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September 14, 1862.
My surroundings here are delightful, and I should feel that ‘my lines had fallen unto me in pleasant places’ indeed, were it not for this horrid nightmare of the war. As soon as I can get a chance to enter the army, I shall throw up my school. I think in many cases it requires a more obstinate perseverance to stay at home than to go; but I cannot get over the feeling that, in resisting every impulse to sacrifice yourself for the country, you are crushing out whatever spark of heroism the emergency ought to kindle in all of us.

He now made systematic efforts to obtain a commission, and was finally commissioned as Second Lieutenant in the Second Massachusetts Cavalry, Colonel Lowell. He was busy in recruiting for this regiment until appointed Acting Adjutant at Camp Meigs, where he remained until ordered off with a part of the regiment in February. He then went immediately into camp at Gloucester Point, Virginia. The following are extracts from his letters.

February 23, 1863.

I am sitting in my tent on the end of my valise, with a tin plate on my knee and my paper on the back of it, and I find that it makes a very good writing-desk. I am officer of the guard tonight, and sit up till twelve o'clock, and must be on the alert, ready for any emergency all night.

I am Acting First Lieutenant of Company K, Captain Holman, a very pleasant fellow and an experienced officer; we have a beautiful place for a camp, on bluffs on the bank of York River, and the views are fine in all directions. The morning after we arrived here, the birds were singing, and everything looked as bright and fresh as a day in June.

May, 1863.

There is much that is discouraging in our conduct of the war, to be sure; but however great the evils of divided counsels and incompetent commanders, magnified by our impatience for the end, our cause is worthy of all the sacrifice which a mysterious Providence calls us to make, and in the end must triumph. . . . . One thing is plain, the longer the war lasts, the more thoroughly will slavery be rooted out. Wherever our armies advance, the foundations of the institution are overthrown, and though to our anxious minds a few years seem long, they are producing abundant fruit.

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