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Howard Dwight.

First Lieutenant 24th Mass. Vols. (Infantry), September I, 186; first Lieutenant 4th Missouri Cavalry, October 4, 1861; Captain, September 4, 1862; Captain and A. A. G. (U. S. Vols.), November 10, 1862; killed by guerillas, Bayou Boeuf, La., May 4, 1863.

Howard Dwight, fourth son of William and Elizabeth A. Dwight, and grandson, on the mother's side, of Hon. D. A. White of Salem, was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, October 29, 1837. His characteristics in boyhood were great sweetness of disposition, accompanied by a spirit which would suffer no encroachment upon his rights; great simplicity and ingenuousness, with straightforward honesty of purpose, manly resolution to persevere in whatever he undertook, and excellent mental powers. His father said of him while he was a school-boy, that it was an intellectual treat to study a lesson with him, his mind was so clear and so true in its operations. He was affectionate, but undemonstrative. Refined and gentlemanly in his bearing, he was reserved, even to those of his own household,— who were accustomed to say of him, that he spoke only when he had something to say worth saying, and when he did speak it was always to the point. In the year 1850 he entered Phillips Exeter Academy. Mr. Soule, the respected Principal of the Academy, thus writes of him:—

I remember him as a lad of thirteen, full of health and joyous activity, frank, impulsive, and attractive to his classmates and companions. In his intercourse with his instructors he was always trustworthy and manly in his bearing. During his last term here, his habits of study improved so rapidly, and his progress was such in exact scholarship, that I regretted his leaving. His character and general deportment were unexceptionable.

He was prepared for college by Thomas G. Bradford, Esq., of Boston, for whom he always expressed great affection and [359] esteem. That the regard was reciprocated by this teacher is apparent from the following tribute from his pen. Mr. Bradford writes:

I think I appreciate the character of Howard. I know his noble and endearing qualities, his warm and kind impulses; his affectionate, true, frank, generous heart; his clear, discriminating, well-balanced intellect; his energy of purpose, decision and straightforwardness in will and action; his lofty notions of right and honor, and other traits of mind and heart which made him so true a man. I can say of him, that I not only loved him, but, although he was a mere boy when I was connected with him, that I truly respected him.

He left Mr. Bradford's school to enter Harvard College in the year 1853. He had passed a brilliant examination, and gave every promise of taking high rank in his Class. It was said of him by the distinguished President of the University, Dr. Walker, that, ‘as easily as he could put forth his hand, he could take the highest honors of the Class, if he applied himself to that object.’ Although he allowed himself to be diverted from it, and failed to accomplish what had been hoped for him as to college rank, he succeeded in awakening a strong interest in his instructors; and among his Class he was an object of enthusiastic regard. After his death, besides passing the customary resolutions expressive of their sorrow at his loss, they addressed a letter to his family, of which the following is an extract:—

His position among us was so peculiar, both in the influence which he exercised and the regard in which he was held, that it was our general desire, when we came together upon the occasion of his death, that, besides the resolutions adopted as a public tribute to his memory, a private communication should be made to his family, in which a freer expression could be given to our sentiments, and which, by its informality, should the more feelingly assure them how important we estimate the loss we have sustained.

This letter contains a just and discriminating analysis of his character as a man and as a scholar, and perhaps indicates, clearly enough, the faults which stood in the way of his [360] taking the high rank in his Class to which his uncommon abilities seemed to entitle him. The following passage occurs in it:

He was a leader among us from our earliest college days, and had continued the object of our increasing pride and hope. Intellectually, it is not invidious to say he had no superior in our ranks. He combined in his mental constitution rare clearness of judgment and quickness of perception, with a tenacious memory and singular felicity of expression; and to these gifts added a remarkable eloquence of manner in public speaking. His prominent characteristics seem to us to have been energy, intrepidity, and public spirit. His cast of mind was thoroughly practical, not given to subtleties or abstruseness, but regarding what was broad, practicable, and expedient. He was earnest as a partisan, and full of the inspiration of leadership, but knew how to be courteous towards his opponents, and just to their positions; while in public and in private he set forth his own opinions and maintained his own principles, with cogent force and fearless resolution. His energy was something exhaustless, and he showed as much acuteness in the construction of his plans as he did unwearied persistency in their prosecution. If his restless vigor was sometimes difficult for himself to govern, as it was for others to withstand, it was generally subjected to prudence, while his ardent ambition was regulated by generous feeling and guided by masterly executive skill. These effective and manly qualities were the basis even of his faults; but if his forcible temperament, his unbounded vitality, and exuberant animal spirits ever led him into errors, they did not vitiate the refinement of his sensibilities nor impair the genial heartiness of his disposition. His calmer nature was sensitive and elevated, and he often betrayed in his looks or language a singular simplicity of feeling, half unsuspected to those impressed by his more salient characteristics. His ready kindness of feeling was indicated in a smile of peculiar sweetness, and a manner which he could make most winning, adapting himself with grateful skill to persons of divers characters or positions. Affable and courteous in general, among his nearer associates, he was genial and affectionate, and possessed a brilliant combination of qualities which we shall never cease to miss in our reunions. . . . . While we lament him, it is still with a just pride in the rich sacrifice we were able to make, when so valuable a life was manfully surrendered to a sacred cause. . . . . It is a still greater consolation, as we reflect upon his death, to remember [361] that it was with a warm and intelligent personal interest that he engaged in the cause to which he has given his life. We do not forget that he was impelled, not merely by the ardor of adventure appropriate to our years, but by a manly devotion to the principles which the cause of our country represents, an earnestly cherished conviction which he had manifested long before it became necessary to support those principles by arms. That he felt their importance, and would have deemed their triumph worth his life, may assist our resolution to resign him without complaint, if not without sorrow.

Howard Dwight never ceased to cherish the scholarly and literary tastes which had been so marked in him during his college life, but from which it might have been apprehended that the activities of business and army life would have a tendency to divorce him. When he and his brothers left home for the army, it was remarked that, though they, unwilling to be drawn aside from the study of their new profession, were content to take with them only books of a purely military character, he could not be happy unless he had Shakespeare, Tennyson, and Macaulay for his daily companions. The hard-worn volumes give evidence of his constant use of them. After leaving college he repeatedly expressed himself tempted to follow the bent of his tastes, and continue his education in some foreign university; but other considerations had weight with him, and he soon turned his attention to manufacturing, ‘with the purpose,’ to use his own language, ‘of making himself master of its theory.’

He was thus occupied until the summer of 1859, when it was proposed to him to take charge of building and running a cotton-press in Memphis, Tennessee.

