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XI: John Brown and the call to arms

Although John Brown's name was familiar to all who were interested in the Kansas struggle, Mr. Higginson's first interview with him was in the winter of 1858. At this time Brown wrote to him saying, ‘I have been told that you are both a true man and a true Abolitionist, and I partly believe the whole story.’ In this letter, he asked aid for what he called ‘secret service,’ stating that he should need from five to eight hundred dollars within sixty days, ‘for the perfecting of by far the most important undertaking of my whole life.’ Mr. Higginson asked if this project was connected with the underground railway and received this reply: ‘Rail-Road business on a somewhat extended scale is the identical object for which I am trying to get means.’ This letter, dated February 12, contained an urgent invitation to meet John Brown with Sanborn and others at Peterborough, New Hampshire. Not being able to do this, Mr. Higginson met Brown in Boston in March. The impression made on him as described in ‘Cheerful Yesterdays’ was that of simply ‘a high-minded, unselfish, belated Covenanter.’ [191]

The plan which Brown proposed was to get together bands of fugitive slaves in Virginia and either colonize them in the mountain fastnesses or guide them to Canada. In this project Mr. Higginson and his friends were willing to cooperate and to help raise the needed money. ‘I am always ready,’ Higginson wrote to John Brown, ‘to invest money in treason, but at present have none to invest.’

At this juncture a certain Hugh Forbes, who had drilled John Brown and his men in guerrilla warfare, threatened to expose his plans unless unreasonable demands for money could be met. Thereupon, the majority of Brown's Boston advisers advocated postponing the whole affair until the next winter or spring. This proposed delay made Mr. Higginson very impatient, and he wrote to Brown, May 7, ‘I utterly protest against any postponement.’ He also wrote in the same vein to Theodore Parker, saying,

‘If I had the wherewithal, I would buy out the other stockholders and tell our veteran to go on.’ To Brown again, May 18, he wrote, ‘I, for one am willing to leave the whole matter to you. . . . The sum raised by me was all I can possibly provide, but I have written to the others, strongly urging them not to give up the ship.’ When Mr. Higginson talked this matter over with Brown, meeting him in Boston again about June 1, the latter sympathized [192] with this opposition to delay, and said, to quote a letter of Higginson's describing the interview, ‘If he [Brown] had the means he would not lose a day. At my wondering that the others did not agree with us, he said the reason was they were not men of action. But the sly old veteran added he had not said this to them.’ A scrap of paper pasted on the letter adds: ‘I went to see Dr. Howe and found that things had ended far better than I supposed. The Kansas committee had put some $500 in gold into his [Brown] hands and all the arms with only the understanding that he should go to Kansas and then be left to his own discretion. He went off in good spirits.’

In October, 1858, Sanborn wrote to the Worcester clergyman that Brown was anxious about future operations, and asked if Higginson could do anything for him before the following spring. In March, 1859, and again in April, Sanborn appealed to Higginson for more funds; and May 1, the latter wrote to Brown that he had drawn so largely for similar purposes in the past few years he could raise no more money. ‘My own loss of confidence,’ he added, ‘is also in the way—loss of confidence not in you, but in the others who are concerned in the measure. Those who were so easily disheartened last spring may be deterred now. . . . Did I follow [193] only my own inclination, without thinking of other ties, I should join you in person, if I could not in purse.’ And he declared that he longed to see Brown ‘set free from timid advisers.’ In June, Sanborn wrote to Higginson that John Brown had set out on his expedition, having secured some eight hundred dollars; and September 4, he again wrote, beseeching him to raise fifty dollars if possible.

After the sudden defeat of Brown's enterprise, followed by his arrest and imprisonment, most of the friends who had been active in assisting his project went temporarily to Canada or to Europe to avoid threatened prosecution, but Mr. Higginson stood his ground, declaring it a duty ‘to at least give him [Brown] their moral support on the witness stand.’

