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[429] remonstrances of friends, he rushed back to camp the moment he had strength to perform the smallest part of his duties. On the 24th of January, 1864, he writes:—

my dear mother,—It is indeed a rare luxury to receive a letter both from mother and——in one week. I am duly grateful. There is nothing to excite your sympathy for the poor soldier just at present, except his loneliness. The weather is fine, our camp is clean and cheery, our quarters comfortable, and our regiment in lovely condition. I am perfectly well.

I am most sorry to hear that you and father are not well. I shall probably come home and see you by and by. But I must wait until all the rest have had their turn, on account of my visit home in November last.

There is no news to tell you. Most of our old men have reenlisted; but we did not want to go home as a regiment, so we took the conscripts of the Nineteenth, and let them go.

We are in for the war all of us, and the Twentieth will retain its name and organization for three years more, if the war lasts so long.

He who puts his hand to the plough must not look backward. And as for the chances of life or death, one learns that neither is welcome without honor or duty,—either is welcome in the path of honor and duty. . . . .

Love to all, and cheery hearts.

In May, 1864, commenced the grand final campaign. The regiment, as always, was in the Second Division, Second Corps. Captain Patten was still suffering from weakness, was scarcely fit to be in camp, much less to do the hard work now forced upon the army. But he dashed into the two days Wilderness battle with all his old enthusiasm. Hancock's corps was hotly engaged on both days, and the Twentieth was mowed down as usual under fire. Colonel Macy was wounded, Major Abbott (Patten's exemplar and constant friend, whose praises he was never tired of rehearsing) was killed. Patten himself was shot through the hand. Worn out and wounded as he was, he refused to quit the field, but, as senior Captain, took command of the regiment at Spottsylvania, and fought it

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