Hitherto he had engaged in no pursuit that had properly tasked his energies. His life had been an easy one, admitting of leisure and self-indulgence. He eagerly welcomed the prospect of duties which, he well knew, while they offered a good field for the exercise of his abilities, would demand of him constant labor and self-denial.

He went to Memphis in September, 1859. His duties during that and the following winter were severe. He writes of [362] rising in midwinter, at six o'clock, so as to be at the press when the men went to work at seven; and as he was unable to leave his work at noon, to go to the hotel for dinner, he found himself, to use his own language, ‘obliged to be satisfied with the corn-bread and bacon which the negroes live on.’ He adds: ‘I have been running the press, too, at night, so I have only been able to let up between the hours of six and seven in the evening. You may fancy the relief brought to my somewhat overwrought body and mind by the advent of Saturday night.’

This life was a good preparation for that upon which he was so soon to enter, in the army; and in the performance of his duties as a man of business in Memphis, he showed the same energy, ability, and fidelity for which, as a soldier, he was afterwards distinguished.

His life was made; as he expressed it, ‘one of turmoil and trouble,’ during the winter of 1860-61, by the beginnings of rebellion in Tennessee, the State of which, as he said, he had ‘become by residence, voting, and everything else that could make him so, a citizen.’ ‘I have had my eyes,’ he writes, ‘suddenly opened to the fact that we are not one people, and that I am almost certain to become a foreigner, while supposing myself at home.’

He writes, on one occasion, of going about among his secession friends, crying ‘Liberty and Union, one and inseparable,’ and adds, ‘I don't know that I did any good; but it certainly raised agreeable emotions in my breast, if not in theirs.’

One thus frank and earnest in avowing his Union sentiments could not but find himself in an uncomfortable position as a citizen of Tennessee in April, 1861. Howard Dwight was not a man to be easily intimidated, but, from the day that Sumter fell until he left Memphis, a month later, his situation was not without peril, and to his friends at home this was a season of great anxiety on his account. For weeks before he left Memphis he must have appreciated the danger. The ‘rag of Secession,’ as he called the Rebel flag, was raised, and the [363] voice of Secession was loud about him. A man less faithful to duty might have sought his own safety, and left his post at once. Not so with him. He was careful for the safety of those in his employ; and, at an early period, he sent away a faithful Irish laborer, whom he knew to be true to the Union. But, for himself, he had charge of the property of another, and he would not leave it without permission to do so.

Meantime, communication between Massachusetts and Tennessee was interrupted. He could get no letters from home; he knew nothing of what was occurring outside of Memphis. At last, everything around him told him that liberty and even life would be endangered by remaining longer among rebels and traitors. He came away, hardly knowing if he had a country.

The first evidence he had that the cause of the Union was not so desperate as was indicated by his rebellious surroundings was in seeing the American flag waving at Cairo. His eloquent account of the emotions awakened by the sight of the stars and stripes will not be forgotten by those who heard it. It was not his wont to talk about his own feelings; but as he told us how the sight affected the passengers on the boat, that there was not a dry eye among them, and that he saw two strong men throw themselves on each other's neck and weep, we felt that he too had had a baptism of suffering, and had come out of it strong for noble action.

The Rebellion was destructive to his business prospects, but to that aspect of it he gave no heed. Pecuniary considerations at such an hour could have no weight with him. He at once applied himself to aiding his brother Wilder, then Major of the Second Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers, in procuring arms for that regiment, and turned his attention, without delay, to seeking a commission for himself in our army.

He entered the service the 1st of September, 1861, as First Lieutenant in Captain Stackpole's company in the Twenty-fourth Massachusetts Regiment. While he was recruiting for his company in Northfield, Massachusetts, he received the following letter from his brother Wilder:— [364]

Pleasant Hill Camp, near Darnestown, September 6, 1861.

dear Howard,—Advice is cheap. When lost, it goes to the moon, according to the old superstition, and does no harm. Hear mine. General Fremont is on his way to Memphis. As sure as sunrise, he will go there. Go with him. Now is the opportunity for adventure, for success. Energy and aptitude are in demand. This autumn they will bear fruit. The wheel is entitled to every man's shoulder; offer yours. In other words, pack your trunk, take a few letters of introduction and authentication from the Governor and others, go to Fremont, tell him you wish to serve in his army . . . . You will do yourself credit, and be in the midst of some of the most brilliant achievements of the war. I have said my say after reflection, and from a near view of the field.

Yours affectionately,

He returned home without delay, being induced to follow the advice of his brother by the fact that he had been a citizen of Tennessee for two years previous to the breaking out of the Rebellion; and where he had faced Secession he chose to fight it.

The second day after his return from Northfield he had furnished himself with the necessary letters, had taken leave of his chosen friends and companions of the Twenty-fourth Regiment, from whom it was hard to separate himself, and was on his way to the Department of the West. On October 4, 1861, he was appointed by General Fremont a Second Lieutenant in Company C, Fourth Regiment Missouri Cavalry, Fremont Hussars.

On the 21st of March following he was commissioned by the Governor of Missouri as First Lieutenant, to rank from the 4th of October, 1861. At the battle of Pea Ridge he held a responsible position, concerning which he wrote soon after as follows:—

On the morning of the 6th of March, when the battle may be said to have opened, I found myself in command of our camp, all my senior officers having been sent with detachments on expeditions before the enemy's advance was known, not to rejoin us until the [365] 7th. I had somewhat over one hundred men under me, and was to have formed the rear-guard of cavalry for Sigel's and Asboth's divisions, but, owing to delay on the part of other cavalry, ordered for advance-guard, the arrangement was suddenly changed at three A. M., we having been ordered to be ready to march at two A. M., and I was ordered to the advance with fifty men.

He showed himself entirely equal to the duties which devolved upon him. On the 7th he made a charge upon the enemy, the effect of which was favorable to the success of our arms during that part of the engagement. From the time of his promotion to a first lieutenancy, he was doing the duty of a captain, although his promotion to a captaincy was long deferred.

On the 1st of May, 1862, his name was sent to the Governor of Missouri for promotion to a captaincy, but as late as August 5th he wrote: ‘You are right in continuing to address me as Lieutenant. My promotion is based on the transfer of one of our captains to a battery of which he has been in command for some time. Until this is accomplished, my title will not come.’

It was not until the 4th of November, 1862, that he was appointed and commissioned, by the Governor of Missouri, as Captain, Company C, Fourth Regiment Missouri Cavalry, to rank from the 4th of September, 1862.

Captain Dwight's duties while in the Department of the West were arduous and severe. In the midst of these labors, a year from the time he left his home, he received the sad tidings of the death of his brother Wilder, who fell at Antietam. On this occasion he wrote from Helena, Arkansas, September 31, 1862, as follows:—

I cannot think of it as real yet; the void it makes in the home that is almost constantly in my mind is so great. I had seen by telegram, in one of the papers, that Wilder was wounded, but some how had not for a moment felt it possible that he could be lost to us. To me he has ever been the most affectionate brother and truest friend when I have most needed aid.

