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[291] ‘that the regiment should be started soberly, and not spoilt by too much fanaticism. Shaw is not a fanatic.’

While Colonel Lowell was engaged in organizing the Second Cavalry a serious mutiny broke out, on the 9th of April, at barracks under the recruiting-office in Boston, where one company of the regiment was quartered. The men rushed on their officers with drawn swords. Colonel Lowell went to the barracks, and by his force of character and resolute coolness succeeded in restoring discipline; but he was obliged to shoot the ringleader in the revolt, whom he saw in the act of striking at a lieutenant with his sabre.

This tragic incident affected Lowell deeply; but he acted from a well-considered principle, put into practice with the quick decision of a fearless mind. His conduct was universally applauded. In the street-crowd that gathered on the first rumor of the occurrence, a young man was heard to say, ‘I was with Lowell at the High School; and if he did it, I know it is right.’

He is said to have reported what he had done to Governor Andrew in the following manner. Entering his Excellency's room, he made a military salute and said, ‘I have to report to you, sir, that in the discharge of my duty I have shot a man’; then saluted again and immediately withdrew. ‘I need nothing more,’ said the Governor to a bystander; ‘Colonel Lowell is as humane as he is brave.’ His action was approved by the United States authorities and by those of Massachusetts, and it exerted a wholesome influence throughout the service.

In May he left Boston with his regiment, and was soon placed in command of the cavalry of the Department of Washington, with Headquarters at Vienna, Virginia. For many months he was occupied in resisting the incursions of Mosby. This was a post of danger, and one in which he rendered important service to the country. But he constantly desired an opportunity of acting on a larger and more glorious field. ‘I have often said,’ writes General Mosby, ‘that, of all the Federal commanders opposed to me, I had the highest respect for Colonel Lowell, both as an officer and a gentleman.’

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