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Chapter 1: from Massachusetts to Virginia.

When, on the morning of the fifteenth of April, 1861, three days after the Rebel batteries had opened upon the Federal garrison in Fort Sumter, a telegram from Washington to Governor Andrew of Massachusetts, to send forward fifteen hundred men, was followed later in the day by a formal requisition for two full regiments of militia, there had been no thought or preparation for the service of other troops to sustain the General Government in the great Rebellion. Governor Andrew had taken steps to prepare the militia as early in the year as the sixteenth of January, in his Order No. 4, in which all the members who were willing to respond to the orders of the Commanderin-Chief when issued, in response to a requisition from the President of the United States to aid in the maintenance of the laws and the peace of the Union, were directed to signify it; those refusing, were to be discharged and “their places filled by men ready for any public exigency which may arise.”

On the fourth of February, 1861, the general officers of State militia, with a few citizens of military experience, were invited to confer with the Governor as to the best mode of preparing the militia for the field. [2]

Soon after followed the Act of the Legislature, of February 6, authorizing additional companies of volunteer militia to be raised, and, upon the requisition of the President of the United States, to be marched out of the limits of the State.

How well and how promptly Governor Andrew had executed his task was apparent, when the companies of designated militia, amidst the cheers of the multitude, disembarking at the various railroad stations, marched to their rendezvous on Boston Common, on the morning of the sixteenth of April.

But how inadequate the militia of any State would have proved for the War of the Rebellion I need not discuss; nor need I enlarge upon their unfitness as material for the creation of a military organization for an indefinite term, and in distant States; nor to their absurd usage of the election of officers. Experience brought in time condemnation. I felt it in the beginning when the multitude, with emotions and heart-swellings and frantic cheers, heard Governor Andrew, in inspired tones, bid God-speed to the third, fourth, sixth, and eighth militia regiments on the seventeenth and eighteenth of April.

Thus early in the war, at its outset, at that period when for the first time the country as a whole appreciated that war was inevitable, the one thing that men of military experience felt, was that the old militia organizations must give place to new military organizations. To feel thus and to act upon it was as much a matter of course as for a commander to rally in battle dispersed battalions; and to act upon it in such manner that the part each man could do, when accomplished, would form a perfect whole, was not only the part of wisdom, but of prudent foresight. My course was plain. It was to raise a regiment modelled upon the regular army of the United States,--an enlistment [3] of men; an appointment of officers; and an indefinite term of service. By what law such a regiment was to be held together, fed, paid, clothed, I knew not: there was no law; but there was something above law, something that makes law,--necessity. So I addressed myself to two essentials that were requisites for the coming law to act upon,--essentials in getting together and organizing in form a regiment of men; and these were, first, the assent and cordial cooperation of Governor Andrew to raise it; second, the promise of the General Government to accept it.

On the fifteenth day of April, 1861, at the State House, with the single condition that I would wait until these troops were off, Governor Andrew promised me his influence and aid in raising a regiment of troops to serve during the war: the men to be enlisted; the officers to be of my own selection; their rank to be of my own designation. On the seventeenth day of April, before all the troops were off, Governor Andrew made good the promise of his influence, by writing a letter to the Secretary of War, asking authority to raise a regiment,--afterwards known as the Second Massachusetts Infantry, but then designated as a regiment to be commanded by Major Gordon.

The steps that followed in their order, make up the history of the organization of the Second Massachusetts Regiment of Infantry.

Of all the details that bear upon the design, workmanship, and completion of the fabric I cannot, in this history, do more than touch upon a few interesting incidents. I cannot tell even the half I know of the personal sacrifices, the heroic impulses, and the free, impetuous contributions of life and property poured out with unstinting hand, by both rank and file, to aid me in my effort to organize my regiment. Men, money, sympathy, influence I — it seemed [4] as if all the wealth, all the precious life-blood, all that nearly a hundred years of social and intellectual development had garnered, were offered for the sacrifice.

I much regret that I have no reliable record of the order in which applications for commissions were received; but by the best evidence I have, the first applicant, Greely S. Curtis, was followed by A. B. Underwood. Then came

Wilder Dwight, and within a few days George L. Andrews, who made personal application for the office of lieutenantcolonel.

