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 occupation, he visited Bombay, Australia, Batavia, and Manilla; and on returning, after a few weeks' stay at home, he went on a second voyage to Madras and Calcutta, upon his father's business. During his absence his father died; and when Mason returned to Boston in 1860, he found his prospects in business suddenly obscured. His duty was now to remain at home, and his sturdy manhood did much to cheer the mourning family. Whatever might have been his disappointment, he studiously concealed it, and by an assumed cheerfulness deceived casual observers as to the true state of his feelings; and, though too proud to solicit either advice or assistance from any one, he was on the alert to enter upon some congenial business. When the war broke out, he was among the promptest in the struggle. ‘There is not one of us,’ he wrote (December 21, 1862), ‘who, rather than see that bright banner dimmed by dishonor, would not shed his heart's blood.’ From a ‘working member’ of the Fourth Battalion of Massachusetts Militia, he became an officer of the Twenty-fourth Massachusetts Volunteers, known as the New England Guard Regiment; and served honorably with it in the campaigns in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, and Virginia. He was one of a few officers of the regiment who were ‘determined to see the war through, however long it might last,’ —and re-enlisted for another three years in the winter of 1863-1864. He then obtained his first leave of absence since the regiment left Boston. Thus far, he had escaped from wounds, though fever had once kept him for several weeks from his command. He frequently said, during his visit home, that the regiment could not expect such immunity from the casualties of battle during the new term of service. Promotion had been slow, but another year would advance the survivors more rapidly. He was willing to take his chance, and was not afraid to die. His first battle was at Roanoke Island, in the winter of 1862, when Burnside commanded; he was in action at Newbern,
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