It is a great comfort to me, however, to reflect that his death was one which had no horrors for him, and to the possibility of [366] which he looked forward so cheerfully; and I glory in his career as a soldier, though the end is so hard to bear. I need not assure you how fully you and father and all at home have my sympathy in this affliction, and how much I regret that I cannot be at home to be of some use or comfort to you. I feel that I can do nothing better, however, than, where I am, to imitate, as closely as I may, the bright example that Wilder has given me. I am under marching orders, and shall be more than ever glad of the change to active service.

He passed unharmed through the hardships and dangers of the Missouri campaign; and on the 10th of November, 1862, he was appointed by the President of the United States Assistant Adjutant-General of Volunteers, with the rank of Captain, and ordered to report in person to Brigadier-General George L. Andrews, United States Volunteers.

On the staff of General Andrews, Captain Dwight saw active service in the Department of the Gulf. Important duties were assigned him, which he performed ably and faithfully. He participated in all the stirring scenes of the Teche campaign, during the spring of 1863, and there distinguished himself by his gallantry as he had done on the battle-field of Pea Ridge. There, too, he escaped unharmed, though constantly exposed to the shot and shell of the enemy, and at one time having his horse shot under him. He escaped, however, only to fall two weeks later, under circumstances peculiarly distressing to his friends, who would have asked for him ‘a death more consonant with his ardent and heroic temper.’ At the time of his death, May 4, 1863, he was temporarily attached to the brigade of his brother, Brigadier-General William Dwight, Jr., to whom he was bearing despatches from General Banks. General Dwight's official report of the day's operations contains the following:—

An event occurred to-day of a nature distressing to me, personally, and of such a character as to demand the attention of the authorities in this department, that we may know upon what terms we are waging this war. Captain Howard Dwight, Assistant Adjutant-General to Brigadier-General George L. Andrews, was murdered to-day under the following circumstances. Captain [367] Dwight had passed the artillery attached to this brigade in a wagon in which he was driving, when, finding his progress impeded by the army wagon train, he left his wagon, and mounted his horse to ride forward and join my advance.

He had passed a point at which there is a turn in the Bayou Boeuf, when he was ordered to halt. He was in a place where all previous experience authorized him to suppose that he was in little or no danger. In fact, the account given by an eyewitness shows, so far was he from suspecting danger, that, on being ordered to halt, instead of putting spurs to his horse, which would probably have insured his escape, he deliberately turned, and walked his horse back to see what it meant. On reaching the edge of the Bayou, he found himself confronted by three Rebel cavalrymen, who were on the opposite side of the Bayou, at the water's edge. He asked, “Who are you?” The reply was, “Who are you?” and immediately the three rifles were brought to bear upon him. In this position he submitted to the necessity of the case, and surrendered himself a prisoner. One of the Rebels then said, “He's a damned Yankee; let's kill him.” Captain Dwight calmly replied, “You must not fire. I am your prisoner.” Again the Rebels said to each other, “Kill the damned Yankee” ; and immediately one of them fired. The ball passed through Captain Dwight's brain, killing him instantly. The scene was witnessed by two boys, who remained by the body until the arrival of our cavalry, who were but three minutes behind when the event occurred, and hearing the report of the rifle hastened forward. These boys bear testimony to the calm courage with which Captain Dwight met his fate, under circumstances far more trying than those generally presented amidst the excitement of the battle-field.

He died with the same imperturbable bravery which had marked his life. His placid features, after death, retained the same expression which had been natural to him in life. They showed that, whatever are the horrors of an execution, this execution possessed no terrors to him.

The body, under the charge of his younger brother, Lieutenant Charles Dwight, was immediately taken to New Orleans and borne to his former residence, there to await the departure of a steamer which should transport it to his home in Massachusetts. A guard of men, detailed for the purpose from the Forty-seventh Massachusetts Volunteers, was placed around the house both day and night. [368]

The brother and immediate friends of the deceased wrapped the coffin in the American flag, and covered it with flowers. These arrangements being concluded, they left the apartment and retired for the night. When, the next morning, the afflicted brother again entered the room, a scene presented itself which showed that there were others, besides the immediate friends, who sought to pay their tribute of respect to the memory of this brave son of New England.

Members of the Union Association of Colored Women had visited the room early in the morning. They had brought white linen, with which they had covered the furniture of the room, and upon which they had sewed green leaves. They had filled the room and covered the coffin with the freshest and sweetest flowers, made into wreaths and bouquets. They had made the scene one upon which the eye rested with delight. Each morning this labor of love was repeated. Each morning the faded flowers of the previous day were removed, and those of fresh beauty and fragrance took their place.

Before Lieutenant Dwight left New Orleans, he attempted to express his thanks to those who had shown such tender care for him whom he mourned. He said to one of their number, ‘I want to thank you, but I know not how to express my thanks.’ ‘You owe us no thanks,’ was the reply; ‘who are your friends if we are not? All we ask of you is, that when you go home, you will tell the Northern people how we feel, and say to them that we want our husbands and our sons to be allowed to fight in this war.’

Captain Dwight was the object of enthusiastic regard in the Department of the Gulf, as he had been in the Army of the West. After his death, resolutions were passed by his brother officers, showing that in that relation he was hardly less valued than he was by the band of classmates who soon after met to give expression to their love and grief in terms sotender and affectionate, and so keenly appreciative of his worth, that they fell like balm upon the wounded hearts of his family.

General Banks, in a letter to the Rebel General Taylor, in relation to the murder of Captain Dwight, says of him:— [369]

Captain Dwight was one of the most upright and exemplary young men of his country. Never, in a single instance, in his short but brilliant career, had he failed to recognize what was due from a high-toned and brave officer. On our march to Opelousas, and while in occupation of that town, he exerted himself to the utmost to restrain lawless men from infringement upon the personal rights, or the appropriation to their own use of the property of citizens of that town, and contributed much to bring to the punishment of death men who had violated alike the laws of war and of property. His name and character were without blemish. The man does not live who can charge upon him the commission of a dishonorable act, or the omission of any duty imposed upon him by the laws of humanity or of honor. It is deeply to be regretted that such a man should lose his life under such circumstances; but it illustrates too strongly the conduct of the troops in that and other campaigns, to allow it to pass without permanent correction. And if the sacrifice of his life shall result in suppressing so flagrant an abuse of the rules of war, he will have achieved as great a good as other men accomplish in the longest life. His career will have closed with the evidence of his untiring efforts to restrain lawless men from the commission of crimes; and the sacrifice of his life will illustrate the open and flagrant disregard of these principles by the men in arms against his country.

