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[398]

While Lowell was in college, one of his classmates says, he liked all studies, and had arguments for and against all professions, but inclined most to the law. When the time came to decide, he wisely chose the law. His impartial and philosophical mind fitted him peculiarly for the science of jurisprudence, and he would have made an admirable judge. After some study of the introductory books at home, he entered the Cambridge Law School in 1860. The events of the winter of 1860-61 occupied much of his thoughts. He regarded with warm indignation the expedients proposed to save the Union by the sacrifice of liberty, and seeing a more excellent way, began to drill diligently that he might be ready to do his part. When Sumter fell, his brother Charles went straight to Washington, and applied for a lieutenancy in an artillery regiment. James Lowell conferred with his cousin William Putnam, who was also then studying at the Law School, and in June they began enlisting men for a company of the Nineteenth Massachusetts Regiment, to be commanded by Mr. Schmitt, the German instructor in the college. When they had raised eighty-five men, and the officers were ready to be commissioned, orders were given to transfer this company to the Twentieth Regiment. Almost all the men refused to join the Twentieth, and therefore the work of recruiting had to be done over again. The time at which this regiment was raised was unfavorable for enlisting, and the consequence was, that neither in numbers nor in quality were the rank and file up to the average. It is well known that the admirable character of the officers (more than a score of whom were from Harvard College) made the Twentieth Regiment, notwithstanding its original inferiority, one of the most efficient and distinguished in the whole service.

Lowell and Putnam received their commissions as First and Second Lieutenants on the 10th of July. A nobler pair never took the field. Putnam with his fair hair, bright complexion, deep eyes, and uncontaminated countenance, was the impersonation of knightly youth. He was our Euryalus, quo pulchrior alter non fuit Aeneadum. The cousins were beautifully

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