of combat. During this and the following year these parties were hunted down, and, when captured, hanged without mercy. Still their numbers, their daring, and their swift movements, made the struggle as difficult and as bloody as in any year during the last century."

  The Riverlawn Cavalry was largely employed in operations against these irregular bodies of marauders; and there were so many of them that the force was kept constantly occupied. The cavalry had plenty of exciting experience; and the hero, in command of his platoon on detached service, proved himself to be not only a brave officer, but a skilful strategist.

  Compared with the States farther north, Kentucky had a terrible experience in the earlier years of the war, in her desperate struggle with Confederate and domestic enemies; and she is certainly entitled as a Union State to greater honor and respect for her loyalty and fidelity to the Union, and for sending so large a number of troops as she did "to the front," than any other loyal State.

  WILLIAM T. ADAMS.

 
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