His funeral, in New Orleans, was attended by some of the best and highest in the land. From old and young he had won affection and esteem. The church was thronged with those eager to pay him the last tribute of respect. At the request of a friend, classmate, and brother officer, his favorite hymn which he so often sang, ‘I would not live away,’ was given a place in the funeral services. When they were concluded, a large concourse of people followed the funeral procession to the steamship which was to convey his body to the North; and as the box containing it was about to be lowered into the hold of the vessel, flowers were strewn upon it by the hands of those who knew Howard Dwight only as he would most wish to be known, as a true patriot and soldier, ready, as he had more than once declared, to give his life for his country.


James Amory Perkins.

First Lieutenant 24th Mass. Vols. (Infantry), September 2, 1861; killed at Morris Island, S. C., August 26, 1863.

James Amory Perkins was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts, on the 9th of July, 1836. His father was William Perkins, a merchant in Boston. His mother was Catherine Callender, daughter of John Amory, Esq., of Dorchester. Both his parents survive him.

His youth was passed in Boston. At school he is remembered as having been at first an exceedingly quiet boy, in fact almost too studious and retiring; by degrees, however, becoming more social in his ways, and developing something of the humorous disposition which afterwards became so prominently characteristic of him. He was not a strong lad, and enjoyed little of that pleasure which comes from robust and exuberant health; but his powers of endurance, as shown in walking and boating, were excellent, especially for a boy of his apparent want of strength. His force of will could control the sense of fatigue, though it could not impart power to the muscles. At school he was always a hard worker, and a faithful, diligent, and accurate student. His powers of mind were excellent, and his standing was always among the first.

At the age of sixteen he made a voyage to England for the benefit of his health. At this time, although he had been for years pursuing the study of the classics, he had given up the idea of entering college, thinking that a more active life would agree better with his constitution. Accordingly, on his return from Europe, he went into his father's counting-room, but remained there only a short time. He found that he could not be satisfied without availing himself of the advantages of a liberal education, and therefore returned to school, and finally entered college in July, 1853.

His college life was very successful in every way. He [371] thoroughly enjoyed it. He was active and diligent in improving the opportunities afforded him of acquiring knowledge, and his abilities enabled him easily to take a high rank in scholarship. He naturally fell in with the literary tone of Cambridge, and his reading was thorough and extensive, chiefly in historical and in critical works. With all this, he was a genuine lover of the social life within the college walls, and no one was more sought after than he for the various societies and friendly clubs which constitute such a delightful part of the student's life. At the close of his course he had risen in rank to a very high place; he had read much, and to more purpose than almost any one else, and he had participated in the social life of college as much as those who had neglected their studies and literary culture.

On leaving Cambridge he made up his mind to devote himself to business. He left at once for Calcutta, to acquaint himself with the East India trade, with which his father's house was mainly concerned. There and in Bombay he remained about a year. He returned to his country by way of Europe, after travelling in Italy, Switzerland, France, and England, and reached home in June, 1859.

He at once settled down to business in his father's counting-room in Boston, and remained there, working faithfully and zealously, as was his wont, for two years, until the commencement of the war. He was surrounded by his old friends, classmates, and others, and his society was most eagerly and constantly sought. His literary tastes were always a source of enjoyment to him, and his mind was continually being enlarged and strengthened by sound and various reading.

On the breaking out of the Rebellion, he threw himself into the service of his country with all the strength of his character. Nothing could restrain him from going into the army. His health was far from being firm, but his power of will seemed equal to overcoming even this great obstacle. He sought for and obtained a commission of First Lieutenant in the Twenty-fourth Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers, which was then being raised by the late lamented General Thomas G. Stevenson. [372] His classmate and old friend, Captain (now Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel) J. Lewis Stackpole, commanded the company.

The Twenty-fourth Massachusetts was among the troops which constituted the force sent to North Carolina under General Burnside. The regiments destined for this command were sent at first to Annapolis in November, 1861, where they spent a short time in preparatory organization and brigade drill. The whole expedition set sail from Annapolis on the 9th of January, 1862, and arrived the next day at Fortress Monroe. After a short delay, the fleet, composed in great part of vessels by no means in a fit condition for such important service, left Old Point, and arrived off Hatteras Inlet on the morning of the 13th. Here began one of the most trying episodes of the war. The extreme danger to which the fleet, with its precious freight of eight or ten thousand men, was exposed in endeavoring to pass through Hatteras Inlet,—owing to ignorance of the channel and the too great draught of water of most of the transports,—the confusion and alarm on board the ships, the noble exertions of Burnside and Foster and other officers, and the wonderful passage of the straits at last, without serious loss, will long be remembered.

The first object attempted by the expedition was the capture of Roanoke Island, which was accomplished early in February. After some feints in the direction of Plymouth and Norfolk, General Burnside landed near the mouth of the Neuse, marched his troops within a short distance of the enemy's works, and on the 14th of March, after a short contest with musketry, in which our troops suffered more than the enemy, carried the lines by a brilliant assault, capturing many guns and prisoners. He advanced at once to Newbern, which place was evacuated, and became from this time to the close of the war the Headquarters of our forces in North Carolina.

The Twenty-fourth Massachusetts was stationed near Newbern all the summer and autumn of 1862, and saw no active service until November, when General Foster, who then commanded the department, made an expedition to Little Washington and [373] Plymouth. Lieutenant Perkins's health had been a good deal impaired by chills and fever; and after this march, which was wearisome, and followed by exhausting picket duty in the swamp country, he was obliged to go down to Beaufort to recruit. He had by no means, however, regained his strength when he rejoined his regiment to take part in the expedition to Kinston and Goldsborough, in December, 1862. Nothing but his indomitable pluck enabled him, in his debilitated condition, to stand the fatigues of this long march.

The Twenty-fourth left Newbern, with other portions of the Eighteenth Corps, for South Carolina, in January, 1863, when General Hunter undertook operations against Charleston in conjunction with the fleet under the late Admiral Dupont. The land forces, however, effected little, and the great naval contest of the 7th of April ended unsuccessfully for us. In June, General Gillmore relieved General Hunter, and soon afterwards he commenced the series of operations by which he captured Fort Wagner and silenced Fort Sumter. Folly Island was first seized, and then a landing effected on Morris Island, at the northern extremity of which was Fort Wagner. Some of Lieutenant Perkins's letters written at this time, besides giving an excellent picture of what was going on, show unconsciously how bravely he was bearing up against debility and sickness, and how faithfully he was doing his duty, in spite of all depressing influences.

