Afterwards, while the Army of the Potomac was at Falmouth
was called home on recruiting 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 Railroad, which had filled him with enthusiasm, and then he added:—
I could not help thinking we had indeed a country worth fighting for. To think that we were in danger of losing the great and good government whose paternal care is extended so widely, and whose benign influence is felt in the remotest corner of these wild regions,—which offers freedom and equal rights to all,—whose very greatness is shown in this her, struggle for existence,—made me almost frantic.
If anything were needed to make me feel the necessity of working in the good cause to the last, to give the last drop to my country, this journey has convinced me. God forgive me if I hesitate or falter now. . . . . May you, too, feel this freshness of heart and soul, this renewed vigor, with which this mountain air and scenery have inspired me.
And so he went over into Kentucky
, and, in June, to Vicksburg
The manner of his death was characteristic.
When the troops in July went on to the capital of Mississippi
, Lieutenant Ripley
, on account of an injury to his leg, was left behind, —‘in the wilderness,’ as he said,—with one man to take care of him. After a few days he had nearly recovered, when word came back that Colonel Christ
No orders came for Lieutenant Ripley
, who was then his staff officer, but he said that he felt sure he must be needed, and, over-estimating his own strength, on the 16th of July he hastened forward, riding