The next step was the attempt to provide able counsel for Brown and his fellow-prisoners. A circular was printed, November 2, 1859, asking for contributions to this end and signed by S. E. Sewall, Dr. Howe, R. W. Emerson, and T. W. Higginson. Appended to the circular, which is preserved in the Boston Public Library, is this note in Mr. Higginson's handwriting and signed by him: ‘An expense of about $1000 is already incurred for counsel. Mrs. Brown must also be aided to join her husband, and her two widowed daughters-in-law, aged 20 and 16, [194] need help greatly.’ Meetings were held in Boston and Worcester, in which Mr. Higginson took part, to plead for help for Brown's family. An anonymous letter from Alabama to the militant pastor is included in the John Brown Collection, condemning him for trying to procure counsel for the prisoner, and warning him that should he and his friends attempt ‘any such work a little farther South, we will burn every mother's son of you.’

Mr. Higginson's wish now was to rescue Brown from prison, but the latter absolutely prohibited any such attempt. Thinking that perhaps Mrs. Brown could shake her husband's determination and ultimately help in his rescue, Mr. Higginson travelled to the mountains of North Elba, New York, to take her to visit him in prison. This visit to Brown's home the author has described in a paper called ‘John Brown's Household’ included in his ‘Contemporaries.’ In this article he says:—

It had been my privilege to live in the best society all my life—namely, that of Abolitionists and fugitive slaves. . . . But I had not known the Browns.

. . . Here was a family out of which four young men had within a fortnight been killed. I say nothing of a father under sentence of death and a brother fleeing for his life, but only speak of those killed .. Yet there was not one of that family who could not pronounce that awful word with perfect quietness. [195] . . To the Browns killing means simply dying— nothing more; one gate into heaven, and that one a good deal frequented by their family.

I was the first person who had penetrated their solitude from the outer world since the thunderbolt had fallen. . . . They asked but one question after I had told them how little hope there was of acquittal or rescue— “Does it seem as if freedom were to gain or lose by this?” That was all.

After this visit, Brown's daughter Ruth wrote to thank Mr. Higginson for his ‘soul-cheering letters,’ and to say, ‘How much sunshine you brought into our desolate homes is left only for us to tell.’ In his own account of the visit, Mr. Higginson records that he spoke to Salmon Brown about the sacrifices of their family. ‘He looked up in a quiet, manly way, which I shall never forget, and said briefly, “I sometimes think that is what we came into the world for —to make sacrifices.” . . . And it seemed to me that any one must be very unworthy the society I had been permitted to enter who did not come forth from it a wiser and a better man.’

The next scheme to enlist Mr. Higginson's interest, after Brown's sentence had been pronounced, was a plan of revenge formed by a Boston abolitionist, Lysander Spooner, to kidnap the governor of Virginia and keep him as ‘hostage for the safety of Brown.’ A scrap of paper exists on which Mr. [196] Higginson had written, November 14, 1859, ‘Would it not be practicable for a party of men to go in a steamboat to kidnap in the night——and hold him as a hostage for the safety of——.’ Spooner wrote Higginson, November 20, that the men, a pilot, and a boat could be furnished, and adjured the latter to come at once and persuade men in Boston to furnish the money. November 22, Le Barnes, another sympathizer in this wild project, wrote to give the price of tugs, and November 27, he wrote from New York, ‘The men are ready and determined. . .. They are confident, strange as it may seem to us, of success, but they want money. . . . It is for you in Boston to say “go” or “stay.” ’ But owing to the impossibility of raising funds the plan was abandoned.

John Brown wrote a letter of farewell to Mr. Higginson, November 22, 1859, expressing deep gratitude for his visit to North Elba, thanking him for sending his family money and newspapers, especially the latter, and adding, ‘Truly you have proved yourself to be a friend in need.’

