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[63]

In November he was elected to the State Legislature, as a Conservative Republican. There he was an active member of the Committee on Finance,— no easy post in Massachusetts in war time. The session lasted until April 30th, 1862; and his services were thus mentioned, in a letter written after his death, by Honorable A. H. Bullock, then Speaker of the House, and now Governor: ‘In the session of 1862 I became warmly attached to Colonel Rodman, and our friendship ripened into intimacy. His frank and gallant bearing, as an associate among gentlemen, attracted the appreciation of all. His marked intelligence and honorable purposes commanded the respect of the House.’

During the summer following, at a time when recruiting moved heavily in New Bedford, Rodman decided to raise a company for the war, and showed such zeal that he was ultimately commissioned Major of the Thirty-eighth Massachusetts, dating from August 19th, 1862. The regiment left the State on September 24th, and was encamped near Baltimore until November 10th, when it sailed for New Orleans, with General Banks's expedition. During the period of delay, Rodman wrote with his accustomed frankness: ‘I am green as a leek, but pick up constantly, and manage pretty well.’ This admission makes it the more interesting to read in his letters the record of steady progress and of final mastery.

camp Belger, Baltimore, Md., September 5, 1862.

So you see we are not likely to have a mere picnic party out of our military life, but shall probably have our share of hard knocks before I see New Bedford again. I believe I am all ready to take my chance, come when it may. We are very unconcerned. You may have heard me remark upon the strange mental change enlistment makes. Being bound to go where sent, and resolved to do one's best, seems to calm one's excitement; and it is rather an effort than otherwise to read the newspaper, or look at maps. You have had a vast deal more of excitement of the recent battles than we have. ....

November 4, 1862. [After orders to move.]—There is a thousand times more chance of making a reputation in one of these expeditionary corps, than if we were swamped in the large mass of


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