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[405] and we are at last rumored to have advanced, and remained forward. . . . We think we are gaining ground upon the Rebels, not merely because we are not losing it (at first we were content with that), but because we beat them generally in the skirmishes. But it is very hard to learn the truth about these little fights; some men talk one way, some the other, and one can rarely tell which to believe . . . .

I don't wish to be shot in a skirmish or on picket, but in a real fight, if I am to be hit again . . . .

The fighting yesterday [at Oak Grove] was quite severe, and the loss quite heavy; but we still hold our advanced position. To-day our part of the lines has been quiet; but there has been very heavy cannonading, and probably a severe battle on our right in Porter's corps [Mechanicsville]. It is rumored that he has driven back Stonewall Jackson, and turned the left flank of the enemy; and all our camps have rung with cheers since dark. But the Rebel bands are playing away vigorously in front, perhaps for a reported victory; perhaps to deceive and bother us; perhaps to keep up the spirits of the Rebels; perhaps, and perhaps, and perhaps. As the truth now appears, it is our own bands, which have been dumb for a month, but are now allowed to play; but we hear the Rebel drums after. We are looking for orders to march at any moment, and I really have hopes of seeing Richmond before this month is ended . . . .

June 27.—All right, except that we are still in camp; but a brisk cannonading is going on.

This is the last letter Lowell ever wrote. The orders came, but not to march on Richmond. He was ordered to Savage's Station (being then in command of his company) to destroy ammunition, and on the 29th joined in the retreat across the Peninsula. He led his company until the afternoon of the 30th, when he received a mortal wound in the fight at Glendale. He was shot in the abdomen while the regiment was advancing over an open field. To those who came to help him when he fell he said, ‘Don't mind me, men, go forward.’ He was carried to a neighboring farm-house, which had been taken as a hospital. When told, in answer to an inquiry, that his wound was probably mortal, he said that he was as ready to die as to live, were it not for his friends. ‘He felt that his ’

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