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‘ [263] equally of course, I keep a cheerful spirit, and mean to do my best to the end.’

Two weeks later, the regiment saw its first action in the field, on the occasion of General Banks's retreat in May, 1862. From General Gordon's official report of his portion of the retreating forces we quote the following:—

Major Dwight, of the Second Massachusetts, while gallantly bringing up the rear of the regiment, was missed somewhere near or in the outskirts of the town. It is hoped that this promising and brave officer, so cool upon the field, so efficient everywhere, so much beloved in his regiment, and whose gallant services on the night of the 24th instant will never be forgotten by them, may have met with no worse fate than to be held a prisoner of war.

Chaplain Quint of the Second wrote at this time:

Our hopes that Massachusetts will be proud of the late history of the Second Regiment are clouded by the anxiety felt by every man as to the Major's fate. . . . . You will know how nobly he commanded the little band of skirmishers on Saturday night last; when his small force was formed against cavalry and infantry, with entire success; how his clear, cool, deliberate words of command inspired the men, so that no man faltered, while, in ten minutes, one company lost one fourth of its number.

Of this command of the skirmishers, Major Dwight's journal contains the following:—

At General Jackson's Headquarters I saw the Lieutenant-Colonel of the Fifth or Second Virginia Regiment. He asked who it was at the Run near Bartonsville. I told him I had that honor. He said that he had three companies of his regiment deployed there; and he added, that he did not care to fight us again in the dark.

Many were the tributes to his bravery at this time. Of these, none so deeply affected him as one which he received from a wounded man of the regiment, whom he was endeavoring to cheer by telling him how well he and his comrades had done in the fight. The man looked at him, with tears in his eyes, and said, ‘Ah, Major, I'm afraid we should n't have done so well if it had not been for you.’

Chaplain Quint wrote:—--

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