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[419] in the College. But the great war of Rebellion, which was to make, to crown, and to terminate his career on earth, had already come. Some of his old comrades were already in the field. In August, directly on returning to Kingston from the West, we find him eager to have a share in the good cause. One of his letters ‘believes it not immodest to say’ he could fill a second lieutenancy as well as some who had been commissioned. But he was working against great obstacles. He writes to an intimate friend: ‘I feel with you on the military question, . . . . but I have no prospect of a lieutenancy. ——would not lift a finger for me, as he does not wish me to go. But if I could have a lieutenancy, I would accept.’ He adds, that the want of vigor in the war ‘alternately drives me frantic and depresses me’; and closes by asking, ‘Can you send me up a manual of tactics?’

The Twentieth Massachusetts marched away to the front in September, and a month later, at Ball's Bluff, received its baptism of blood. On hearing this news, Patten, who had chafed so long to be away, breaking loose from all hindrances, devoted himself forever to the country. The example of his intimate friend Lowell, for whom he had always great admiration and affection,—which were thoroughly reciprocated,— had greatly influenced him, as it did many other college classmates. The repulse at Leesburg ploughed grievous gaps in the ranks of the Twentieth, which many young heroes sprang forward to fill,—a score for every lad who had fallen. In Company E, Captain Schmitt and First Lieutenant J. J. Lowell were wounded, and the gallant Second Lieutenant Putnam killed. Patten instantly applied to succeed young Putnam, and, thanks to his bearing, character, and record, and the enthusiastic support of his friends, after exciting competition, succeeded. He was long on the tiptoe of expectation; but, resolved to fight in the good cause at any rate, presented himself in the regimental camp not only before a commission had been given to him, but even before he had had a nomination. A letter soon after sent to Cambridge expresses his exultation at his appointment.

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