s I am writing, two boys, one with a sprained foot and one with an ulcerated sore throat, are waiting for me.
Again he wrote, more despondingly:—
Nothing, however, troubles me much that concerns myself.
But for my country, at times, I almost despair.
How terrible this nightmare of a war, that never seems to advance or accomplish anything!
I sometimes feel that the day of grace has passed, that our repentance of our sin is too late, and that our nation is doomed.
This defeat of Burnside, and butchery of the boys, the sufferings of the unpaid soldiers, without tents, poor rations, a single blanket each, with no bed but the hard, damp ground,—--it is these things that kill me.
In February, 1863, he was detailed by Colonel Ross, his regimental commander, to report for duty to the Sanitary Commission at Washington.
He was to serve in the Special Relief Department, planned and directed by his old friend, Rev. Frederick N. Knapp, whose name should be forever remembered in h
he be killed, could legally receive no pension, and therefore having the more to risk,— has volunteered, without a soldier's training, for the most perilous duty of a common soldier, and been killed in doing it.
The Army of the Potomac, under Burnside, was to cross the river at Fredericksburg.
It was six o'clock, and though the pontoons were partly laid, yet the fire of the enemy's sharpshooters was so furious that the work could not be finished.
The boats could carry but a hundred at a timthe wound from the ball entering his arm, as sometimes soldiers are not conscious of wounds in battle, or he may have been simultaneously hit by another rifle.
We were in a very exposed position.
Shortly before the Chaplain came up, one of General Burnside's aids accosted me, expressing surprise, and saying, What are you doing here, Captain?
I replied that I had orders.
He said that I must retire, if the Rebels pressed us too hard.
In about half and hour I had definite orders to retire, and
ng service for the Second Massachusetts Cavalry.
His intention of remaining with that regiment was not carried out, and in February, 1863, he returned to his regiment, which was then, or soon afterwards, placed in the Ninth Army Corps under General Burnside.
In March this corps went into Kentucky.
As they were moving westward, he wrote home a letter which was full of the pure inspirations that stirred him. He had been speaking of the beautiful mountain scenery along the Baltimore and Ohio Raid and Fourth New York Volunteers, of whom he was to have been Lieutenant-Colonel.
Before the regiment was organized, however, in December, 1861, he received a summons to join the expedition then on the eve of departure, under the command of General Burnside; and, always eager for active service, he hastened to Fortress Monroe.
A grievous disappointment befell him there, for, instead of the position to which he had looked forward, the post of Commissary of Subsistence proved to be awaiting him.
me precise old tactician, who roars in wrath at the slightest error in your course of proceeding. . . . . If I live to come back, it won't be for want of all sorts of training that I am not evenly developed, body and mind.
The army under General Burnside now moved southward in a line parallel to that pursued by the retiring army of Lee down the Shenandoah Valley.
On the 10th of November, near Jefferson he writes:—
We have been marching incessantly since November 1st; had snow-storms beyond all description; but now we are promised a two days halt.
I wish you, dear——, the pleasantest Thanksgiving you have ever had. I shall, God willing, remember you all most lovingly on that day; and I know you will not forget me. . . . . Burnside means to push for Richmond; in what way, I am sure I can't tell or conjecture: but we shall have some very hard fighting, I expect, within the next four weeks.
camp off Fredericksburg, November 28.
We had a quiet Thanksgiving, withou<
It was a mortification that his schoolmates and classmates were able to show their zeal and self-sacrifice, while he was compelled to stay at home.
In January, 1864, against the wishes of friends, who knew his physical unfitness for military service,—and, indeed, without their knowledge,—he enlisted in the Fourteenth Massachusetts Battery, (Captain Wright,) then in camp at Readville.
There he was detailed as clerk at the post headquarters.
At a review of the troops by Major-General Burnside, he stood for several hours with wet feet; took a severe cold, which brought on a congestion of the lungs; went home on a three days furlough, which was extended to three weeks on account of his continued illness, and returned to camp on the 14th of March.
It was then found, on examination, that he was physically unfit for the service, and he was dropped without having been mustered in.
This new discouragement did not hinder him from trying again.
He went alone to Hartford, Conn
) J. Lewis Stackpole, commanded the company.