They are banging away furiously on Folly Island. About five o'clock this morning the fire commenced, and it has been very heavy down to this time, seven A. M. Every regiment in the department, but two or three, is up there on Folly. Six companies only of the Twenty-fourth have gone. Four of us, unlucky ones, are left here in garrison by order of General Gillmore. He said they should be of the Twenty-fourth, and the Colonel, or General Stevenson, said that the four companies should be the four largest. . . . . The society I am in is very good here, but I am inexpressibly disgusted, of course. I hate to be separated from the regiment. I should like to be “in” for anything the regiment had to do, and I do abominate this kind of duty. We run as much risk, in a certain way, as our [374] friends on Folly. Four companies are no force to hold this island if the Rebels choose to try to take it; and our only way of keeping out of trouble is to humbug the rascals, and make them think we are all here still. The regiments all embarked and left in the night, the steamers not coming for them till after dark. When they left, they went towards the Head, and, in some cases, when the troops left here at too late an hour to land at Stono before daylight, they went all the way to the Head, landed on St. Helena, and at night embarked again, went up to Folly in the dark, and disembarked there before there was light enough for Secesh or anybody else to see them. So there is no chance of the Rebels having seen our men leave. And we keep the tents all standing, the bands playing, and drums beating at the usual hours; even the candles are lighted in the tents at dark, and put out punctually at taps. The part of our four companies consists in keeping up the old picket line, so that the Rebels may not miss us there. I am now picketing the ground which four companies used to occupy. Company C, down at the left, does the other half of the work. My pickets are nearly a mile off in some cases. They distribute themselves along the line of the old posts, show themselves at all the places where we used to have men, patrol where we have not force enough to put posts, and generally give the Secesh an impression that we are “round.” But there are only twenty-five or thirty men out where there used to be a hundred and fifty, and the support, namely, our company, is necessarily a long distance in the rear, and the main reserve (Companies E and F) is a long distance behind us, and behind that there is no infantry force except a parcel of cripples and invalids. There is a battery of artillery in the intrenchment in front of our camp, and, better still, there is the gunboat South Carolina. It is a very magnificent game of bluff that we are playing. I felt pretty nervous for the first two days, but since they commenced fire on Folly I feel a good deal easier in my mind. The Secesh pickets act just as they used to, out in the field in front. They come down and brandish their sabres from the house nearest our lines, innocent men that they are. But we have got to be careful, and particularly prompt in getting out of the way if they advance in force.

Morris Island, August 11.

At last I have another chance to write you. It happens to be decently cool at this moment, that is, one can sit still in his shirtsleeves, with the sides of the tent all raised, and not be in a perspiration. Moreover, the tent has been made comparatively decent by [375] the exertions of W—— and myself. Above all, I am neither on guard or fatigue, therefore I have a chance to write a little. . . . . I hope A——is strong again, since you say he is coming out. If he feels fresh and energetic, he will be of a great deal of use. Amongst a set of exhausted persons, such as we are, a fresh man would be a great help. All the life is out of us,—out of me, at any rate.

They work us very hard. Up every morning at half past 3. Every man on duty every other day at the least. Every officer nearly as badly off. Yesterday I was on guard. Two days before that I was down at the landing for thirteen hours and a half, working for the ordnance officer, landing shot and shell, hauling guns, &c. To-morrow night we go into the trenches .... The men don't gain much in strength, of course. I have got up as high as twenty-five privates for duty, with only thirty-three sick, all told. But there I have stuck for five days past. I can't go any higher. A man will go on duty, be immediately set to work, and fall sick again. So it is, only worse, in the other companies. The sun is too much for any one.

Morris Island, August 17.

The fight has begun. Our batteries opened this morning about six o'clock. There had been a good deal of firing, indeed, ever since twelve, but all the guns had not opened. About the same time the Ironsides moved in with the Montauk and another monitor, the Montauk leading, and going in very close. A little later the other four followed, all but the Nantucket. She is off somewhere. There are six wooden boats in there too, half a mile or so astern of the monitors. The Ironsides was completely covered with smoke for a long time after she first went in. Her broadside of eleven-inch guns was throwing out flashes of fire and clouds of smoke almost as fast as if it was a line of muskets.

. . . . The work lately has been tremendous. Nearly all our regiment was at work last night; every man was, the day and night before; and half of them the day before that. I was on duty night before last hauling up a hundred-pounder. The tide was high and we had to drag it through the deep sand; and it took us five hours to get it up. I suppose it is pounding away now.

. . . . The men are getting better in spite of the work. I don't see how it is, but our sick-list is six less this morning than it was yesterday. We are gaining very satisfactorily. There are not more than thirty sick altogether.


August 22.

I had to come down at noon the day we went into the trenches. I was pretty sick then, for me, and I barely managed to walk half the distance. I found an ambulance luckily which brought me the rest of the way. It is the first time since I have been in the service that I have not been able to walk. I got into the tent, took some medicine, had the sand washed off, and felt a good deal better. So it has been ever since. I feel pretty bright at times, especially in the morning; but a chill comes over me at noon, and I am good for nothing until next day. . . . . Our men are all sick again. We are down nearly as low as we were in the worst times. It is discouraging to be losing ground so, just as we seemed to be gaining so fast. The trouble is mostly chills.

There, I have written a very melancholy letter; but it could not be helped. The next time I write, no doubt everything will be much more cheerful.

It was the last letter the brave man ever wrote. Four days afterwards he fell at the post of duty.

‘On the afternoon of the 26th of August,’ writes a friend and brother officer, ‘three hundred men of his regiment were ordered to be in line in the foremost trenches, to charge and capture the advanced rifle-pits of the enemy. At this time Lieutenant Perkins, almost conquered by fever, had been prevailed upon to abstain from work for a few days; but now nothing could induce him not to rejoin his regiment. To use the words in which Brigadier-General Stevenson wrote, “My friend had been quite ill for two or three weeks and was off duty, but he insisted on going forward with the regiment, notwithstanding all the officers advised him to remain in camp. When the regiment was having extra ammunition issued to them before starting, I persuaded him to come to my tent and dine with me, which he did; and I begged him not to go to the front. He answered that he could not remain behind, he should be so uneasy during all the time the regiment was gone. Colonel Osborne at one time proposed to order him to remaim in camp, but did not, as James was so desirous of going.” The regiment charged. In a few moments they had gained the works of the enemy, captured seventy prisoners, and with their spades were throwing up a breastwork in the very front and teeth of the concentrated fire of Fort Wagner. Perkins's men were avoiding this tremendous cannonade by sometimes dodging; and the work was not so brisk as he wished it. “It is no use to dodge,” he said, “do as I do,” and stood upright [377] and firm. The words had hardly left his mouth when a ball struck him in the upper part of his arm and passed through his body. He fell, and never spoke again.’

