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[436] the appeal to arms he had shown a strong preference for the security of ancient constitutional landmarks over the hazards of reform, and honestly deprecated much of the action of reformers. Undoubtedly, too, in the remembrance of hospitalities which he had received while sojourning with acquaintances at the South, his ingenuous, grateful nature influenced his mind in some degree. But when the sword became the arbiter of the destinies of the country, he eagerly arrayed himself among the active defenders of his established government. His politics never seduced him beyond the sound of Union music; his prejudices never carried him out of the shadow of the Union flag. When war came, his sympathies, guided by his judgment, led him irrepressibly toward the service of his country. Those who knew Richardson were sure that whither his sympathies tended his devoted action would follow.

In August, 1861, he passed the examination of the Naval Board, was commissioned Acting Assistant Surgeon, and soon after joined the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron as Acting Surgeon on board the United States steamer Cambridge. Thus at the commencement of hostilities he became the first volunteer in his position from New England, and the vessel in which he sailed was the first merchant steamer that left Charlestown Navy Yard, refitted as a gunboat.

Dr. Richardson had often declared naval superiority to be the force which would eventually decide the national conflict, and he entered the service in full expectation of active duty and perilous fortunes. But his steamer was assigned to the monotonous though important blockade off Wilmington and Beaufort. Deeply disappointed that his commander had not received a roving commission, Richardson still applied himself cheerfully and assiduously to the requirements of his position. The audacity of the blockade-runners, their familiarity with shifting channels and fickle currents, the speed of their craft, and the deficiency of the national government in both pilots and vessels, demanded untiring vigilance and constant exposure on the part of our crews. Ceaseless quest and toilsome traversing the same ocean wastes was the lot of the patient blockaders,

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