The following names, with residences, I find among my notes, upon a sheet bearing evidence that they were written in the order in which I received the application. I copy them precisely as they were written in the spring of 1861:

That paper does not contain the names of all who received commissions in the second regiment; nor does it name some who undoubtedly had been promised a commission at an earlier date than any found in it,--such as Captain Abbott, who must have followed soon after Colonel Andrews. [6]

Other names brought before me in letters of application, with dates, are appended:--

I find the names of Charles G. Loring, Jr., W. B. Williams, C. F. Morse, Rufus Choate, S. M. Quincy, Richard Goodwin, George P. Bangs, James M. Ellis, C. P. Horton, appended to a paper dated May 9, 1861, showing the connection of those gentlemen with the regiment at that time.

The names of Savage and Cary, captains; of Wheaton, adjutant; of Henry L. Higginson, Hawes, Motley, Howard and Sawyer,--do not appear in any lists or in ally letters in my possession.1 That Messrs. Wheaton and Motley were very early applicants in April, and that all the others were actively engaged in recruiting companies early in May, there is abundant proof.

Among the first to offer aid, person, counsel, and energetic assistance was Wilder Dwight, of Brookline. It was on the eighteenth day of April, 1861, that he first made known, in lines written hastily on a scrap of paper, his [7] desire to go with me. The following is a copy of the paper:--

I simply want to say, that if you see any chance to get a berth to go with the first volunteers from Massachusetts, keep me in mind, and give me an early opportunity. That's what I want, Captain Gordon. Yours,

(Signed) W. D.

And it was on the same day, though later, in an interview with Dwight, that I informed him of the Governor's acceptance of my proposition and co-operation with my effort. It was on the same day, too, that Dwight, suggesting the possibility of procuring money by subscription, carried from my office a paper which pledged Major Gordon to the command of a regiment which the contributors were to equip, organize, and support, until this burden should be assumed by the General Government. Such liberal subscriptions were made,--five thousand dollars,before the ink which declared the purpose was fairly dry,2 that success was placed beyond any fair probability of failure.

Before the twentieth of April, 1861, there was no doubt of success. The great overpowering necessity had triumphed over all past forms and revered customs. Men of station and culture were willing to take such rank as might be designated, while the bone and sinew of our land surrendered without objection all claim to take part in the election of their officers.. “Let us go any way that you think best, to fight for the integrity of our country,” was their only, their single demand.

At this point it became necessary to consult with higher powers. The President of the United States,--could I obtain his promise to accept this regiment, as part of the [8] army to be raised, its future was assured. What was the outlook for this? It was under the sanction of law that the President of the United States had called upon the militia, who were now forming at the front. But where was the law for the creation of an army subject to the rules and regulations governing the military service of the United States? There was none. What then? Was the President to wait idly, longing for authority to give life to the legions that throughout every hamlet in the Northern States were flocking to drill halls, forming themselves into companies, and offering to fill regiments; or was he, assuming the responsibility, to give his approval, and order the fighting force to the front?

On the morning of the twenty-fifth of April, 1861, I announced my intention of proceeding to Washington, to tender in person a regiment of infantry to the President of the United States. Later in the day I found myself so crowded with work that I designated Lieutenant-Colonel Andrews and Major Dwight to go forward for me, and fulfil my purposes. On the afternoon of the twenty-fifth these gentlemen started, taking with them a letter from Governor Andrew to the Secretary of War, repeating the former's request of the seventeenth instant, to which no reply had been made.

The following letter to me from Major Dwight, dated April 25, is pertinent. It is as follows:--

Dear Gordon,
If you think you cannot go to Washington this P. M., Andrews and myself are ready to start under your direction, to bring back an answer to the fundamental question, On what legal basis are we to rest! Please give us as early an answer to this question as you can, so that we may prepare to go.


On the thirtieth of April I received from Philadelphia the following despatch:--

Geo. H. Gordon, 20 Court Street,
Have got authority. See full despatch to Governor Andrew. Rush right forward. Home to-morrow evening.

So the last condition was fulfilled; and, so far as I know, this offer of a regiment of citizens of Massachusetts, to fight for the country for an indefinite period,organized, armed, and equipped, a present from the State,

-was the first offer of the kind made in this War of the Rebellion; and may, must, have had a potent influence in shaping the policy which the President afterwards adopted. At all events, it must have brought sensibly to his mind that he could call with confidence upon the citizens of the free States to fall in and march to the front.

