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He married, in 1857, Cornelia, the eldest daughter of the late General Wadsworth, of Geneseo, and was residing with his father-in-law when the cannon at Charleston called them both to the field. Ritchie left a wife and two young sons behind him when he entered the service.

It was some weeks before he obtained a position as Volunteer Aid on General Blenker's staff, and was engaged in active duty. Just before the battle of Bull Run, he was transferred to the staff of General Miles, whose warm commendation he received for the part he bore in the trying scenes that followed. He did not yield to the panic which overcame many of his comrades, but remained at his post with the rear-guard, and on the sad morning after the rout joined with General Wadsworth in caring for the wounded and directing the stragglers at Fairfax Court-House, which he and his father-in-law were among the last, if not themselves the last, to leave before the entrance of the enemy. Circumstances for which he was entirely irresponsible deprived him of the military appointment he had held, and he returned to Geneseo.

But it was only to labor ‘night and day,’ as he is described to have done, in recruiting for the Wadsworth Guards, the Geneseo or Hundred 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. Strong as the impulse must have been to decline the appointment and return to the Geneseo regiment, he decided, as generously as became him, that his duty was to go on with the expedition, and he began his work as Commissary, with the rank of Captain, on General Reno's staff. He was soon in battle, commanding a gunboat at Roanoke Island, and braving, at Reno's side, the hottest of the fire at Newbern. A little later, he was in action

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