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[252]

1853.


Wilder Dwight.

Major 2d Mass. Vols. (Infantry), May 24, 1861; Lieutenant-Colonel, June 13, 1862; died September 19, 1862, of wounds received at Antietam, September 17.


Wilder Dwight, second son of William and Elizabeth Amelia (White) Dwight, was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, on the 23d of April, 1833. His paternal ancestor was John Dwight of Oxfordshire, England, who settled in Dedham, Massachusetts, in 1636. His mother was descended from William White of Norfolk County, England, who settled in Ipswich, Massachusetts, in 1635. His family has belonged to New England for more than two centuries, and during that whole period has been identified with its history, its industry, its enterprises, and its institutions.

In childhood he gave promise of all that he afterwards became,—manly, courageous, self-possessed, acute, original, frank, affectionate, generous, reliable;—he was, in boyhood, not less than in manhood, one in whom to ‘place an absolute trust.’ Yet, in less vital points, he was no pattern boy. He had a quick and irritable temper, which was a source of trouble to himself and to his friends in early life, and which, early and late in life, it was his effort to control. Full of fun, and ever ready with comical suggestions, his drollery was irresistible. Many a reproof did he ward off by it in childhood; many a dark hour did he brighten by it in after years. When not six years old, it was said of him: ‘He has a sincere love of right, and aversion to wrong, though he does not desire to hear preaching on the subject.’ Before he was seven, he was pronounced uncommonly clear-headed and strong in intellect. At the age of seven and a half he began to study industriously; and from that time he was a faithful student.

At the age of thirteen he left home for the first time, to fit

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