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 To this limited release, he finally, with reluctance, assented, having previously set his heart upon obtaining a second lieutenancy in a regiment in which some of his former companions were commissioned. After waiting anxiously for a length of time, he finally received a commission as Assistant Surgeon in the Fourteenth Massachusetts Volunteers, commanded by Colonel W. B. Greene, then stationed at Fort Albany; and in February, 1862, he joined the regiment. As month after month rolled by, and while other regiments passed to the front, the Fourteenth still remained stationary to guard the capital, he became very impatient at the continued inaction; and but for the pain he knew he would give his parents, would willingly have taken any position which would bring him into more active service. The dull routine of his duties at Fort Albany was, however, unexpectedly interrupted in August, 1862, by an order sent to Colonel Greene to join the Army of the Potomac, and advance towards the enemy. Dr. Mason wrote home in great spirits at the prospect before him. On the 28th of the month, near Fairfax Court-House, Colonel Greene found a cavalry force of the enemy twice as large as his own before him, commanded by General Fitz-Hugh Lee. An immediate attack was expected, which was not made, however, owing to the strength of Colonel Greene's position. Unfortunately the Surgeons, Drs. Dana and Mason, while selecting a house for the accommodation of the wounded, just outside the lines of their regiment, were suddenly captured and taken to the Headquarters of General Lee. Here Dr. Mason unexpectedly met his former classmate at Cambridge, W. F. Lee, nephew of General R. E. Lee, and a Colonel in the Rebel service. He received the prisoner kindly, and presented him to the General, who after examining him very closely as to the position and numbers of our troops, released him and his companion, retaining their horses, equipments, and attendants. Dr. Mason's replies to General Lee's questions proved very satisfactory to Colonel Greene. In a letter to Dr. Mason's father, referring to these incidents, Colonel Greene writes as follows:—
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