Accordingly, on the third of May, 1861, the President of the United States proclaimed that he would receive thirty-nine regiments of infantry, and one regiment of cavalry,--an aggregate of forty-two thousand and thirtyfour men and officers,--to serve for three years, or during the war. So the voice of command was heard in the land; the right policy was adopted. It is to be remembered, however, that the Second Massachusetts Regiment was tendered to the President of the United States, first in the letter of Governor Andrew, written on the seventeenth, and again by messengers sent direct to the President, repeating this offer, on the twenty-fifth of April. It is to be remembered that this regiment was not accepted by the President for the war, under his own call, on the third of May, for thirty-nine regiments of infantry; but it was accepted and authorized by the President, before the thirtieth of April, in response to my own application. It is [10] also worthy of note, that, on the nineteenth of the month, Governor Andrew, in the following letter, became himself, for his friend, an applicant for a commission in our regiment.

The letter is as follows:--

Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Executive Department, Council Chamber, Boston, April 19, 1861.

My dear Colonel,--Dr. Luther Parks, Jr., of Boston, an old friend of mine, wishes active service in his profession. He is a zealous and noble man. Can you appoint him?

Yours truly,

J. A. Andrew.

At later dates, and on four other occasions, did Governor Andrew make personal application to me in writing, suggesting appointments, or applying for places for men; thus most emphatically indorsing his promise to aid me in raising a regiment, in which all the officers were to be of my own designation and appointment; the rank and file to be enlisted in such manner as I might elect.

The application next in time to the preceding was on the eighth of May, when the Governor applied to me to receive the “Andrew Light guard,” --a company raised in Salem by the then Captain Cogswell; “as it will add,” writes the Governor, “to the completion of your command, to aid which I shall always be happy.”

On the ninth of May the Governor applied to me for an appointment for Dr. R. H. Salter, as surgeon; adding, “If I were selecting a regiment, he is the man of all others I should choose as surgeon of a regiment;” and again, May 16, in a letter to me introducing Mr. Fisher and Major Ayer, of Medway, the latter of whom had seventyone men on his rolls. This company, discarding their own elected officers, took those I designated, and became Company [11] “E” of the Second Regiment. And again, on the same day, May 16, I received another letter written for the Governor by an officer of his staff, in which Governor Andrew applies to me to take into my regiment two German companies enlisted in Boston, then being supported by Mr. Urbino and others of their countrymen, who could ill afford it. “In these companies,” says the Governor, “there are several officers and nearly thirty men who have served in the German armies, and are therefore trained soldiers.” As the acceptance of his material would have been a departure from the policy I had adopted, I declined the offer.

It would be interesting to give in detail the letters, correspondence, and reports that flowed in upon me from the fifteenth day of April, 1861, to the very morning of the eighth of July following, when the regiment left the State: offers of services to drill; offers of services to fight; individual offers, and offers by groups and companies; German soldiers by Mr. Urbino, and French veterans by Colonel Fletcher Webster; applications for a first or second lieutenancy in an infantry regiment from a man who had commanded ships varying in size from six hundred to eighteen hundred tons; applications for a first or second lieutenancy from a man who says, to use his own words, “anything that money or political influence can do to obtain this will not be wanting;” and a letter, the last that I will allude to, from a single applicant, who signed himself under the somewhat indefinite name of “Volunteer.” With exhaustive expressions of his gratitude to his country, and of being “weighed down” with a sense of his duty in this hour, which he painted with darker hues than Milton ever conceived of the bottomless pit, he ended with touching pathos, by declaring that his “ ‘ tail’ is soon told;” and in begging the loan of a trifle of twenty [12] dollars to enable him to leave where he was then boarding, as he was “only one of three or more hundred over the borders, who wish to join your ranks to put the traitor down.” It may be imagined that I preferred to leave these men in pawn for their board; though who knows whether some months later they were not more successful in the halcyon days of hundreds of dollars' worth of bounty?

As interesting as it might be to give all these details, whether in reports of our own officers at their various recruiting stations, letters of inquiry, letters offering money and aid, and clothing,--I will not dwell longer on this branch of the subject, but hasten on with a word of my encampment in West Roxbury.

On the ninth of May, 1861, moved by the conviction that the men and officers selected for the regiment should be brought together in camp, I directed Mr. R. M. Copeland, designated for the office of quartermaster, to find within a convenient distance of Boston a suitable spot for a camping-ground.

The numbers of enlisted men on the date of their arrival at camp were as follows:--

Captain AbbottfullMay 11.
Captain Coggswell75 menMay 14.
Captain Savage42 menMay 14.
Captain Whitney78 menMay 14.
Captain Underwood82 menMay 15.
Captain Quincy80 menMay 20.

