rry, calling their encampment Camp Banks.
The regiment was soon after removed to Darnestown, where it remained until it was transferred to Cantonment Hicks, about four miles east of Frederick City, in Maryland, arriving there on Thursday, December 5, 1861.
At that place the regiment remained in camp until February 27, 1862, when it marched into Virginia for more active service.
For the next four or five months the Webster regiment, forming part of the division of the army under Major-General Banks, was mainly employed in guarding the Upper Potomac, and keeping vigilant watch upon the enemy, so as to prevent him from crossing the river into Maryland.
It was an important though not an exciting service, and was of essential value in completing their military training, and giving them that efficiency which is the result of mutual knowledge and mutual confidence.
During all this time Colonel Webster showed himself possessed, in no common measure, of the qualities of a good comma
f all. His marked intelligence and honorable purposes commanded the respect of the House.
During the summer following, at a time when recruiting moved heavily in New Bedford, Rodman decided to raise a company for the war, and showed such zeal that he was ultimately commissioned Major of the Thirty-eighth Massachusetts, dating from August 19th, 1862.
The regiment left the State on September 24th, and was encamped near Baltimore until November 10th, when it sailed for New Orleans, with General Banks's expedition.
During the period of delay, Rodman wrote with his accustomed frankness: I am green as a leek, but pick up constantly, and manage pretty well.
This admission makes it the more interesting to read in his letters the record of steady progress and of final mastery.
camp Belger, Baltimore, Md., September 5, 1862.
So you see we are not likely to have a mere picnic party out of our military life, but shall probably have our share of hard knocks before I see New Bedfo
jestingly said, in the grocery business of those posts.
It was a hard, a very hard service for him, and one that fretted his spirit so much as to demand all the determination of which he was capable, to hold him fast.
He persevered until ill health compelled him to go home in the summer of 1862.
As soon as he regained his strength, he obtained a commission as Captain in the First Massachusetts Cavalry, to qualify himself for duty on the staff of General Augur in the expedition under General Banks to the Mississippi.
Fatigue and exposure, with the added effects of the climate, brought on during that winter another illness, far more serious than the attack of the preceding summer.
His physicians attempted to dissuade him from continuing in the service, but his self-devotion was stronger than their counsels, and he resumed his staff duties at New Orleans, then at Baton Rouge.
A letter from this place, one of the very few of his letters which are now within reach, speaks of the ex
discouragement and dejection would fall upon the friends of freedom everywhere, should the North now yield to the entreaties of those who say, Do not persist in this war, for you will be only shedding blood to no purpose.
In accordance with these principles, Mr. Sedgwick forsook his profession, and was commissioned (May 25, 1861) as First Lieutenant in the Second Massachusetts Volunteers (Colonel Gordon). He went into service with the regiment, was detailed as ordnance officer of Major-General Banks's corps, and was soon transferred to the staff of Major-General Sedgwick, his kinsman, with the rank of Major.
All through his period of service he wrote constantly to his family; and the following extracts will show his habits of mind, and the spirit in which he served his country.
St. Louis, Missouri, April 18, 1861.
The excitement increases here daily.
I do not expect any outbreak to occur here for the present, but at the same time a breaking out of hostilities here at
Vol. A. D. C. (rank of Captain), Major-General Banks's staff, December 4, 1862; died at Bostf, and was accepted, as a Volunteer Aid to General Banks, whose expedition was under orders for thehim for the position he sought, and joined General Banks's staff, with the rank of Captain.
The ex reconstruction, and of the means by which General Banks was attempting to overcome them, than can rmed these duties we have the testimony of General Banks, who writes:—
Among many patriotic oe Sequestration Commission has been, until General Banks's arrival, an institution of almost unlimited, or reasonably so, and jolly.
When General Banks reached Louisiana, one of the first thingsnion there may be as to the means by which General Banks and his assistants attempted to solve the end of February Captain Hooper was sent by General Banks to Donaldsonville to inspect the working oully and nobly.
His term of service, says General Banks, was not long nor free from suffering, but[1 more...]
