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There was little attempt at identification, though in most cases, the burial parties being detailed to glean the same ground which they had assisted to reap, the names of the victorious dead were known and listed.
He saw, and swerving suddenly from his course walked rapidly toward them. Caffal Halcrow was a sergeant in Captain Madwell's company, and these two men, the sergeant and the captain, were devoted friends.
Scanning each one sharply as he passed, he stopped at last above one which lay at a slight remove from the others, near a clump of small trees. In so far as disparity of rank, difference in duties and considerations of military discipline would permit they were commonly together.
From his feet upward to his neck his attitude was that of weariness reposing; but he turned his head uneasily from side to side; his mind was apparently not at rest.
He was perhaps uncertain in which direction to go; he was not likely to remain long where he was, for already the level rays of the setting sun straggled redly through the open spaces of the wood and the weary soldiers were quitting their task for the day.
THE AMERICAN HERITAGE® DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE, FIFTH EDITION by the Editors of the American Heritage Dictionaries.
Copyright © 2016, 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Borrowing from French coup de grâce (“finishing blow”).At the opening of the battle that morning the regiment was performing outpost duty a mile away from the main army.It was attacked and nearly surrounded in the forest, but stubbornly held its ground.Mikhail Gorbachev’s special adviser on military affairs left a suicide note: "Everything I have worked for is being destroyed." Akhromeyev had devoted his life to three institutions: the Soviet army, in whose service he had been wounded at Leningrad in 1941 and through whose ranks he had risen to the position of chief of the General Staff (1984-88); the Communist Party, which he had joined at 20 and on whose Central Committee he had served since 1983; and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics itself, officially founded a year before his birth in 1923. A number of the troops sent to beseige the Russian parliament building—where a crowd that ultimately numbered 100,000 had gathered to defend the Russian president, Boris Yeltsin, and his government—defected to Yeltsin’s side.In the wake of the failed coup all three were disintegrating. After the coup had failed Defense Minister Dimitri Yazov and his deputy, Valentin Varennikov, were arrested. Shaposhnikov, the newly appointed minister, announced that 80 percent of the army’s officers would be replaced because they were politically suspect. As jubilant crowds cheered, statues of communist heroes were pulled down all over Moscow.What, indeed, could the officer have done, being no surgeon and having no water? The officer was Captain Downing Madwell, of a Massachusetts regiment of infantry, a daring and intelligent soldier, an honorable man.At the head of a shallow ravine, a mere depression of the ground, lay a small group of bodies. In the regiment were two brothers named Halcrow--Caffal and Creede Halcrow.He would hardly make a night of it alone there among the dead.Nine men in ten whom you meet after a battle inquire the way to some fraction of the army--as if any one could know. After resting himself a moment he would presumably follow one of the retiring burial squads.Among them moved the stretcher-bearers, gathering and carrying away the few who showed signs of life.Most of the wounded had died of neglect while the right to minister to their wants was in dispute.