The Twenty-fourth Massachusetts was among the troops which constituted the force sent to North Carolina under General Burnside.
The regiments destined for this command were sent at first to Annapolis in November, 1861, where they spent a short time in preparatory organization and brwing to ignorance of the channel and the too great draught of water of most of the transports,—the confusion and alarm on board the ships, the noble exertions of Burnside and Foster and other officers, and the wonderful passage of the straits at last, without serious loss, will long be remembered.
The first object attempted by the expedition was the capture of Roanoke Island, which was accomplished early in February.
After some feints in the direction of Plymouth and Norfolk, General Burnside landed near the mouth of the Neuse, marched his troops within a short distance of the enemy's works, and on the 14th of March, after a short contest with musketry
s without having been through a half of his service.
But it had no attraction for him. With no lack of ambition, he would yet have served always in his subordinate position, rather than have been the commanding officer of any other regiment.
Burnside's brief but bloody campaign followed.
In the memorable attempt to carry the heights beyond Fredericksburg, the first thing necessary was to throw pontoon-bridges across the Rappahannock.
Hall's brigade, consisting of the Nineteenth and Twentiere the division (the Second of the Second Corps) was assigned to General Sedgwick's famous column on the left, which carried Fredericksburg, stormed Marye's Heights, threatening Lee's whole army with destruction, and, when Hooker had failed like Burnside, held the line of outposts till all had recrossed the river.
Meade now succeeded, and Gettysburg was fought.
In that tremendous battle the Twentieth, as usual, was under the hottest fire.
It was in that division, for example, on Cemetery R
nt left Boston.
Thus far, he had escaped from wounds, though fever had once kept him for several weeks from his command.
He frequently said, during his visit home, that the regiment could not expect such immunity from the casualties of battle during the new term of service.
Promotion had been slow, but another year would advance the survivors more rapidly.
He was willing to take his chance, and was not afraid to die.
His first battle was at Roanoke Island, in the winter of 1862, when Burnside commanded; he was in action at Newbern, Kinston, Whitehall, Goldsborough Bridge, and elsewhere; his last battle was at Drury's Bluff, near Richmond, Virginia, under Butler.
The siege of Fort Wagner was an episode in his career, and he there showed indications that he was especially adapted for service so difficult.
When ordered to the front, he wrote (March 21, 1863):—
We are expecting orders hourly to embark for the great trial of the war; and if I am fortunate enough to get out a
o'clock the flag-officer's servant awakened me to go on deck and signal to General Burnside.
Early in the morning we got up, and went on board the Southfield.
The dansports remaining in the rear.
At five o'clock the flag-officer signalled to Burnside to land, we covering the landing; and before dark most of the troops were asho ordered an extra allowance of grog all round.
In the evening we learned that Burnside was completely successful, having captured two thousand prisoners and fourteenction, and he was the only man that did not dodge.
From Roanoke Island General Burnside and the fleet turned to Newbern, which was captured after a brisk engageme Porter.
Unfortunately, Franklin and Sumner, at Centreville, had not come up, Burnside was at Fredericksburg, and Banks at Bristow's Station.
These were heavy deduc day and the next to Boonsborough, passing through a gap in the mountain where Burnside had had a fight the day before.
On the 16th our corps, then commanded by Gene
army recrossed the Rappahannock.
His powers of endurance were again tasked in Burnside's attempted advance, which was stopped by the mud; and once more his regiment d was detailed on December 23d, with two other signal officers, to go with General Burnside's expedition, and joined General Burnside's command at Annapolis.
Here heGeneral Burnside's command at Annapolis.
Here he found a good deal of work and responsibility.
He and his two associates, Lieutenants Fricker and Foster, had to instruct twenty other officers from the different reharge of all the signalling for the expedition.
Early in January, 1862, General Burnside's expedition set sail for Hatteras Inlet.
Much difficulty was experiencedhins.
The Colonel Satterly arrived safely at Hatteras, and reported to General Burnside on January 28th, and found the whole fleet there, except two vessels whichoyment, and he began to think of returning to his regiment.
On March 11th General Burnside's expedition sailed from Roanoke Island for Newbern, North Carolina, Lieut