Night before last accumulated the evidence from reports of Captains and Quartermaster about the want of tea, hard bread, salt pork, &c. I went up to General Banks's Headquarters and had a long talk with him, urging the remedies which have occurred to my mind.
The General promises to change all this, and to accomplish thns.
At last, also, we have tea; and, indeed, we have waked up our Commissary to something like activity.
At one time he writes:—
We had a visit from General Banks yesterday.
The General visited our kitchens, and tasted, with apparent approval, my doughnuts.
I say mine, because I regard as perhaps the most successful en of course, I keep a cheerful spirit, and mean to do my best to the end.
Two weeks later, the regiment saw its first action in the field, on the occasion of General Banks's retreat in May, 1862.
From General Gordon's official report of his portion of the retreating forces we quote the following:—
Major Dwight, of the Seco
respect he won from his brother officers, and the devoted regard of those whom he led. His personal behavior rose uniformly to the highest tide-mark of noble sentiment and actual fidelity.
In the unavoidable and admirably planned retreat of General Banks, before overwhelming numbers, near the Shenandoah, though so exhausted that had he fallen by the way he could not have risen again, he was faithfully in his place.
All the hardships and privations of a soldier's life he bore with signal fortlongside and two just in front.
Perhaps there might have been a dozen of my company who slept in their tents that night.
The first time his company and himself were under fire was when deployed as skirmishers in the advance of the army under Banks up the Shenandoah Valley.
After describing the position of his men, he says:—
Then the shelling would be splendid for a minute or two, till the enemy retired.
It was the first experience of our men under fire; and a grand display it was,
for him a death more consonant with his ardent and heroic temper.
At the time of his death, May 4, 1863, he was temporarily attached to the brigade of his brother, Brigadier-General William Dwight, Jr., to whom he was bearing despatches from General Banks. General Dwight's official report of the day's operations contains the following:—
An event occurred to-day of a nature distressing to me, personally, and of such a character as to demand the attention of the authorities in this departmhan he was by the band of classmates who soon after met to give expression to their love and grief in terms sotender and affectionate, and so keenly appreciative of his worth, that they fell like balm upon the wounded hearts of his family.
General Banks, in a letter to the Rebel General Taylor, in relation to the murder of Captain Dwight, says of him:—
Captain Dwight was one of the most upright and exemplary young men of his country.
Never, in a single instance, in his short but bril
our humble friend.
Towards the end of February Lieutenant Patten, who had been chafing all winter at the general inactivity, exultingly writes a hurried line: We really expect an advance, and the thought thrills every fibre of us. An advance!
and battle!-perhaps death,—surely victory and glory.
The regiment is ready,—on, on to Richmond and victory.
Shortly after, in March, the division, Sedgwick's, moved across the Potomac and up the Shenandoah Valley nearly to Winchester in support of Banks's movement, and then was withdrawn to Bolivar.
During this operation, our Lieutenant insisted that he had slept better in the open air than ever under any roof.
The great Peninsular campaign followed, beginning in April, 1862.
At Yorktown, Lieutenant Patten got his first sight of siege and battle.
Thence Sedgwick's division was despatched in the column which occupied West Point; but the Twentieth was only drawn up in support in the action there.
The whole of Sumner's corps was now no
es (February 16, 1860), I am getting into the political circles in a style that surprises me. Did I tell you I should go on my stumping tour with letters from Governor Banks and all the notables here to all the notables out West?
I shall probably be engaged in speaking for two months. Not steadily.
Meanwhile, I am reading up des remained in camp at Fort Warren nearly three months, constantly improving in drill and discipline.
It arrived at Harper's Ferry, July 27th, and was placed in General Banks's division.
They soon proceeded to Hyattstown, Maryland, where Captain Shurtleff was taken dangerously ill with malarious fever, and was brought home on sick-orps.
Whilst the Twelfth (the left regiment of the brigade) was crossing an open field but a few yards distant from some woods, which Generals Pope, McDowell, and Banks, with their escort, were on the point of entering, the enemy, seeing and hearing the horses, opened a sharp fire upon them.
We happened to be immediately in the