His remains were brought to Boston immediately, and were buried at Mount Auburn on the 8th of September, 1863.

Lieutenant Perkins,’ writes a brother officer,

was especially distinguished for his undaunted and unwearied readiness to do more than his part of whatever was to be done. This did not spring from the physical vigor and restlessness which calls for constant work to do; though constant exercise had given him strength and endurance, it had not given him a vigorous constitution. It did not spring from the buoyancy and flow of animal spirits which underrates obstacles. He was naturally despondent; disposed to see what he thought were his own shortcomings, perhaps sometimes to overrate the difficulties that lay in his way. But this tendency, though it often marred his own comfort, never interfered with the cheerful performance of any duty . . . . . And so his friends knew that they could lean on him as one to be always trusted.

Rarely do we see a more robust character than that of James Amory Perkins. Able, untiring, conscientious, he conquered every difficulty in his path, and thoroughly discharged every duty he had to perform. His military service was enlivened by little of the ‘pomp and circumstance of glorious war.’ His was not a brilliant career, where rank and reputation give excitement. He entered the army, and he left it, with modest rank, and his duties were the simple, unexciting, and laborious cares of a company officer. He exchanged for this life all that wealth and friends and home could give him, and he never murmured at the sacrifice. His nature led him at times to be morbidly despondent in seasons of trial, but his high spirit never allowed him to falter on the road. He deserves the unusual honor of having conquered his own disposition in this respect, and of maintaining, in situations where everything around him assailed a nature apt to be depressed at all times, a lofty and cheerful courage; and this, too, when he was far away from home and friends, and enfeebled by bodily suffering.

By his classmates and friends his loss will always be most [378] deeply felt. His memory is fresh in the minds of all. His unwearied industry, his thorough scholarship, his extensive reading, his genial spirit, his playful humor, his unselfishness, his kindness, his modesty, his true manliness, his deep conscientiousness,—all this we shall never forget; and when we remember how, in the last two years of his life, his character shone out so brightly in endurance, bravery, and devotion to his country's service, we may well feel that in him we have lost a noble and heroic man.


George Whittemore, Jr.

Private 1st Co. Mass. Sharpshooters, August, 186; Corporal; Sergeant; killed at Antietam, Md., September 17, 1862.

this memoir can be but a brief sketch, yet it aims to give glimpses of a character of much harmony and strength, and a career of persistent fidelity; though the one shrank from publicity, and the other was undecorated with the badges of rank.

George Whittemore, Jr., son of George and Anna Whittemore, was born in Boston, December 19, 1837. He attended the public schools of that city, graduating from the Latin School, a medal scholar, in 1853. He immediately entered Harvard College, as a member of the Class of 1857. A few years before this his parents had removed to Gloucester, Massachusetts; and there, on the sea-shore and in the woods, during his vacations, were early developed his simple tastes and the manly physical habits which added vigor to a naturally strong constitution. As a boy he was usually gentle and quiet; but the earnest spirit under his calm exterior flashed into energetic and lively action whenever he was thoroughly roused by social enjoyment, or moved by invitations to daring adventure. The force of will, (never hardening into wilfulness,) which he exhibited at a later period, was not manifested in his childhood. Under kindly domestic influence, there was little to call out the innate strength of his nature.

At Cambridge he was a close student, ranking among the first twelve of his Class. He excelled as a classical scholar. As a writer, he took several prizes for English composition, and he was noted for his clear comprehension of abstruse metaphysical questions. He taught school during the winters of his Sophomore and Junior years at Gloucester, and in the winter of his Senior year at Northampton. He was fond of athletic exercises and expert as an oarsman. His devotion to his [380] books and his retiring manners prevented his forming many intimate acquaintances; but he was respected by all his associates and classmates for his fine intellectual and moral qualities.

On leaving college he was engaged as an assistant in the private classical school of Mr. E. S. Dixwell in Boston. Whilst occupying this position, and afterwards in the office of Messrs. J. J. Clarke and Lemuel Shaw, he studied law. He passed the usual examination and was admitted to the Suffolk Bar on the very day when he left home as a soldier. In the summer of 1860, to recruit his health, he went with a small party on an excursion which was to have been continued for several months in the Southwest. An unusual drought in that part of the country compelled him to give up the plan when only partially executed, and he returned alone on horseback, visiting the Adirondack regions on his way back.

The first years of his maturity found him a strong, well-balanced, self-contained man, able to bear and ready to help others bear all the shocks of life, with a rich, warm nature, but one expressing itself in deeds rather than in words,—full of tenderness and care for others, and quick of indignation against anything he felt to be unjust, inhuman, or wrong.

On the breaking out of the war, he joined a drill-club; but it was not until after the disastrous battle of Bull Run that he fully determined to enter the army. With him, to resolve was to act; and he enlisted as a private in the First Company of Sharpshooters from his native State, in August, 1861. He had no acquaintances in the company, and joined it against the remonstrances of his friends, who felt that he was equal to and ought to take a higher position. He was not afterwards wholly satisfied with the step he had taken; yet the considerations which decided his course were both characteristic and honorable, inasmuch as they prompted him simply to take the place in which he thought he could be the most useful. He was very near-sighted, and constantly used glasses; was an expert with the rifle, and capable of enduring fatigue; was doubtful of his military ability to act as an officer, and averse [381] to the restraints and routine of an infantry regiment. For these reasons, he preferred at first, believing that the contest would be short, the independence and the opportunities for individual enterprise he hoped to find in an unattached command, and in the use of the telescopic rifle.

What it meant for such a man to be a soldier in this way can easily be imagined. His prospect of a peaceful future had been bright. The cherished home of his childhood and youth held him in a loving embrace; and there was one to be left upon whom he had bestowed his strongest affections. All this was to be put in mortal peril, and yet he did not hesitate. He had everything to lose, nothing to win, as men usually count losing and winning. But the risk must be taken, the privation must be endured; thus he felt and thus he acted.

He was a faithful correspondent, writing constantly to his kindred and friends, most frequently to his father; for between his parents and himself the relation was one of strong and tender mutual regard and entire confidence. His letters tell where and how he served; what he became, or rather, how perfectly he continued to be himself during the twelve months spent amid scenes so strange and so distasteful in many respects to his whole nature. The following extracts need no comment, and are therefore given in one group.

near Washington, D. C., September 9, 1861.

You ask if I am satisfied. I am as well satisfied as when I first formed the resolution to go to the war, and the whole affair has the same aspect as then. I have only one wish, which I have had from the first, that the war may be ended as soon as possible (not by compromise), and that we may go home. Some things here are better, and some worse, than I expected . . . . Had a delightful bath yesterday morning. The creek, though not very wide, is deep in some parts, with high banks, covered with trees except where they open on a little meadow here and there. It reminds me of the North Branch of Concord River. Imagine one swimming up the North Branch. Would n'tit be the ne plus ultra of delightful bathing? I suppose the creek runs into the Potomac.

