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[112] at Camden, and wrote with deep feeling of the dead and wounded that were left upon the field at night when our troops were ordered to retire. But his duties were chiefly at Newbern and Beaufort, N. C., where he was stationed as Commissary for several months, occupied, as he 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 experiment about to be tried in the opening campaign. ‘For my part,’ he writes, ‘I consider the success or failure of the negro troops the great problem of the day. We have now some thousands of blacks officered by whites. They resist the climate, keep their regiments one thousand strong, while white regiments get reduced to three or four hundred. They do all the drill, etc. Query, Will they fight? If they will, then Master South is beaten with his own weapons. It cannot be long before some ten thousand of these men will be led under fire. What momentous results centre in that event! If, as some predict, they fly like sheep, we are far from conquest, and from holding our conquests. If they stand, then, unless want of military genius is an incurable trait of our government, the South, from that day, is whipped. . . . . It will be poetic justice, should the cause of all our evils, Slavery, be turned to avenge our wrongs.’

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