After Brown's execution a project was formed by the most daring of his friends to rescue the two members of his party—Stevens and Hazlett—who still awaited trial. While this scheme was maturing, the journalist, James Redpath, wrote to Higginson that he had reason to believe the clergyman was [197] watched by spies, and warning him that letters must be written and received with great caution. Funds were raised for the proposed rescue, and Mr. Higginson sent a messenger to Kansas to enlist Captain James Montgomery as leader of the enterprise, the rallying-point being Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. In February, 1860, Mr. Higginson arrived there under the name of Charles P. Carter. When Montgomery came with a few valuable recruits,—called in letters and telegrams ‘machines,’—Mr. Higginson jotted down on paper, which can still be seen, a list of the lions in the way. The Kansas leader was not dismayed by this array of difficulties, which included a week's journey through a mountainous country by night, carrying arms, blankets, and provisions; attacking a building—the Charlestown jail—protected by a wall fourteen feet high and defended by sentinels without and within; and followed by a retreat with prisoners and wounded by daylight. Montgomery, however, insisted on first exploring, with but one companion, the region to be traversed.

In the midst of these plottings, Mr. Higginson wrote to his wife:—

I was so amused this morning. When Mr. Winkle has been in the mud [in “Pickwick” ] the hostler brushes him down, shooing him and soothing [198] him with a gentle noise all the time as if currying a horse. My pantaloons were deluged with mud from Broadway [New York] and the Irish waiter did precisely that to me.

And a little later, he wrote:—

I shall be back from Yellow Springs a week from to-morrow night. If he [Montgomery] is not back then, and if the ground is still covered with snow, I shall probably not wait for him, but go home and be on call. . . . Give me credit for wisdom in not throwing up the whole Western trip and going with him.

While Montgomery was absent on this secret errand Mr. Higginson went as far west as Ohio to lecture, returning in time to hear the disappointing verdict. On reaching Charlestown, Montgomery's associate, Soule, feigned intoxication, and being confined in the same jail, obtained an interview with Brown's confederates.1 The prisoners considered all attempts at rescue as hopeless; and heavy snow-falls, combined with the fact that both authorities and the community were on the alert, converted Montgomery to the same opinion. Thus the bold scheme of rescuing the two doomed men was reluctantly abandoned.

After returning home Mr. Higginson wrote to one of them—Stevens—the following letter, March 12, 1860:— [199]

Dear Friend,
As I cannot see you in the body I feel a strong wish to stretch out my hand to you once and say God bless you.

You may not remember me, but I saw you in September, 1856, at Nebraska City when you were coming out of the Territory with Gen. Lane ..

Death is only a step in life and there is no more reason why we should fear to go from one world into another than from one room into another. . . . The world where John Brown is cannot be a bad one to live in. . . . My wife would have been willing that I should risk my life to save yours had that been possible.

Recalling these events in October, 1860, Mr. Higginson wrote in his journal:—

Last year at this time I was worn and restless with inability to do anything for John Brown. Not that I grudged him his happy death—but it seemed terrible to yield him to Virginia. The effort to rescue Stevens and Hazlett—undertaken on my sole responsibility—restored my self-respect. It did not fail like the Burns rescue through the timidity of others—but simply through the impracticability of the thing. I would not have accepted any one's assurance of that impracticability except Montgomery's.

I think it was a disappointment to me not to be summoned to testify before the [Senate] Committee, nor do I know why I was passed over, after Wilson's assurance. Certainly I should have told them [200] all I knew—and whether that would have done good or harm, I cannot now say.

So far as John Brown is concerned, I should like this for an epitaph, “The only one of John Brown's friends and advisers who was not frightened by the silly threats of Hugh Forbes into desiring that year's delay which ruined the enterprise.” I had the old man's own assurance that in his secret soul he regarded this delay as an act of timidity—and acted on it only because those who held the purse insisted.

