22 My Brother Theodore Roosevelt
was their duty to allot a certain portion of their pay to their destitute families.
He writes on January 1, 1862:
I have stood on the damp ground talking to the troop and taking their names for six hours at a time. One of the regiments that I visited last, which is wretchedly officered and composed of the scum of our city, seemed for the first time even to recall their families. We had an order from the General of Division, and the Colonel sent his adjutant to carry out our desires. He came, dirty and so drunk that he could not speak straight, and of course got the orders wrong. All the officers seem to be in with the sutler while the private said he was an unmitigated thief. The delays were so great that I stood out with one of these companies after seven o'clock at night, with one soldier holding a candle while I took down the names of those who desired to send money home. The men looked as hard as I have often seen such men look in our Mission neighborhood, but after a little talking and explaining my object and reminding them of those they had left behind them, one after another put down his name, and from this company alone, they allotted, while I was there, $6oo.oo. This would be increased afterwards by the officers, if they were decent ones, and other men absent on guard and through other reasons. I could not help thinking what a subject for a painting it would make as I stood out there in the dark night, surrounded by the men with one candle just showing glimpses of their faces,-tents all around us in the woods. One man, after putting down five dollars a month, said suddenly: "My old woman has always been good to me, and if you please, change it to ten." In a moment, half a dozen others followed his example and doubled their allotments.
I enclose a letter for Teedie [Theodore]. Do take care of yourself and the dear little children while I am away, and remember to enjoy yourself just as much as you can. [This sentence is so like my father. Duty was always paramount,