I find among my papers a sheet, on one side of which, in my own handwriting, is a list of all the proposed officers of the regiment, from the colonel to the last second lieutenant, and on the other side a statement of the condition of the companies, as follows: Abbott, full; Quincy, [13] probably full; Savage, 80; Curtis, 80; Cary (Lowell men), 80; Underwood, 82; Tucker, 33; Goodwin, not noted; Whitney, full; Cogswell, full.

The date of this paper (unfortunately it is a matter of surmise) must have been later than the fourteenth of May, for then, by the history of the Second, Captain Savage had but 42 men; but the whole record showed such numbers of enlisted men on the ninth of May, that an encampment became a necessity.

To my letter of the ninth, Mr. Copeland replied, that he would immediately start out to find an encampment; and “shall get into Boston sometime this afternoon,” h added, “with one found.” Fortunately the ground on which Mr. Copeland happened was the historic Brook Farm, in West Roxbury. Easily accessible, though isolated, its surface diversified with bill and vale, the spot was admirably adapted to all the requirements of an encampment. I can bring before me now the commanding eminence for the officers; the level ground for the companies; the even and ample parade-ground for a thousand men; the extensive drill-ground; the appropriate buildings, from the protecting hospital to the instructive guard-house. I can recall them in all the poetry of a romance which the pen of Hawthorne, in the wildest hours of his most exuberant fancy, could never excite in the pages of his Blithedale story. I can see them, too, in a reality which has forever and forever exorcised the fitful play-day of the dreamers who preceded us.

Brook Farm is to me forever hereafter holy ground. It has been consecrated by our occupancy, redeemed by the solemn tread of our columns upon its green sod; while its story shall live as an organ strain in the grand epic of American liberty.

Fittingly did the saluting gun baptize the new encampment. [14] On the eleventh of May, 1861, the day celebrated as an anniversary, when the first company of the regiment, detailed to take possession, came in sight under command of its captain,--Abbott of Lowell,--a single piece of artillery, borrowed from the City of Roxbury, manned by volunteer gunners, awoke the slumbering scene with a national salute.

Then the Stars and Stripes were given to the breeze, and Brook Farm was baptized “Camp Andrew.” On Sunday, the twelfth of May, Captain Abbott made to me his first report of the condition of matters in camp.

“We reached camp,” he says, “about four o'clock Saturday afternoon (the eleventh). The flag-staff was raised, the flag saluted, and a national salute fired at sunset. We did not receive any supper until about eight, but when it came it was excellent, and has since so continued. The men have behaved excellently; have cheerfully obeyed my orders, and found something to amuse themselves with.” The number of men then (May 12, 1861) in camp, he enumerated as follows: officers commissioned, 5; noncommissioned, 8; musicians, 2; privates, 72; total, 87. If I would give the order, he added, since the tent equipage was ready, he would put the men in camp immediately.

Between the twelfth and twentieth of May, the site of the encampment was selected, and the permanent regimental camp established.

On the third of May, as I have said, the President of the United States called by proclamation for forty-two thousand and thirty-four volunteers; and as my regiment was accepted under that call, and provided for by a subsequent act of Congress, I must follow the War Department in its relations with the State, where it touches upon this regiment. On the fourth of May, 1861, the War Department issued a general order, No. 15, in which rules [15] were laid down for the organization of the volunteer force of forty-two thousand and thirty-four volunteers. At the same time it was declared that no more three months regiments would be accepted.

Governor Andrew, before the proclamation, had urged the General Government to accept other regiments in addition to mine. On the twenty-fifth of April he had written the Secretary of War, “In addition to raising Gordon's regiment, we can send you four thousand more troops within a very short time after receipt of a requisition for them.”

On the second of May, Mr. Boutwell wrote Governor Andrew from Washington that Mr. Cameron, Secretary of War, agreed to authorize Massachusetts to raise two regiments in addition to mine, but that a cabinet meeting prevented completion of the orders; and it was not until the fifteenth of May, 1861, that any official designation or call was made from Washington for any other regiments for three years, or during the war, save for this one.

On the above date the following letter was written Governor Andrew:--

War Department, Washington, May 15, 1861.
Governor John A. Andrew, Boston:
Dear Sir,
I have the honor to forward you, enclosed herewith, the plan of organization of the volunteers for three years, or during the war. Six regiments are assigned to your State, making, in addition to the two regiments of the three months militia already called for, eight regiments.

