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[26] where so many of our ‘beautiful and brave’ of the Second Massachusetts Regiment poured out their precious blood. It was a source of regret to Colonel Webster that his regiment should have been led into their first battle by any one but himself; but, on the other hand, he had a right to be proud of their excellent conduct and steadiness under a hot fire of two or three hours.

Colonel Webster, on the 16th of August, rejoined his regiment, which was then encamped upon the Rapidan, near Mitchell's Station. It was a part of Hartsuff's brigade, Ricketts's division, and McDowell's corps, forming a portion of the Army of Virginia, under the command of General Pope. On the 18th of August, the army began a movement towards the North Fork of the Rappahannock, and by the 20th the main body was behind the river and prepared to hold its passes.

On the 24th of August, General McDowell's corps was at or near Warrenton. On the morning of the 27th of August, he was directed to move forward rapidly on Gainesville, by the Warrenton Turnpike. And the required position was reached before the next day. On the next evening a brisk engagement took place at Thoroughfare Gap between the advance of the Rebel force under General Longstreet and the division under General Ricketts, in which the Twelfth Massachusetts Regiment took part, and behaved well, having six men wounded. ‘The Colonel did splendidly,’ said one of his officers, writing home immediately after.

The regiment was not on the field on the 29th of August, the first day of the second battle of Bull Run, but in the perils and disasters of the next day it bore a conspicuous part. It was stationed on the left, against which the main attack of the Rebel force was directed, where the fight was most severe and the slaughter most terrible. Colonel Webster led his men into battle with the utmost gallantry; and, encouraged by his voice and presence, they behaved admirably well. Many of them fell, but the survivors did not flinch. Late in the afternoon, some of the regiments on their left, overborne by superior numbers, began to give way, and the Twelfth fell back some twenty

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