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[134] by a characteristic trait of magnanimity. A friend, who had gone through the Bull Run campaign in the ranks, was an applicant together with himself for a vacancy in the Twenty-fourth Massachusetts Volunteers. On learning this, Mills at once withdrew his application, on the ground of his friend's previous service. Disappointments seemed only to redouble his zeal. A trip to Washington in February, 1862, was fruitless; and in May he enlisted as private in the Fourth Battalion Massachusetts Volunteer Militia, which was discharged by the government a few days after. In July he was appointed a recruiting officer for the Thirty-third Massachusetts Volunteers, and after much labor and expense failed to secure enough men to obtain a commission. ‘If I don't get any commission at all, I shall go off somewhere, perhaps enlist. I won't be seen at home,’ were his words.

At last, on the 14th of August, 1862, perseverance received its reward, and he was commissioned Second Lieutenant in the Second Massachusetts Volunteers, which had just immortalized itself at Cedar Mountain. The evening of August 17th found the young lieutenant with his regiment at Culpeper, in temporary command of Company D. ‘The regiment, both officers and men, seem in excellent spirits,’ he wrote; ‘the true Devil-may-care spirit pervades, them, though of course they feel the loss of their comrades severely.’

His introduction to the field was of the rudest, and his experience of one month most discouraging to any nature less undaunted. Joining his regiment on the afternoon of the 17th of August, he set off at midnight of the 18th on that disastrous retreat of Pope which culminated in the second Bull Run. He wrote:—

August 19.—We marched about two miles in blissful ignorance of our destination, except that it is somewhere in the rear, there being rumors of a fight, in which every one, with characteristic and gloomy calm, assumes that we have been thrashed. However, soldiers always grumble, I suppose.

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