Afterwards, in 1862, Mr. Higginson wrote a friend about these stirring events:—

I remember in a letter which I thought might be the last I should ever write to you, when I had sent for Montgomery and seven men from Kansas, because I could find nobody in New England, and we lay in wait a fortnight in Harrisburg hoping vainly to penetrate Virginia and rescue Stevens and Hazlett—I remember then telling you how I had always held to a Mohammedan proverb that no prophet is called of God till he has reached the age of 40—and to-day I am only 39, so I don't think my time has come yet to do the thing I was born for—but certainly I never enjoyed anything more.

Many years later, in 1879, Colonel Higginson went to Charlestown, Virginia, to see this very prison. When he looked at the high and apparently impregnable wall he felt fully convinced that Montgomery's judgment was sound. [201]

After the tragic death of Brown, there came a renewal of the old conflict in Boston between the Pro-Slavery men and the ‘Antis.’ Wendell Phillips spoke once a month on Sunday at Music Hall and it was necessary to guard the building to prevent the meetings from being broken up by riotous young men. Mr. Higginson described this new duty in a letter, dated January, 1861, referring to the annual meeting of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society:—

This week has been given over to mobs; I have been one of the captains of the fifties spoken of in Scripture; that is we had sixty men armed and organized, under my direction, to protect the platform and Wendell Phillips. Part were Germans and part English; this was done prior to the Sunday meeting at Music Hall, but there was no danger then; before the end of the convention it grew rather formidable. It was worth it all to see Mr. Emerson addressing the meeting and interrupted with all kinds of insults and he so utterly undisturbed,— not stooping even to control and put it down, which might perhaps just then have been done—but rising above it by sheer dignity. Wendell Phillips never was so buoyant and charming as through it all. Many have always had the impression that he was not personally courageous because he had not the sort of boyish courage that I and many others get credit for: but his is far higher, not a Puritan courage like John Brown's either, but a sort of highborn chivalrous courage, careless of danger, despising it [202] too utterly to give it a thought—such as one fancies Montrose for instance might have had. We who were with him in the midst of great danger, possible and even actual, were all equally struck with this. We had to control him, he was reckless of danger not from adventurousness nor from ignorance but because he really could not stoop to keep it in mind.

In an estimate of the radical leaders of the day, found in his journal for 1857, Mr. Higginson said of William Lloyd Garrison:—

Of all the heroes of ancient or modern days, that man stands most firmly on his feet. If he knew that at his next word of truth, the whole solar system would be annihilated, his voice, in saying it, would not tremble.

Apropos of the duty of guarding Phillips, the Worcester clergyman again wrote to his mother, January, 1861:—

I spent yesterday in Boston for a wonder, not having been away on Sunday for a long time. They sent for me to come down because it was feared that there would be trouble at the Music Hall as Wendell Phillips was to speak . . . and the Mayor refused to have any Police. The previous time when he spoke there were 200 police and trouble at that. So we had a meeting at the German ‘Turners’ Hall on Saturday evening, and they appointed me Commander in chief and organized into small companies of 6 each with a leader, and Sunday morning we [203] posted them in different parts of the Hall and carried the meeting quietly through, though there were a few symptoms of trouble at first—and took W. P. home afterward, with quite a crowd around,—so that all went well. Gov. Andrew brought a good deal of pressure to bear on the Mayor and he sent police after all—but not in uniform so that it was not generally known till afterwards. As there is to be an Anti-Slavery Convention next Thursday and Friday it was thought important to have a good organization and make sure of carrying the meetings all through—but I think everything will go well now.

In February, Mr. Higginson spent another Sunday in Boston, to help protect Wendell Phillips, and wrote that ‘a thousand people or so waited on Winter Street to see him—friends, foes and idlers —while we quietly walked him out by the Bumstead Place entrance.’

