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[399] matched in person, mental accomplishments, and pure heroism of character. The regiment was ordered to the seat of war at the beginning of September. Captain Schmitt's company was the smallest of the ten. In October, Lowell writes that there are fifty vacancies,—a dispiriting state of things for both men and officers; but, though strongly condemning the practice of forming skeleton regiments to the detriment of those already in the field, he was resolved to make the best of circumstances.

After a few days at Washington, the Twentieth was ordered to Poolesville, Maryland, where it lay in camp until the 20th of October. On the 18th of that month Lowell writes to Patten: ‘Hitherto our life has been like a perpetual picnic; work enough, perhaps drudgery enough, but also open air enough, and in a way freedom enough. .... We have been here in quiet so long, that we scarcely feel as if this were war; but the bloody fight may come any day, when may we be victorious, live or die.’ The bloody fight came—alas! without the victory — in three days. On the 21st of October was fought the battle of Ball's Bluff, in which so many brave men were slaughtered for no military purpose. Lowell was shot in the thigh, Captain Schmitt very badly wounded, and Putnam killed. The deep gloom which followed that most unnecessary calamity will not soon be forgotten. Our only consolation was the gallant behavior of our troops in a desperate situation, and the firmer resolution which misfortune inspired in an earnest people. Patten and Ropes, two of our best, went into the Twentieth Regiment soon after this battle,—Patten in Putnam's place.

Lowell made light of his wound and wanted to stay with his regiment; but what with his fear of being an encumbrance, and his hope of returning sooner to duty, he yielded to advice and went home. He remained with his family from the middle of November to the beginning of February. He had the less trouble from his wound on account of his vigorous health. There was not a sounder man in the army; indeed, he was never off duty except while getting well of this hurt. While he

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