It is important to reduce rather than enlarge this number, and in no event to exceed it; let me earnestly recommend to you, therefore, to call for no more than eight regiments, of which six are to serve for three years, or during the war, and if more are already called for, to reduce the number by discharges. [16]

In making up the quota of three years men, you will please act in concert with the mustering officers sent to your State, who will represent this Department.

I am, Sir, respectfully, Simon Cameron, Secretary of War.

The fifteenth of May! One may ponder now on the forethought and the foresight which called upon Massachusetts to discharge all volunteers save enough to make up six regiments,--the quota of Massachusetts,--in a call for forty-two thousand and thirty-four volunteers, with which to finish the War of the Rebellion. But not for this have I called attention to the action of the War Department in its efforts to obtain the first three years regiments; but rather to introduce the circular letter sent from Washington to guide governors of States in the selection of officers for these regiments. I wish to show how the virtues of the circular were anticipated. It was dated in May, and advised loyal governors,--

1. To commission no one of doubtful morals or patriotism, and not of sound health.

2. To appoint no one to a lieutenancy (second or first) who has passed the age of twenty-two years, or to a captaincy over thirty years; and to appoint no field officers — major, lieutenant-colonel, or colonel — unless a graduate of the United States Military Academy, or known to possess military knowledge and experience, who has passed the respective ages of thirty-five, forty, and forty-five years.

This Department feels assured that it will not be deemed offensive to your Excellency to add yet this general counsel: that the higher the moral character and general intelligence of the officers so appointed, the greater the efficiency of the troops, and the resulting glory to their respective States.

It was without the benefit of these suggestions that I made my selections for officers for my regiment. It is not [17] strange, however, that I so far met the conditions of the War Department. I presume that Department spoke, and I know I acted, by the light of experience. I stood then, I stand now and hereafter, upon this ground of the War Department: First, high moral character and general intelligence for officers; second, the impulsive ardor of the morning of life.

I can add nothing to the reputation of those who formed the first commissioned officers of the Second Massachusetts Regiment. I could not delineate, however skilfully, a single trait that its survivors do not know and have not felt in their daily intimacies. But I can say, that, with two or three exceptions, from Colonel Andrews to the youngest second lieutenant, I would not have exchanged the officers for those of any regiment I have ever known in the service of the United States, regular or volunteer. For promptness in the performance of duty, for zeal and application in seeking to know their duty, for courage in discharging duty, and for a presence and bearing among their men which, checking familiarity, inspired respect, the regular service never had superiors.

To dwell upon their achievements, to recall their wellremembered and well-beloved forms, were an easy as it would be an instructive task; indeed, even now I cannot shut out their presence. They are here to the eye of memory in all their bloom of manly strength; and yet they are there, where they fell. Goodwin, so weak from sickness that he was carried to the battle-line of Cedar Mountain, to fall with his men on either hand; Dwight, the brave, the ardent, and faithful, conspicuous in the most exacting demands of his rank; Savage and Cary, Abbott, Williams, and Robeson, in the tornado of fire that swept their heroic souls from earth,--all falling where only the brave fall; Mudge and Shaw, with youth, with frank and [18] manly hearts, leading their regiments into the very jaws of hell without flinching or faltering. At this hour they pass again,

In dim procession led,

reminding of a sacred companionship, born of patriotic devotion, nurtured in the fire of battle, and strengthened by a common sacrifice,--a tender, a sweet companionship, that admonishes, as we bear the burden of our daily cares, to be true, to be honest, to be brave. And when,--
At times unbidden notes shall rise,
Confusedly bound in memory's ties,
Entangling as they rush along,
The war-march with the funeral song,

and time covers with its mosses the stones that mark the resting-places of our heroic comrades, we shall appreciate more and more that the proud record of this regiment would be a barren story without the history of all those noble souls — officers and privates-who gave up their lives for their country.

On a day about the twentieth of May, 1861, I handed Governor Andrew, at the State House, a complete list of every officer for the Second Regiment in the order in which I wished them to rank. Taking from my hand this paper, Governor Andrew, in my presence, delivered it to the Adjutant-General, with this injunction: “Let commissions issue to these gentlemen, in the order of rank as designated.” And thus commissions were made out, though the dates were irrespective of Governor Andrew's order, which was prior, as I have every reason to believe, to any order of his concerning any other of the then designated six regiments; irrespective, too, of the date of muster — in to the United States service, for, at the especial suggestion of the mustering officer, the colonel of the Second Regiment was mustered into the United States service prior to any [19] other colonel from the State; irrespective, too, of the rule laid down by the War Department, that the date of musterin of regimental officers into the service of the United States, should never be earlier than the date of muster-in of the last company, for it is from this latter date that the commencement of service in the United States Army is determined.3

It is not known why the commission of the colonel of the First Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteers was dated May 22, while that of the colonel of the Second was dated May 24; nor is it important, in the light of the fact that the Second Regiment was the first mustered into the service of the United States, as it was the first accepted by the United States.

