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[426] terrific and decisive engagement of Antietam. At this latter battle the regiment was severely engaged, with very great loss of officers and men; and Patten was reported to be ‘in the thickest of the fight.’ These actions took place on the 14th and 17th of September, and closed up the long battle-summer. When, some months later, the fearful losses among the officers of the Twentieth gave young Patten a chance for promotion, his commission as First Lieutenant was antedated to October 1, 1862. It was a grade tolerably well earned.

Not long after, he received from certain friends the assurance that, if he would consent to it, he should have a majorship in a new regiment, and all the rest and recreation possible in a long recruiting service at home. The bait might have been tempting, considering his exhaustion, and the fact that some of his young friends were reaching colonelships and brigadier-generalships without having been through a half of his service. But it had no attraction for him. With no lack of ambition, he would yet have served always in his subordinate position, rather than have been the commanding officer of any other regiment.

Burnside's brief but bloody campaign followed. In the memorable attempt to carry the heights beyond Fredericksburg, the first thing necessary was to throw pontoon-bridges across the Rappahannock. Hall's brigade, consisting of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Massachusetts and Seventh Michigan, ‘volunteered,’ as General Couch reports, as a forlorn hope, for a perilous scheme now resolved upon. They were three of those five regiments of Sedgwick's division who had routed the enemy at Fair Oaks. This brigade was sent down the steep bank unsupported, and at its foot they sustained for fifteen or twenty minutes the enemy's cutting fire, while open boats could be prepared and pushed into the stream. In these unprotected boats the brigade, by several instalments, made the passage of the stream, under concentrated fire, till they had gained the cover of the opposite bank. ‘The affair,’ says Mr. Swinton's History, ‘was gallantly executed, and the army, assembled on the northern bank, spectators of this piece of ’

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