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[241] showed no signs of abating, he abandoned further progress, and rowed home. Many shorter trips in this beloved boat were from time to time successfully carried out, and he had projected a long excursion for that summer which saw him depart from his home forever for the sterner scenes of war.

In 1861, the alarum of war found Willard well established in business, engaged to be married, and surrounded by friends whose number was constantly increasing. He had found his position in life, which it was not probable any change would unfix. His home satisfied his tastes, but imposed upon him active duties and a life of energetic effort.

At an early period of his life he had been interested in military affairs. In his boyhood the battles and sieges of Froissart engrossed his attention with far more than the ordinary boy's interest in scenes of enterprise and exciting adventure. Later, he followed up this study, as he did all his studies, to a thorough and exact acquaintance with various details of military science. To his expertness in the use of the sword he had added great skill as a shot. Overcoming an early strong dislike to mathematics, he had in maturer years, with iron perseverance, made himself thoroughly versed in the higher branches, and trained to exact calculation of distances as a draughtsman. Study soon made him well informed in the theory, as experiment gave him great skill in the actual practice, of projectiles. He had joined the organization of the Boston Cadets in 1858, believing in the great value of some militia system, faulty as he felt the existing one to be. He had projected long before this time the scheme of a company where vigorous and rigid drill, and a uniform sufficient to promote discipline, but admitting the freest use of the limbs and the most active exercise, should be combined with constant practice in the use of arms, and the routine of the camp should be learned by actual trial; but he had not found time to put his plan in operation before the critical hour came.

Immediately after the passage of the ordinance of secession by South Carolina in December, 1860, and before the first note of war had sounded, he began drilling a club formed

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