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Your views are perfectly natural; but the same reasons which should induce me to withdraw from the service of government would, if adopted by all those to whom they apply as well as to me, break up our armies and leave us at the mercy of Southern dictators. In one prediction I have seen already that I was quite right, —in saying to my friends, when they tried to persuade me to the contrary, that we should find there would be far from a superabundance of those ready for their country's call to arms, and that every one would be needed; even now we have barely enough to stand on the defensive. After having once taken the step, and feeling as I do, I know you could only despise me, should I forsake my country's cause because you regard it as almost hopeless. Were these views, which I believe are general, not only in Germany but in all Europe, to prevail throughout the North, and were those engaged now in their country's service to reason as foreigners do for us, we should be lost indeed; but we should deserve our fate, in such a case, and for very shame could only wish to be buried in the ruins our want of faith had involved us in. For my part, if my country is to perish, my hope is to perish with her. I could not wish to survive the downfall of what I regard as the world's hope. Should America cease to be a first-class power, and be broken up in contemptible little fragments, what would you think would become of England? How long would it be before she would lie before the feet of France? What would become of the surplus population of Europe? What chance would be left to Germany and Italy in the struggle for eventual freedom after the failure of the grandest experiment of a free government that the world has known? Utter 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.

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May 25th, 1861 AD (1)
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