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[420]

camp Benton, November 15, 1861.

dear A——,—Appointed at last! one of the fortunate two, out of thirty applicants. I have spent a week of anxiety, however. It was doubtful about my appointment, Colonel Palfrey being determined to select the two he considered the best. For all I know, you are the other. He sent two names to the Governor, of which mine was one. . . . . The officers of this regiment are fine fellows, and I consider myself fortunate to be among them. Will you dispose of my goods and chattels, and have cash paid? And could you talk with Mr. Lowell about the things I want? . . . . Tell the Professors why I did not see them and bid them good by. May you soon be with me!


Henceforth the history of the Twentieth Massachusetts is Patten's history. He never was absent, till death, from any battle in that remarkable series of battles which it fought. He never was absent even from any great march or any severe duty. He had taken the resolve to cling to the regiment so long as it carried its banner or its name. His undivided soul was in the country's cause. ‘We are in for the war,’ he used to say till the fatal bullet found him, ‘though it lasted twenty years.’ Never, except when struck down on the field or prostrate from disease, did he accept even a brief furlough, and that he reluctantly consented to snatch only when no arduous labor or peril was in prospect. He always hurried back to camp, in trepidation lest something might have happened and he away. Under his eye, and in his daily round of bivouac, march, and battle, the Twentieth dwindled away to a fragment, filled again, again and again dwindled and filled, till he saw only in its unquenchable spirit the sign of what he found it in the Maryland camp.

Some of Patten's young friends joined in buying him a handsome sword, which they sent with a complimentary letter. It was a grateful present for a double reason. Till it arrived, he wore a sword which had been lent him. When it came, his letter of thanks pleasantly traced different parts of the weapon and accoutrements to individual givers,—the point, the hilt, &c., according to fanciful analogies. ‘The belt,’ he concludes, addressing the original source of the little gift, ‘is ’

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Colcord Patten (2)
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J. J. Lowell (1)
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