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[287] feel so very anxious about their comfort. Their health and morale is excellent, and they are as efficient as any troops here. I am sure you do not worry so much about my comfort, and I do not see why other mothers should. The greatest kindness to our troops now is to teach them to use what they have.


June 7.
[To C. E. Perkins, Esq., Burlington.] ‘I cannot say I take any great pleasure in the contemplation of the future. I fancy you feel much as I do about the profitableness of a soldier's life, and would not think of trying it, were it not for a muddled and twisted idea that somehow or other this fight was going to be one in which decent men ought to engage for the sake of humanity,—I use the word in its ordinary sense. It seems to me that within a year the slavery question will again take a prominent place, and that many cases will arise in which we may get fearfully in the wrong if we put our cause wholly in the hands of fighting men and foreign legions.’


About the middle of June, Lowell received his commission (dated May 14, 1861), as Captain in the Third (afterwards numbered Sixth) Regiment of United States Cavalry; and he was engaged, during the summer, in recruiting in different parts of the country.

Warren, Ohio, August 5.

You seem to feel worse about the Bull Run defeat than I do. To me the most discouraging part of the whole is the way in which company officers have too many of them behaved since the affair,— skulking about Washington, at Willard's or elsewhere, letting their names go home in the lists of killed or missing, eating and sleeping, and entirely ignoring the commands of their superiors and the moral and physical needs of their men. I regard it as a proof of something worse than loose discipline,—as a proof that these officers at least have no sense of the situation and no sentiment for their cause. If there are to be many such, we are whipped from the outset. Fancy Jim or Willy behaving so! I know that my Southern classmates in the Rebel ranks would never have treated their companies of poor white trash so contemptuously. They respect them too much as means for a great end.


During the following autumn and winter, Lowell's regiment was occupied in drilling and preparing for the field. He gave himself wholly to his new work, employing his time of leisure

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