I have said there were exceptions, two or three, to be noted in the character of my selections of officers; and as illustrating precisely wherein a man, without being vicious, might fail in the requirements of a good officer, I will allude to the case of a captain whom I had received upon his own application. I allude to this case thus publicly, because of an official communication received from Governor Andrew before we left camp, that he had caused the full detail connected with the resignation of this officer to be filed with the public records of the State.

The appointment of this officer was a mistake; but I rectified it before leaving Massachusetts.

The case of Captain --shows how much need there was of military guidance to direct even the best of governors in the selection of regimental officers; how such a man as Governor Andrew, with his whole soul filled with [20] a single wish for the good of the cause,--a man who exhausted his life in behalf of the nation,--how even he failed to appreciate what was wanting to secure efficiency in a regiment! I refer to the Governor's written opinion of my resolution and action in the case of Captain--, whose resignation I had demanded during the encampment, and forwarded with my approval to Governor Andrew.

On one of the last days in June, 1861, Captain--—a commissioned officer of the Second Massachusetts Infantry, was pledging in his own tent one of the corporals of his company in a social glass. This complimentary attention from the captain to the corporal was, as I understood the captain, that he might remove any unpleasant impression rankling in the corporal's breast, because of his insisting upon the performance of some particular duty by the corporal. Fortunately for the regiment, but otherwise for the captain, the colonel (passing at the time) witnessed this fraternal drink, and overheard the social pledge. It is perhaps needless to say that Captain--, from some remarks made to him by the colonel, offered his resignation at once.

Subsequently repenting, however, he withdrew his resignation, and informed the Governor that he would prefer to remain, drink or no drink, corporal or no corporal. It was under these circumstances that, on the first of July, the Governor desired my presence, and “would be glad to see me one-quarter of an hour earlier than the time appointed for Captain — to call.”

I had an interview with the Governor; but I am sorry to say our views differed very widely. The following letter, dated the second of July, 1861, while showing the Governor's opinion of what constitutes true discipline, would also reveal mine, if every sentiment in it were [21] exactly and mathematically reversed; while the Governor's conclusion that Captain-- had better not return to the regiment, on his own account, I most heartily indorsed. Says the Governor:--

In my judgment on the facts, Captain — cannot be deemed to have done more than to have inadvertently exposed himself to censure beyond his deserts; and it is, moreover, to be remembered that the traditions and even necessities of regular army service, by which Colonel Gordon seems to have interpreted an act of no significance when judged of by the light of peaceful militia camp-life, are hardly to be enforced by harsh judgments or ultimate penalties, unless for the purpose of reaching obstinate or really and gravely insubordinate offenders.

In the militia service with which Captain- is familiar, the first officer in rank may in no sense be superior to many a person doing his duty of citizen soldier in the ranks. I cannot and do not believe him to have intended any such breach of the conventionalities of his position, as to imply a want of absolute respect for discipline and good order.

I am satisfied, however, that the circumstances of this case, and the feelings springing from them, would render it unwise (having the best good of the service in view) that Captain --should return to this regiment. It is a case in which I feel bound, in order to secure a good and prosperous body from injurious discord, at a moment when every citizen must yield everything to his country save truth and honor, to accept this resignation, since it has once been tendered, and to grant to Captain- an honorable discharge from a position which, under favorable auspices, he might have occupied with usefulness and honor.

(Signed) John A. Andrew.

This letter was accompanied by the following from the Adjutant-General:-- [22]

Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Adjutant-General's Office, Boston, July 2, 1861.
Colonel George H. Gordon, commanding Second Regiment Mass. Volunteers:

By direction of his Excellency the Governor of this Commonwealth, I herewith transmit to you a copy of a document this day filed in this department.

(Signed) Wm. Schouler, Adjutant-General.

Now, to show how rapidly Governor Andrew grew in wisdom, let me quote the following extract from a telegram from the Governor to Senators Sumner and Wilson, on the third of August, 1861. Says the Governor:--

Can it be intended by Congress, that volunteers in the field should fill vacancies by election? Where is to be the source of discipline, when every candidate is seeking personal favor of the men?