District Columbia, September to, 1861.

The day was intensely hot, and after waiting some time for [382] marching orders, we went off to the shade of the woods. I was patient and comfortable, lay down, took out “Korner,” and did not care if we stayed there all day. But we were not so fortunate.

camp near Edward's Ferry, September 29, 1861.

I am very well and strong, and need to be to endure the work we are doing now. Last night some of our company went out on picket. We lay out on the tow-path in our blankets and overcoats, and I slept soundly with my cartridge-box for a pillow. At two, shots were heard, and our line jumped up, thinking the enemy were crossing the river. As I did not find myself killed, nor hear that any one else was, I was disposed to lie still and wait for something more. But the alarm had been given, and every man must pack up his goods and be in marching order.

near Edward's Ferry, October 22.

I begin to realize the risks and sufferings of war. I cannot well reconcile myself to parting from all I love in the world, but those left behind suffer more. If there is any consolation in the next world, and I believe there is, I shall know it at once. However, I hope for the best, and do not think much about these things.

near Edward's Ferry, October 23, 1861.

It is dull, of course. It is not the life I should choose, even in pleasant weather, unless I was a colonel or general, in which case there might be some enjoyment in it; but as a private there is nothing to attract one who has such a home as I have. However, a man will not be miserable unless he has a very sensitive temperament, feels everything keenly, and broods over trouble. Now if I were constituted as you are, I could not endure this life a month; but as I am able to bear disagreeable things, and have a latent relish for a loafing life, I am not at all miserable.

near Edward's Ferry, October 28, 1861.
‘We have seen our first fighting. We went over the river on Monday. The colonel or general commanding showed us the position of the enemy, and told us “to go there and see what we could do.” .... Our company have done all the fighting at this place, with the exception of some shells thrown by the artillery. Our men both on Monday and Tuesday were put up close to the enemy, quite unsupported; and this, with their being without food for twenty-four hours and doing nearly all the fighting, has, I find, gained them some credit with everybody. Even General Gorman, who calls the guns great humbugs, gives credit to the men.’


November 10.

You thought, walking in those splendid autumn woods, it would be far preferable to die there than to die shut up in a sick-chamber with all the paraphernalia of sickness about you. Yes, I think so; but perhaps the idea as it presents itself to my mind, of a sudden, painless death in full activity, even in battle, is not so pleasant for you to think of. To me it seems the most desirable form in which to meet it.

camp Benton, November 20, 1861.

The principal discomfort here arises from the impossibility of being neat. I was never fastidious, but cannot reconcile myself to the estate of things here and to our crowded condition. We have eleven or twelve in tents which were made to hold eight. I shall break off, for the crowd of men and clatter of voices in this smoky tabernacle of ours seem to make the letter unfit to send to you, the pattern of fastidious neatness. I wonder if any of the smoke or other odors goes in the letter to Boston. I believe it can't be helped in the present state of things.

camp Benton, December 4, 1861.

Will——go into the army? If he does, I should advise him to get a commission. I have come to the conclusion that a man of ability and education is not only under no obligation to go into the ranks as a private, but that he ought not to. He thereby puts it out of his power to use his advantages. He has no opportunity to do any good proportioned to his ability. By looking about,—— may find a situation suited to him. In short, “every man in his place.” You will see I have come to this conclusion by reflecting on my own case. You must not infer from this that I am unhappy. I can wait patiently for the end of this dull life, and much of it I enjoy.

December 13, 1861.

Send something more to read or study as soon as you find from my accounts that the mails are tolerably reliable.

Cumberland, January 12, 1862.

I have had more pleasure and more hard work this week than in any month in camp. This is a mountain country, as you know, —the Alleghanies and the Blue Ridge. I like the mountain travelling; and to me it is easier than any other, there is so much pleasant scenery all the way. The air is fresher and more invigorating. There is plenty of water, and. the people are far more hospitable and intelligent than in the counties lower down on the river. [384] Climbing these mountains is not so hard as Kearsarge or Mount Washington.

Pawpaw, March 7, 1862.

It is one great satisfaction to me to reflect that you are not and cannot be here, or know anything of this life, and that in a few months (how long they seem!) shall know it only as a thing of the past. You speak of being plentifully supplied with pure air. I think I can surpass you at your own practice. On our return from Blooming Gap we slept on the ground in a thick snow-storm, and I was surprised to find myself not very cold. A good fire at one's feet is a comfortable thing at such a time.

near Yorktown, April 9, 1862.
On Monday our company was not called into play until late in the afternoon, when we came in front of the Rebel batteries in two squads, supported by two regiments. Only our squad fired, and that with only thirty or forty shots; but the Rebels answered with volleys that would have cut us up if we had not been protected by a small knoll. I posted myself behind a large tree near the top of the knoll, and received some credit for coolness, but it was the coolness of perfect safety. Some doubts arose in my mind when the first shell came. It burst over my head so near that I felt the hot air on my face and the presence of the gas in my ears, and it scattered the branches all around me; but I thought it would not happen twice in succession, and stayed where I was. The Colonel, having found out what he wished to, retired, and we with him. It was growing dark, began to rain hard, and the roads, under the tramp of so many men, were mere sloughs. We had the choice to lie down in the mud or sit up all night about the fire. I chose the latter, and with a rubber blanket and a good fire was pretty comfortable.

camp near Yorktown, April 13, 1862.

dear father,—I have received ten letters during the week. I cannot tell you how precious they are to me. The love and kindness in them all are enough to make one contented, if not happy, in far worse circumstances than mine. I wonder if I shall ever see you all again. I have very little fear of being killed, a great deal more of being sick; but I have not felt as though I were to die yet in either way. We are encamped, if the term may be used,—for we have no tents, and are sheltering ourselves in the cellar and outbuildings of a little farm-house, while the brigade are out in the fields and woods. Yesterday I spent the day with a dozen of our [385] men in the outskirts of the woods, within two hundred yards of the works. We lay concealed and very quiet, so as not to draw their fire; our orders being not to fire, unless they opened with cannon upon our troops elsewhere, in which case we were to shoot the gunners. As they did not fire excepting once, when they did no harm, we did not. The day was beautiful, the woods warm and pleasant, and I could not help enjoying it. How different the woods seem from what they have in former seasons. Now the sun shines warm as ever, the tops of the pine-trees whisper in the wind, and the dry leaves and pine needles are as luxurious to lie on; but grape-shot and shells may at any moment come cutting everything to pieces. We don't sit in a social circle as in our picnics at home, but each one takes a tree to himself; and, instead of wandering round in pleasant meditations, we creep on our hands and knees, and talk in whispers.

camp near Yorktown, April 21, 1862.

