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[465] H held the left of the second line of the regiment, which position was the most dangerous on account of its proximity to the flanking fire of James Island.

At dusk of that night the column was ordered forward, and Russel, with an ardor and devotion which never wavered, threw himself upon his death. When last seen by those who survived, he was lying mortally wounded on the ground, and across him the body of his dear friend, Captain William H. Simpkins, his comrade in arms and in death, than whom the country has lost no nobler and more devoted servant during the war.

My friendship with Cabot began with our joint entrance into military life; and from the first moment to the last of that friendship, it presented him full of honor. For one so young he displayed striking ability and strength of character; so that when, at the age of eighteen years, he was placed in command of men of the Fortyfourth, many of them ten years his seniors, graduates of the University, they gladly recognized his title to their confidence and support. Pre-eminently conscientious in all his military duties, frank, sweet-tempered, manly, handsome, he won the respect and personal devotion of his officers and men.

From temperament and principle he was an enthusiast for freedom; and no one entered into the war with a greater conviction than he that it was bound up intimately with the interests of liberty. He had no sooner made his choice between the promptings of inclination and those claims he deemed of paramount importance, than his sympathies grew with the enforcement of the negroes' rights. He would gladly have devoted his life, if it had been protracted, to this cause. As it was, he gave it up in its very flower, with a zeal, a courage, a disinterestedness, unsurpassed even in the annals of the war.

The darkness of night hung over the sufferings of that sacrifice where the noblest and the best, appointed to lead blat soldiers to death, and prove that they were men, had obeyed the order. When our troops fell back from an assault in which they were not supported, hundreds of dead and wounded marked how far they had gone. Among those who did not return was Captain Russel. A ball struck him in the shoulder and he fell. Captain Simpkins offered to carry him off. But the boy had become a veteran in a moment,

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James Island (South Carolina, United States) (1)

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William H. Simpkins (2)
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