From the first of July, when he thought that pledging a social glass with his corporal was an act by a captain of a company of no significance, when “judged by the light of peaceful militia camp-life,” to the third of August, the Governor grew rapidly in wisdom.

From the eleventh of May to the eighth of July, 1861, the regiment was in camp on Brook Farm, in West Roxbury. To the discipline of that encampment is due the general character and reputation which attended the regiment, wherever it formed an element of an army. If I say that reputation was such that the Second Regiment came to stand with the commander of every army in which it served as the one reliable, well-drilled, and disciplined regiment that the general commanding bore in mind and thought himself fortunate in possessing, I have only spoken the truth in praise of the discipline of that encampment. [23]

There, too, the novelty of the new life began to wear away.; there old friendships were strengthened and new ones formed; there life began to reveal nobler purposes, the heart to beat with new and unfelt desires; while the grand, the mighty strength to be developed by a wellorganized, compact, and thoroughly disciplined body of earnest men began to show itself. And there, too, what tender, half-fearful emotions were suppressed in the multitudes that gazed night after night upon the long line at evening parade,--gazed in pride, though with swelling hearts, at this strange yet heroic departure from the peaceful ways for which sons and brothers had been destined!

A few weeks of that strange but thrilling life, and the summons came. Ou the morning of the eighth of July, 1861, the tents were struck, the camp deserted. So like a dream had the first and last military occupants of Brook Farm come and gone, that it seemed like the vision pictured by Scott of the clans of Rhoderick Dhu:--

The wind's last breath had tossed in air
Pennon and plaid and plumage fair;
The next but swept a lone hill-side
Where heath and fern were waving wide;
The sun's last gleam had glinted back
From spear and glaive, from targe and jack;
The next all unreflected shone
On bracken green and cold gray stone.

At five o'clock in the morning, on the eleventh of July, the regiment forded for the first time the Potomac, at Williamsport in Maryland, and entered upon the sacred soil of Virginia. Its destination was Martinsburg, the headquarters of General Patterson, to whom, as ordered by General Scott, I was to report.

Never again was the Second to make that march in such style. The officers were in full uniform, adorned [24] with epaulettes and sashes. The ranks were full, a thousand men, marching in close order, moving with the military precision of veterans, and keeping time to the music of a full band, which echoed through the streets. This, as it approached Martinsburg. As the regiment proceeded, mobs of men, some with shreds of uniform, others with shreds of clothing, lined the road-way and squat upon the fence-rails. I could but look with amazement upon this disorganized mass which formed the grand army of General Patterson, as they rushed from field and wood to stare and gaze at the band, the uniform, the steady marching of the men, and their grand equipment of twenty-five or thirty new wagons, each drawn by four showy horses. As the spot designated for an encampment was approached, an increasing mob of Pennsylvanians thronged the streets and surrounded the outer lines of camp, to stare at my sentinels walking their posts as sentinels should, and then to mutter, half in rage and half in vexation, that troops had come among them who obeyed the orders of their officers. Adjoining, however, were camps, where men in homespun, calling themselves sentinels, squatted on the ground like Darwin's great progenitor. They ate on post, sat or squatted on post, smoked and slept on post, sang, talked, and laughed on post, and left their posts, as the humor suited them. To what went on around or within their lines they were cheerfully oblivious and wonderfully indifferent.

From acres of such encampments arose, during the night, song and laughter and boisterous shouts. Lights flashed out, men came and went, and all moved merrily on; while within my lines not a sound arose nor a whisper was heard nor a light burned, nor was there a sentinel who was not walking his round.

On the fourteenth of July, 1861, three days from my arrival at Martinsburg, an order was given to march south to [25] Bunker Hill en route to Winchester, to engage Joe Johnston, the rebel commander of forces there.

While the tents were being packed, while wagons filled the parade-ground, and luggage encumbered the earth; while there was motion everywhere, as far as the eye could see,--galloping horses bearing orderlies with dispatches, artillery rumbling, and long lines of infantry moving out to the inspiring militia-muster melody of jingling kettle-drums, screeching fifes, and roaring bass,--a sharp-featured and sombre person, dressed in the prevailing butternut-colored homespun of Virginia, shying up towards the Colonel of the Second Massachusetts' Regiment, demanded a settlement: first, for the fence-rails the regiment had burned; second, for the green grass we had trampled down; and third, for an extra cost for ploughing in the coming spring, the soil had been trodden down so hard. As we were then carrying on war upon peace principles, with assurances that we warred not upon the institutions of the South, nor upon their citizens, nor upon their property; as we were just from Massachusetts, where we were not accustomed to trespass upon or take a man's property without paying for it,--the Virginian was paid; paid all he asked; paid upon his own estimates; paid in gold; and his vouchers are now on file in Washington, in settlement of the regimental quartermaster's accounts.

