condemned to ceaseless inactivity for the rest of the summer, and are never to meet the foe.But the time was nearer at hand than the young soldier supposed. In General Banks's retreat from the Shenandoah Valley, May 24 and 25, 1862, the Second Regiment formed the rear-guard, and marched in good order sixty-two miles in thirty-two hours, skirmishing with the enemy a great deal of the time. Abbott was in command of the two rear companies, and took part in the various engagements of the two days. At nightfall of the first day the regiment, setting fire to the abandoned wagons, left Newtown, followed closely by the enemy's cavalry. Abbott's company had stopped to rest and had taken off their knapsacks, when, by the light of the burning wagons, the enemy's cavalry were descried at some distance charging down upon them, the clattering of the horses' hoofs upon the hard road making them seem much nearer than they really were. Abbott drew up his company in line by the side of the road down which the enemy were galloping, and made his men bring their pieces to the ‘aim.’ All, with the nervous excitement natural to troops for the first time in action, waited with intense eagerness for the subsequent command; But Abbott, seeing that the enemy were not near enough yet, ordered his men to bring their pieces back to the ‘ready.’ Again they brought their pieces to the ‘aim,’ and again were ordered back to the ‘ready,’ and it was not until the third time, and when the enemy were directly opposite them, that the command to ‘fire’ was given. By this time the coolness of the Captain had infused itself into the men, and so simultaneous was the discharge of their pieces that it seemed like a single report. It was effectual in checking the advance of the enemy; and though their officers could be heard endeavoring to urge on the men, they could not be brought to another attack. At Bartonsville, some miles beyond, they made another attack, and were again repulsed by the companies of Captains Abbott, Cogswell, and Underwood. At Kernstown the same companies repulsed an attack by infantry. At
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