|Gen. Devens, in his speech at the Sheridan dinner at Boston last week,
said of his old regiment the 15th Mass.
"I remember when my regiment and one from Minnesota were ordered to build a road and I found that the Minnesota regiment composed at it was in the main part of men accustomed to wielding an axe, were doing more wood chopping in one day than my regiment was in two". I entered into a compact with them, and instead of alternately doing guard duty my men did guard duty all the time and the Minnesota men did the chopping.
"But if they could chop wood better than my men, there was something we could do better, for the commanding officer of that regiment came to me one day and asked if I had a man in my regiment who could do some clerical work for him. I replied that any of my men could and assigned one for that duty. He was more that pleased and was subsequently heard to say; "There is not a man in the 15th Massachusetts who is not capable of teaching a Latin school"
We have inquired of one of the Oxford company about this circumstance and he remembers all about it, and says " Sergeant Major, afterwards Gen. Francis H. Walker was the man detailed.
In speaking of the way these Minnesota men fell trees, he said that they were a regiment of large men, who swung the axe breast high, and cut the trees nearly through and left them standing just ready to fall. They would begin on one side and work their thus through a lot and on reaching the other side, would fall the outer trees inward. These would communicate their fall to the adjoining trees, and so on, the whole forest falling together. The First Minnesota were great fighters as well as choppers.