field and keep them moving. Military science I have absolutely none, military talent I am too ignorant yet to recognize; but my education and experience in business and in the working of men may, if wanted, be made available at once in the regular army. . . . . Of course I am too old to be tickled with a uniform, and too apathetic to get up such a feeling against the worst traitor among them as to desire personally to slay him; but like every young soldier, I am anxious for one battle as an experience; after that, I shall be content to bide my time, working where I can do most service, and learning all I can from observation and from books. I believe no one is more anxious to see the government “go through” than I am. I want to see the Baltimore traitors put on trial at once and armed rebellion everywhere crushed out; but I cannot help feeling that the task is a long one, and of uncertain issue; and whether we are to have a long war and subdue them, or a short war and a separation, it is evident that the army is to assume a new position among us. It will again become a profession. Hence my anxiety to get into the Artillery; if the change is to come, I want to be in position to take the best advantage of it. . . . . The government troops parade here, and crowds stare at them. In Alexandria (six miles off, I was down there last week) the Virginia troops parade, and crowds gape at them. As to fancying any hostile relation between them, it is almost impossible. . . . . My room-mate, S——, was at Richmond last Friday, drove all about the town and visited the camps in the neighborhood; he reports them to be in quite large force and very anxious for a fight, thoroughly convinced that they were fighting the battles of freedom!
May 25.After the movement yesterday across the river, all passing to and fro was forbidden; but Mr. Dalton and myself, by going up to Georgetown and making interest with the Irishmen of the Sixty-ninth, who have a rather Milesian idea of sentry's duty, succeeded in getting into Virginia. We visited the earthworks and many of the camps and dined at Arlington House on corn-pone and milk. There were no troops yesterday within two miles of Arlington, and the place was just in the prime of its spring beauty. I have seen no place like it in this country for position and for well-improved natural advantages. I suppose to-day it is occupied; and in spite of its importance and of its owner's treason, I cannot think of it with much pleasure. . . . . If I have been of any use to the Massachusetts troops, I am very glad of it. I wish our people would not
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Ode recited at the Harvard commemoration, July 21 , 1865 .
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