performance of his duty; and all persons connected with his regiment agree that he was universally beloved by his comrades, both officers and men.
He was for a considerable time the only commissioned officer in his company, and his devotion to it was invariable.
When they were stationed for some weeks near Washington
, where he had many friends, he resolutely declined all their invitations, with a single exception, saying that his duty required his constant presence with his men. When he found he was too ill to go into action with his company at Malvern Hill
, he burst into tears.
He went with his regiment to the Peninsula
, returned with it, and received his death wound at the battle of Antietam
The closing scenes of his life are best described by his brother-in-law, George Frisbie Hoar
, who was with him in his last hours:—
He joined his regiment in the fall of 1861.
I never saw him again until I was summoned to Hagerstown after the battle of Antietam.
He was dressing the line of his company, about nine o'clock of the morning of the battle, the regiment being under a severe fire, when his thigh was struck by a minie — ball which shattered the bone.
Two of his men came where he lay, and offered to carry him to the rear.
He ordered them back to the ranks, and refused all assistance.
The place where he lay was a short distance in front of a wood, to which the regiment was almost instantly compelled to retreat.
The ground where he fell was not again occupied by our troops until after the battle.
He lay on the ground where he fell all of Wednesday and through Wednesday night. On Thursday the enemy occupied the ground.
Among them was a college acquaintance and contemporary (whom I believe to have been a Major Hale of South Carolina), who treated him with kindness, caused him to be removed to a farm-yard near by and laid on the ground between two haystacks, and gave him a blanket, which we are glad to preserve.
Thomas lay in this farm-yard until Saturday, when the ground was again occupied by our forces, and he was then removed to a hospital.
On Monday he was taken to Hagerstown, where his mother and I, with Dr. Sargent, found him on Wednesday evening. Early the next morning, Thursday, he was carefully examined by the surgeons, who were able, by extracting the splinters of bone from his flesh, to relieve the agony which he had suffered