As many know, in 1863 the War Department became worried that many veteran soldiers' three years term of enlistment were about to expire and that the army would suddenly lose a large core of experienced men. To entice them to re-enlist for another three years, they appealed to their patriotism and offered re-enlistment bonuses of up to $400 plus any additional amount their state and local government may offer. Perhaps the most appealing thing was a thirty day furlough to anyone who re-enlisted. Those who re-enlisted were sent home.
In one company, it was pretty bad and a lot of men were transferred out. This reduced one company to one lieutenant and four privates. The lieutenant almost immediately promoted the most promising and intelligent man to sergeant. The regiment had a dress parade.
We had a dress parade in the evening, the first for a long time, and when I marched out onto the line with a sergeant and one man, the other two being on guard, giving my orders in a loud voice as if I had a full company, there was a snicker along the whole line.