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[410] Being at a distance from his relatives and friends, he suffered much from want of suitable attendance and nursing; and the nature of his disease and his limited means rendered it difficult to obtain assistance. Edward, regardless of his own exposure, pitying his helpless and friendless condition, visited and watched with him, and thought so little of these charitable acts that they never came to the knowledge of his family and friends until he himself was taken down with the varioloid in consequence.

Before the completion of his medical course, the war of the Rebellion broke out, and both he and his brother were anxious to bear their part in defending the Union. Their father, however, just slowly recovering from a long and dangerous illness, which left it uncertain how far he might regain his former state of health, felt so unable to meet the trial of parting with both of his sons at once for so dangerous a service, that they promised that one of them should certainly remain at home with him. The oldest, in November, 1861, was appointed Aid to Major-General McClellan. Edward, however, remained at home, completed his medical course of studies, and, in July, 1861, after passing a very good examination, received his diploma of M. D.

No longer occupied by a daily attendance at Cambridge, at the Medical School and the Hospital; in a high state of health, with a vigorous frame, an active imagination, and a courageous spirit; excited by the daily reports from our armies,—he felt a renewal of his original desire to enter the service. He became restless and uneasy, and expressed himself strongly as feeling that he was put in a wrong position by remaining quietly at home, while so many of his companions were in the field, or hastening thither to join our Massachusetts regiments. Under these circumstances, his parents, seriously questioning whether they were justified in taking advantage of his affection for them, and any longer opposing a desire so natural, patriotic, and honorable to him, consented to release him from his promise, with the understanding that he should apply for a commission as Assistant Surgeon, instead of a more exposed position in the line.

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