He left Cambridge
before the completion of his third year, in order to take advantage of an offer from his uncle of a clerkship in a mercantile office in New York.
He had passed three happy years in Cambridge
, making friends of many of his classmates, and intimates of several.
One of them thus wrote of him after his death:—
I do not know whether you ever met him; but if you have, his singular frankness and purity of character must have struck you. He was universally beloved, and could do what few men can, and that is, tell his friends of their faults in such a way as not to give offence, and also make them correct them . . . . . I feel utterly unable to express what I think; and after all the beautiful things that have been said and written about him, any common language must appear trite and stale to you. But I have never thought that justice has yet been done to his merits.
I have known him six years, and known him only to love him more and more every year.
He took no rank as a scholar, never at any time standing even among the first half of his Class.
The two following years of his life,—from 1859 to 1861,—he lived at home with his parents, the pride, the joy, and the blessing of the family circle, a devoted son, an affectionate brother, a courteous neighbor, and a true friend.
He did not love his new life in the office, feeling that he had not much talent for business, but nevertheless performing all his duties conscientiously and punctually, and thereby winning the esteem and affection of his employers.
In November, 1861, he cast his first and only Presidential vote for Abraham Lincoln
At this time he enlisted as private in the Seventh Regiment New York National Guards, giving as his reason for this step that he thought there would be trouble in the country after the inauguration, and in that case he