When the war-cloud burst in April, 1861, and there was alarm about the safety of Washington, Mr. Higginson conceived the daring scheme of recalling Montgomery and his men from Kansas and going with them into the mountains of Virginia to divert the attention of the Confederacy from the national capital. In reference to this plan he wrote to his mother:—

I vibrate between rumors of wars—and high school examinations. Since our troops went, things [204] are quieter, though many are drilling. Think how honorable to Massachusetts that her first troops marched through New York before the famous 7th Regiment had started . . . .

If you see I have enlisted don't believe it yet, but I am trying to get means for equipping a picked Company for John Brown, Jr.—to be used on the Pennsylvania border. How much I may have to do with the undertaking if it ever comes to anything—the future course of events must determine. I want at least to get the name of John Brown rumored on the border and then the whole party may come back and go to bed—they will frighten Virginia into fits all the same.

With Dr. S. G. Howe's help, he raised money for this purpose and consulted Governor Andrew, who gave him a letter of introduction to Governor Curtin of Pennsylvania. This letter Mr. Higginson took in person to Harrisburg. Some doubts arose in Governor Andrew's mind after sending the letter and he wrote another to the Pennsylvania governor advising caution. In this second letter the Massachusetts governor said of Mr. Higginson: ‘He is a man capable of facing great perils, of gallant and ardent spirit, and one whose plans I would not endorse in blank or in advance. You may find on enquiry that he proposes some scheme not only courageous, but wise.’ Governor Curtin, after talking with his eager visitor and reflecting upon his plans, wrote to [205] Governor Andrew that such a move would precipitate a border war, and that the time for such warfare had not yet arrived. He also said that if Mr. Higginson should enter western Virginia ‘with the kind of troops he purposes to enlist it would not only destroy the loyal sentiment of that part of the State, but would influence the people of Kentucky, Tennessee, and Missouri.’ This project was therefore abandoned.

On Mr. Higginson's return to Worcester, he was offered a position as major of the fourth battalion of infantry. This he declined, partly from a feeling of unfitness, and partly on account of his wife's invalid condition. He also felt doubtful about the Government's attitude on slavery, and feared he might be ordered to return fugitive slaves to their owners. However, he continued to study military tactics; took fencing lessons; and before going into active service, had belonged to five ‘drill clubs.’ In his journal of January, 1862, he gives a list of these clubs, he having been president of two of them, and records practising with rifle and bayonet, as well as studying the manual of arms. One of these clubs, ‘The Old City Guard,’ was formed, he wrote, of ‘ a clique of very small men with whom good sense had one long tussle till it broke up. . . . Disbanded with regret and thought I should join the militia.’ But after a few months of this work he wearied of it and [206] recorded that he felt ‘a certain satisfaction in having escaped a monotonous winter's drill at the seat of peace—the Potomac.’

In the midst of these exciting public duties, the youthful delight which Mr. Higginson had found in nature revived. From his journal or ‘ Field Book,’ kept at the time, these extracts are taken:—

I need ask for nothing else when I find myself coming round again into all that old happiness in Nature, which my years of hard labor seemed to have dulled. I verily believe that I am to have it all again. A thousand delicate tendrils seem to be tremulously thrusting forth within me, to bind me to the blissful world once more. What an exchange for the life of a minister—St. Lawrence bound to a gridiron, with every seventh bar redhot . . . .If I could obtain but a slight addition to my certain income, so as to keep a saddle horse, I should have nothing more to ask of the world. . . . I see nothing but war which is now likely to change my life and it may be that war is the last of these public schools which I am destined to go through. But that I shall certainly enter, if I can.

