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[337] during the winter delightful measures occupied his attention rather than dreadful marches; and, as the army seemed frozen up before Washington, he was well content to be where he was. But when the spring opened, and the season for campaigning came, he suffered great mortification. His place seemed to be in the field; and if he could not serve his country there, he almost wished himself out of the army. Northern cities were already filling with officers who took good care never to be in an action, and he feared lest he should be regarded as one of these. And when, later, the Army of the Potomac went to the Peninsula, and there came the reports of its battles, he was ashamed to meet the eyes which in the winter had so often assured him that his presence was a source of pleasure. In June he was ordered to Fort Preble, and assigned to the command of a full company. There he worked hard for two months. The ease and rapidity with which he acquired a knowledge of the duties pertaining to his position were remarkable, and he was equally successful in instructing his men.

In August, Temple was sent to the field with a detachment of a hundred and thirty men, including his own company, to join his regiment, which he found at Harrison's Landing, where the army had lain the month following the retreat across the Peninsula. The regiment belonged to what was known as the Regular Division, or Sykes's division, Porter's corps. There was a great contrast between the soldiers who had served through the campaign and the men who had just come out; and our young captain was at first rather unfavorably impressed with the Army of the Potomac. There should never be that want of system in his company, he thought, that was visible everywhere else. He should have no difficulty in keeping his men up to what seemed to be the required standard. ‘They are,’ he writes in his journal, with the pride common to good officers, ‘an intelligent, hardy set, the average of morals and physical strength being as high as that of any company I have ever seen, and much higher than a large majority. It will be my fault if in three months I do not make them a crack company.’

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