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‘  yours. For all hangs upon that, and that clasps the closest. But the rest shall be undivided.’ When once he had resolved to give his life to the country, Patten, as was said, went to camp on the chances of a commission; and fearing he might fail of one, even after appointment, he writes thence, ‘I firmly intend to go in as private rather than go home.’ Many weeks elapsed, during which he was without rank, sword, or uniform. One letter, in his impatient hand, says he has ‘expected his commission every night for the last two weeks. . . . . We are afraid of dull inactivity this winter. But, pshaw! I can't write anything till I am settled. I am feverishly impatient.’ His commission as Second Lieutenant of Company E bore date November 25, 1861. That winter he passed with the Twentieth, of Lander's brigade, in Camp Benton, at Poolesville, Maryland, diligently studying,—his eyes and ears wide open to his new duties, and his heart inspired with ever-increasing loyalty and devotion. His letters vividly picture these new experiences and especially the guard duties,—the guard on a beautiful night, with a huge open fire, and the camp-fires of the evening's pickets glimmering against the dark Virginia mountains. ‘One does not sleep much under such circumstances,’ wrote Lieutenant Patten; ‘there is a little romance in it.’ He soon showed himself a thorough and admirable officer; yet he of course thought otherwise. ‘My military education,’ he says, ‘comes on slowly. Theoretically, I do very well, and find no difficulty in managing my peaceful company. But the grand air is preciously wanting in your humble friend.’ Towards the end of February Lieutenant Patten, who had been chafing all winter at the general inactivity, exultingly writes a hurried line: ‘We really expect an advance, and the thought thrills every fibre of us. An advance! and battle!-perhaps death,—surely victory and glory. The regiment is ready,—on, on to Richmond and victory.’ Shortly after, in March, the division, Sedgwick's, moved across the Potomac and up the Shenandoah Valley nearly to Winchester in support of Banks's movement, and then was withdrawn to Bolivar.
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