Much of my enjoyment of Nature seems to come from the fact that all animals and even plants are more human to me than they appear to most people. When I come suddenly on a beautiful flower in a lonely place it is like meeting with a rare person there, and I never forget that association. So, birds are kindred and children to me . . . There are outdoor moments so rich, it seems as if a single walk [207] would furnish an essay. But I do not wish my essays to be milk but cream. They must skim the wealth of many days and nights, besides 36 silent years behind . . . .How inexpressibly weak it would be in me to wish for money or more fame, when by moderation and patience I have secured not merely a certain amount of usefulness, but the rare and unspeakable luxury of living precisely as I would wish to live. Had I unlimited wealth or fame I do not see that it could add anything important to my summer life, while it would certainly bring many new and great drawback . . . . I enjoy it [literature] so much more than any other form of work that I am sure it must be the best thing for me. With our moderate aims and desires it will not be necessary for me to become a drudge, or of so over-doing as to produce distaste for it. But for M.'s ill-health and the disturbed condition of the country (and in both cases I see some indications of hope beyond)—my sky would be unusually cloudless, so far as I can compare it with that of others.

The uncontrollable desire to have a share in the war was at times manfully quelled and dismissed as the diary under date of August 15, 1861, shows:—

I have thoroughly made up my mind that my present duty lies at home—that this war, for which I long and for which I have been training for years, is just as absolutely unobtainable for me as a share in the wars of Napoleon. This being the case, let me swallow down all rebellious desires and philosophically [208] use the opportunities and enjoyments I have. Perhaps good may yet come from this enforced abstinence.

The same purpose is more fully expressed in this letter written to a friend:—

I have been much taken up, of course, with the exciting and exhausting affairs of this summer . . . . At one time I saw prospects of coming nearer to the scene of action, but my plans of irregular service failed, and it would be very wrong for me to enlist for three years or even one, so that I am just turning it all into a school for patience. There is a certain experience of action and danger which is very fascinating to me and to which I should take perhaps as readily as most men,—but I always turn very easily to the thought of immortality and cannot doubt that all experiences which are really needed will be forthcoming first or last. It seems funny, to be sure, to wait for heaven to supply the place of secessionists, but I have n't a doubt of some good and exciting training being afforded, beyond this limited chance we have here.

It was hard to always exercise this philosophy in the face of such experiences as the following:—

Worcester, Aug. 1861.
We had Col. Leonard's regiment on their way to the war also, and the “John Brown War song” was sounding through the streets all the evening. . . . I never heard anything more impressive and it [209] seemed a wonderful piece of popular justice to make his name the War song.

The sense of duty to his country, in distinction from the claims of home, was also aroused by such reflections as these:—

It seems to me of the greatest importance that men of Anti-Slavery principle should take their full share in this war . . . .

A great many Anti-Slavery men, all over the state, are holding aloof, and can only be brought in by leaders in whom they have confidence.

. . .Some of our most influential young men here have been telling me, for some time, that they would enlist under me and nobody else, and they stand ready to raise one company or more, here. And from letters I have had, at different times, I know that there are many who would prefer to serve under some man of anti-slavery sympathies.

In the autumn of the same year, feeling the need of more time for literary work, Mr. Higginson severed his connection with the Free Church. A unique tribute to his popularity was the gift of a basket of artificial fruit, the contents having been made from the hair of members of his congregation!

On Thanksgiving Day, he expressed his satisfaction with the new leisure:—

Years I have wasted in efforts to do people good —preaching, speaking, lecturing, conventioning, [210] organizing, politics, newspaper writing, private philanthropies, etc.—in all of which I have succeeded as well as the average, perhaps better—but never with that hearty zest a man feels when he knows he is leading his true life. Now I have wrenched myself away from all these things, feeling that I have served my time at them and got my Experience—and I have come back to the one thing which I always thoroughly enjoyed, a quiet life with literature and nature. It has cost me all these years to dare to do this.

These dreams of peace were suddenly dispelled in the autumn of 1861. He wrote to his mother:—

I have authority from Governor Andrew to take preliminary steps toward raising a regiment, which when formed will be placed under charge of an U. S. officer—probably Captain Saxton of the naval expedition, who is an anti-slavery man. At any rate the Colonel is to be satisfactory to me and I to be under him.

