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[288] twenty-four hours advance in line with axes through the swamps and brush, brought on a crisis, but a discharge was obtained from General McClellan in time to save his life. He brought home, as a token of regard, a sum which his men contributed, and which he then intended to devote to the purchase of a medal with appropriate inscriptions. After his promotion he consented to purchase a beautiful sword and scabbard, suitably marked in memory of the givers, from whom he was now separated. His loss was severely felt by his comrades in the regiment, several of whom were serving now as officers, and, like himself, had marched in the ranks of the same company in the three months campaign.

He was then but twenty years old, yet had performed duties above his rank and years. Such was his popularity at home that his name sufficed to raise one hundred and twenty-five men in two days for a company in the Fortieth Massachusetts Volunteers, after his return. His next actual commission, however, was as Major of the Fiftieth Massachusetts Volunteers, a nine months regiment, which passed through Boston on its way South, November 14, 1862. Here again, for various reasons, the command devolved largely upon the Major. Being destined for General Banks's expedition, the regiment went into camp on Long Island, near Brooklyn. On the 12th of December it embarked on board transports for the South. Six companies had marched from the camp in East New York to Brooklyn, under orders to embark on the steamer Niagara. The men on the way down had contrived to obtain liquor, and one company, never very well disciplined, was particularly unruly. Five companies, with their baggage, had been transferred from the shore to the steamer, loading her down so that her guards were scarce three feet from the water, and the company previously mentioned was nearing her on the tug, when the men, in open defiance of their officers and in the noisiest and most offensive manner, refused to go on board. The confusion was such that their officers could not make themselves heard, and were evidently powerless to suppress the disorder. Major Hodges stood on the promenade deck of the Niagara

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