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[487]

His letters from this farm show that the same energy and enthusiasm he had displayed in teaching he here directed to the ‘chopping of big trees,’ of which he had already felled about nine acres (out of a hundred), and he was full of projects for building a house and opening a road. This was in August, 1859. In November of the same year he had been driven out of the woods by the cold and wet, so he had fallen back upon school-teaching again. His ‘spirits’ were ‘as lively as ever.’ In June, 1860, he was back at his farm, but, from want of help, had only been able to plant, with wheat, about two acres. He was again at work chopping trees. His house was not yet finished, and he was still living — in camp.

A passage in an address delivered by him before the North Aroostook Agricultural Society, in October, 1860, paints what seems to have been a chief attraction in the life he was now leading:—

If chopping trees be hard work, there is some poetry as well as plain prose in it. There is much poetry in the life of a pioneer, while camping out in the woods with nothing to disturb the quiet but the hooting of owls, the chattering of squirrels, and the singing of birds. Poetry there is in two volumes: first, that he is doing a good and pious work; second, that there is a good time coming when himself and family are to enjoy the fruits of his labor. What poetry, when a mammoth tree goes crashing down, to look up and get a larger view of clear blue sky, and, once in a while, to look out upon the increasing prospect of distant hill and intervening ridges!

His life in the woods proved not a bad training for the new career upon which he was about to enter, and, in the ‘long probation of mud and discipline’ passed in Virginia in the winter of 1861-62, he had occasion to congratulate himself on having learned to make a ‘sleeping berth, Aroostook fashion, of boughs well laid down.’

It was from Maysville, where his farm was situated, that he enlisted in the Seventh Regiment Maine Volunteers, Company I, composed chiefly of men from that and the adjoining townships. Declining, with characteristic modesty, a lieutenant's commission, he entered the service as a private, saying that

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