marched and countermarched, as I will tell at some future time, when I have pen, ink, and opportunity. . . . . The whole of Franklin's grand corps is passing in the rear of our camp, crossing the river on the left,—artillery, infantry, and cavalry, by the thousands. My men are pretty much used up by want of shoes, and consequent colds. I had, by actual count, yesterday, a force of only three hundred and fifty-three men and seventeen officers with which to go into battle. I hope to write in a few days more fully.This was either the last letter he wrote, or else the next to the last. It bears the same date with the last letter to his wife. On Saturday, before he fell, his thought must have been upon the impending battle. The sad duty remains of speaking of the last hours of the Christian soldier; of the man (as truly and tersely described by a friend) ‘who never raised his arm or his voice in anger or pride; the self-controlled, highly moral, and exemplary man, whom even the follies of youth never seemed to touch.’ On Sunday evening, December 14th, a telegram was received from Falmouth, Virginia, without date, saying that ‘Major Willard died this afternoon, at half past 1’; and soon after, in the same evening, a second telegram was received, also without date, that ‘Major Willard lies in Fredericksburg, wounded, shot through the body,’ and containing a request to his wife ‘to come immediately.’ Nothing further was heard until Monday evening, December 15th. Meanwhile the family had been in an agony of suspense, buoyed up with hope against hope. In the confusion of the day, there might have been a mistake in the first telegram received; the son, husband, and brother might be, and perhaps was, living. Several plausible theories were suggested; but Monday evening (when several members of the family, who had left Boston in the morning, were on their way to Washington) brought with it a confirmation of the intelligence. The regiment left the city of Fredericksburg at half past 11 o'clock on Saturday morning, and was advancing against the Rebels; the Major being in front of Color-company B,
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