to-night, after receiving a letter from my sister. . . . I suppose that this would be properly called the ‘blues’; and as I don't choose to encourage such dismal visitors, I rise in dignified remonstrance. “Avaunt, my cerulean friend!” and stealing out through our company street, through the ruined graveyard upon which some of the tents are pitched, I turn into one of the tents of the men, and from an observation of their patriotic self-sacrifice and cheerful view of matters, I learn a lesson of patience and endurance. Brave fellows! Most of them, at a personal sacrifice, have left loving hearts, hearts aching at their absence, to follow duty's call. I came among these boys—for many of them are but boys of from nineteen to twenty—a stranger, but now I call each one “friend” ; and as such I know they look upon me. At any rate, it is my endeavor to deserve their regard, and it is worth having. Some of them are men in the prime of life, who enlisted, not from any love of martial display, but from a stern sense of duty; and upon them the privations of war and the rugged duties of camp life press the most heavily; but to a man they resolve to see it out. And if this war were to last a lifetime, they would see the end. That is my determination now. No matter for the blues, let them come if they will. I stay till the end comes.
Bolivar, Virginia, March 22.At nine A. M., General Gorman's brigade started, and going to the rear of the town, to the side of a very high hill which commanded one of the most beautiful views down that most beautiful of rivers, the Shenandoah, we hung almost in mid-air directly above the winding road down which marched the different regiments; and as the splendid bursts of music rose to our eager, listening ears, softened by the distance, and again made doubly distinct when almost lost to us, by the ever potent echo which “here does dwell.” embosomed in a thousand hills,—the steady, regular tramp of the marching thousands, and the momentary glinting of a musket barrel, brushed by some vagrant sun-ray, effervesced our spirits to such a degree that one of our lieutenants expressed the feeling of the whole party when he said, drawing a long breath, “ What a plaguy fool a young fellow is who stays at home from this war!” I wish that you and all the family could come out here, and, standing upon this same hillside, so far flatter my vanity as to declare, as I do, this the most splendid scenery in the world. At a height of a hundred and fifty feet, you glance up and down the Shenandoah, closely enwalled by chains of verdant hills, stretching on and on, apparently higher and higher as they recede, with here and there a peak far
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Ode recited at the Harvard commemoration, July 21 , 1865 .
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