I am — at least I was once — inclined to think the owner of so much of the sacred soil as we encamped on must have thought our kind of invasion would pay well. If those men had not soon begun to shoot so: many of their best customers as finally to make us mad, I doubt not we should have been paying for the ploughing of Virginia fields today.

It having been found by General Joe Johnston that he could do us much more injury by uniting his forces with [26] the troops of Beauregard than by remaining at Winchester, he did not trouble himself much about our appearance on the north of that noted town, but made all his preparations to leave. Some one evidently thought that Johnston would prefer Patterson to McDowell, Winchester to Washington; and so Johnston pretended, but without impairing his ability to effect a union with Beauregard. When Patterson placed himself where he could not reinforce McDowell, Johnston gently and joyously moved south and east for Manassas.

This bit of deception, unchivalric for chivalry, sent my regiment to Harper's Ferry,--the first Union regiment, after the rebellion broke out, to enter there. The day after its arrival at Charlestown,--to wit, on the morning of the eighteenth of July, 1861,--I was ordered to occupy Harper's Ferry with the Second Massachusetts Regiment, and assume command of the town. I approached with all the pomp and circumstance the regiment could muster. The scene was striking. In front, where the Shenandoah joins the Potomac, lofty hills, rising abruptly, stood like battlements around this singularly picturesque locality.

The mountains were still rich with their gorgeous coloring; but by the river side, where busy industry had plied its peaceful craft, waste and desolation met our gaze. Where the handsome railroad bridge spanned the Potomac, were blackened piers; government workshops, torn down or roofless, their walls cracked by fire, marked the desolating spirit that had moved abroad. But few of the public buildings remained; among them was the small brick engine-house at the Virginia end of the railroad bridge, noteworthy as the spot on which old John Brown, of famed memory, whose soul has so long been “marching on,” made his last stand in his attempt to invade Virginia. We had followed John Brown's invasion, and were now gazing upon [27] his guard-house; looking across the Potomac, up the Maryland Heights, we also saw the little low farm-house where a German (Unseld) lived, to whom John Brown said, “I am a geologist, and am looking here for precious minerals and ores;” then turning to the school-house by the Maryland shore, we saw where John Brown hid the rifles presented by Massachusetts donors.

At Charlestown, where this old man was executed, and at Harper's Ferry, the site of his quixotic efforts, I was profoundly impressed that this Massachusetts regiment had followed so quickly in his track. Upon entering the town, the citizens gathered in our pathway and shouted, “Welcome!” Wreaths of flowers were thrown to the troops, and garlands encircled the neck of the horse that bore the commanding officer. We entered as conquerors receiving an ovation. Our band played its most patriotic airs, while the streets rang with shouts of the multitude. So did the Virginians of Harper's Ferry receive the first Northern regiment that entered there during the war.

At the most prominent point of the route, a young lady presented the regiment with a national color, accompanying it with an address. The music of the Star-spangled banner filled and swelled in every heart as the colorbearer accepted the offering.

Then came the news that Joe Johnston had reached Manassas, that there was disaster at Bull Run, and that our troops, as they were called, were fugitives in Washington.

Why our people so little appreciated the needs and requirements that make efficient soldiers, and why our countrymen rushed tumultuously to the defence of our national capital and across the Potomac into Virginia, without uniforms, and without discipline, ignorant of the virtue of obedience, discouraging and decryn ting it in others, [28] I have intimated as the result of ignoring the method of creation and growth adopted by the Second Massachusetts Regiment. It remains to show how magnificent and wellappointed armies of thoughtful men were being formed out of the chaotic masses, that no longer clamored to be led onward to Richmond, but, like well-disciplined troops, with confidence in their leaders, awaited the hour of action.

1 For a complete list of all the officers and enlisted men that were ever commissioned or enlisted in the second Massachusetts regiment of Infantry, see “The Record” of the Second Massachusetts Infantry, by Rev. A. H. Quint, pp. 298, 514.

2 For list of subscribers see “The Record,” etc. (Quint), p. 523.

3 Upon this, Mr. Quint has shown, in the history of the Second, that, though some of our companies were mustered into the service as early as May 18, as a whole it was full prior to any of the designated six regiments.

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