On the 20th of April, 1861, hearing of the attack made the preceding day in Baltimore on the Sixth Massachusetts Regiment, Lowell instantly abandoned his position and set out for Washington. In what manner he made the journey is not clearly known; but he reached the capital on Monday, April 22d, one of the first-comers from the North since public communication had been broken. He thus announced his action to his mother (April 24th): ‘I was fortunate enough to be in Baltimore last Sunday, and to be here at present. How Jim and Henry will envy me! . . . . I shall come to see you, if I find there is nothing to be done here. So have the blue room ready.’ He put himself at once at the disposal of the government, and applied for the commission of Second Lieutenant of Artillery in the Regular Army. While awaiting the result of his application, Lowell sought to be of service as a civilian. As soon as the railway was opened, he went to Annapolis, and exerted himself there for the Massachusetts troops; first, in a private capacity, as the representative of several Boston gentlemen, and afterwards as a semi-official agent of the State. It is believed that he was also at this time employed by the government as a scout, and that in this perilous service he found opportunities of indulging his dashing spirit, and obtained valuable information concerning the condition and movements of the enemy.
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