But by the time several companies for the new regiment had been recruited in different parts of the State, an order was given to stop all recruiting. Mr. Higginson had been hard at work for three months, and his disappointment at this turn in affairs is shown by this entry in his journal, January, 1862:—

Went through all the interest and hope of my regimental prospects, and came out of it all again. . . . Whatever sorrows or regrets there were I disposed [211] of in [writing] my Letter to a Young Contributor and have passed it all by.

However, in the following spring, hope was reawakened, for a new nine-months' regiment was called out and the irrepressible ex-clergyman opened a recruiting office in Worcester. He wrote, March 3, 1862:—

The day after the call for 9 months troops I called on the Mayor and told him I did not wish to be exempted on the score of profession, not being properly a clergyman and it is settled with M—— that if drafted I shall go.

Yesterday it grew obvious that the number of 9 months men might be raised without a draft and it suddenly became clear to me . . . that I ought to go for that time, even without a draft. I have not mentioned it to M——and may not have strength to carry it through, but it seems to me that if I do not I shall forfeit my self respect and be a broken man for the remainder of my days. I have sacrificed the public duty to this domestic one as long as I can bear.

In August he wrote to his mother:—

I have something to say which may surprise you. . . . I have obtained authority to enlist a military company for 9 months, I go as Captain . . . .

I do not think I should ever have made up my mind to go for 3 years—but those recruits were raised slowly here, and I decided that I never could [212] hold up my head again, in Worcester or even elsewhere, if I did not vindicate my past words by actions though tardy. It seemed to me also, which is more important, that beyond a certain point one has no right to concentrate his whole life on one private duty.

Two weeks later he told her:—

I am going to Boston to-day with my company roll full, to get authority to choose officers; and next week we expect to go into barracks in a large building a little way out of town . . . Everybody praises the material of my company and their appearance on the street.

The inner conflict was over, as his journal shows, under date of August 31:—

Since I have decided on my duty, my whole path has been perfectly clear; I have been like a ship in [the] bay, all other paths obstructed, but this one perfectly clear . . . .

I see at every moment that all the currents of my life converge in this direction and that my time is absolutely come . . .What I could write I have written and should I never write anything more, no matter. So far as any personal plans of my own are concerned, I am absolutely free and could I leave M——out of view could die to-morrow with no feeling but of a happy confidence in the Eternal Laws, not unmingled with a sweet curiosity.

To his mother, he wrote:— [213]

Lincoln House, Worcester, Sept. 7, 1862.
I have my commission and we go into barracks when they are read . . . . I drill my company every afternoon two hours out doors and enjoy it much.

And later in the same month he added:—

I feel just like a father of a family when I go up to the quarters at meal times and see my sage first sergeant taking tea . . . sitting . . . behind a pine board, eating baked apples, illumined by a stearine dip stuck in a potato. Or later when four beautiful voices sing quartettes. My sergeants hold evening prayers, to which many of the company go, sometimes half; and at nine there is a roll-call, after which all go to bed and nine hundred men snore in concert in one vast hall, with scarce a partition between.

At five A. M. comes a rolling of drums, like churning and boiling in one, which is the reveille . . . to which all the men bundle up and one commissioned officer at least to each Company—then drill from 6 to 7 and then breakfast and four hours more, drilling through the day.

A month later the new captain reported:—

We are sailing smoothly now at the camp. . . . They cannot be said to love me, and I heard yesterday of an inebriated Irish private singing along Main St., “Old Higgie is so strict, so strict,” etc., while another in a similar condition came to the [214] company quarters yesterday and asked for me, saying he was drunk and wished to go to the guard-house.

In November, he wrote that they had everything but guns and might be ordered off at any time, and on the following day he telegraphed his mother, ‘We have orders to leave this week.’ But he was still in the Worcester barracks a fortnight later, when he received a thrilling letter from Brigadier-General Saxton, of the Department of the South, offering him the command of a regiment of freed slaves.

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