Quarter of a mile from the Rebels' first battery is a rising ground, where the ruins of a fine house stand. There is little left but three large chimneys and the brick foundations of the house. These ruins have been the scene of the sharpshooters' operations for a few days past, and I have been mostly there. So little shooting has been going on, that we have been able to make our arrangements almost as we pleased, and we established ourselves in a style of luxurious comfort quite unknown to privates. From the furniture lying around, two men took bureaus and set them up by a chimney to rest their guns on. Another found a thick tree that divided about five feet from the ground. He cut out the notch large enough for his gun, and put up a seat behind it, where he spied around very much at his ease. I took a position at the side of a chimney, with a black-walnut table in front, the leaf hanging down and making a tolerable protection from bullets, &c., at this distance; and to cover my head I set up two or three timbers, charred rafters, &c., the ends slanting up over my head, leaving a narrow port-hole for the gun. It happened to do me service. Towards night our batteries, stationed very near the chimneys, threw some shell into the works, while we kept our guns levelled at their embrasures. At last, after our cannon had sprinkled their shot and shell in various parts of the fort, an iron howitzer, on the battery nearest and just opposite to us, which not a man had approached all day, now, touched off by an unseen hand, threw a charge of grape or canister at us. It struck the ground a few yards before us, and scattered. Some of the balls struck my table, [386] knocked down one timber from before it, and scattered the nails, charcoal, &c., over the table. One ball glanced and struck a tub behind me. My companion behind the chimney wanted to know if I was “hit.” He seemed to think a ball that struck behind me must have gone through me. This iron howitzer is the one the negroes fired when the place became too hot for the chivalry.

near Yorktown, May 3, 1862.
There has been more or less firing about us all day. Just now it is perfectly quiet, though at intervals there comes back to us the music of a band in the Rebel camp. Only the song of birds, the hum of mosquitoes, and an occasional woodpecker breaks the stillness. A gun goes off now and then, but reminds me, in the quiet, of a sportsman's fowling-piece rather than of a soldier's rifle. It is past three o'clock, and the rifle-pit in which I am writing begins to afford a little shade. Now that the days are longer and we can sit out of doors, my interest in these German books increases. I wish—— would be looking about for something more, and send it out, if the mails continue regular, in about a fortnight.

Kent Court-House, Virginia, May 12, 1862.
Three letters from you of different dates have just arrived. The day has been quite hot and dusty, for the passing of so many men, horses, and wagons have worn the sod away already. But how different everything looks since I received these letters! It was merely hot and dull before, now it might have been ten times hotter and duller, and these letters would have made up for all. So it would have been if they had come to me as they should, one at a time. But coming all at once, they are a greater pleasure, especially as they are all in different tones. I have finished the French books, but not “Egmont” as yet. Have just received the “Parasite,” and hope to be able to hold on to it until I finish it. If we have no longer marches than we have had recently, I shall have no trouble.

Fair Oaks, June 12, 1862.
The Rebels continued throwing shell at intervals, and we had orders to go out and see if we could not silence the guns. Most of our available men had been sent in another direction; but we mustered a dozen or twenty, and went along the front of our picket lines for a good place to fire from. It was not easy to find, for the Rebel guns were protected by the nature of the ground; and that is perhaps the reason that they have been allowed to annoy us in this way with impunity. It seems, beside, to be the object not to bring [387] on an engagement at present. The artillerymen say they have orders not to fire. We found a place at last within sight of the Rebel batteries, but also within easy range of their grape and canister and sharpshooters. It was at some old ruins on a ridge in a wheat-field, their cannon and sharpshooters being in the woods on the farther side, three or four hundred yards off. It was very warm out there in the sun. The stock of one of the rifles was blistered by it, and the barrels were too hot to keep one's hands on. We relieved each other by turns at the old ruins, while the rest stayed in the edge of the woods. A swamp was near by, with quantities of magnolias.

June 15.

I have enjoyed the day very much, most in picking magnolias for half an hour. It was a perfect delight. They grow on slim trees thirty feet high, so slender I could bend them down by my weight, climbing up a few feet. The place was full of them, and every one had five or ten buds just at the right stage for picking, being half open. Many of the flowers are withered, many are in the green hard bud, and others all the way between.

Fair Oaks, June 19, 1862.
Our quiet life ended with May. On the 31st, we set out from the camp two miles the other side of the Chickahominy, crossed the river and swamp in water up to our knees, and stumbled on the enemy. Before a line of battle was fairly formed, the firing began, and our company, who have no place in a line of bayonets, and in the hurry of the moment had been assigned no station, was ordered to lie down. The shower of bullets fired over the heads of the line fell all about us, but only one of our men was hit. The fight here on Saturday night lasted not over an hour, but it was well after dark before it was decided. While it lasted it was furious, not broken for an instant, and at times swelling into a louder roar, like gusts of wind in a storm, as the Rebels charged up to one or another part of our line. The battle of Sunday was in the woods, and hidden from our view; but we saw the regiments as they filed in, saw the smoke, and the wounded and prisoners as they were brought out. Our division was not engaged, occupying the battlefield of the day before.

July 2.
Another hard day's fight and another hard night's march yesterday. The Rebels attacked at noon, and the engagement continued till long after dark. To-day we have rain, which perhaps prevents them from following. I begin now to long for one quiet day without [388] a battle. We have carried these rifles on our shoulders lately, and it is wearing the men down fast. [The telescopic rifles weighed from fifteen to fifty pounds.]

Whilst asleep in a barn, on one occasion, with men of his own and other companies, Whittemore's rifle was stolen from him. This happened a few days before the battle of Antietam; and at the commencement of that engagement he was unarmed, and at liberty to be a non-combatant. He was urged, if not actually ordered, to remain in the rear. This he could not do. He went coolly toward the front, looking for a weapon. An officer saw him take a gun from a fallen soldier and calmly load and fire until he was hit and instantly killed. This occurred in the woods adjoining the corn-field where Sedgwick's division met with its heavy losses. The next day, when the ground came into possession of the Federal army, his body was carefully and tenderly buried by his comrades, with a headboard inscribed, ‘Sergeant Whittemore.’ It was soon after removed to Mount Auburn. There it rests in a spot that was a favorite resort of his while in college. It is situated on the slope of Harvard Hill,—an enclosure endeared by family associations, and which he was careful to adorn and keep in order.

In view of his exceeding worth to others, and as we think of all he might have been had he remained with us longer, we cannot help feeling and saying, ‘George Whittemore died before his time.’ Yet it is only in this view, and only as we thus think, that we are allowed to deem his death premature. His life had already reached roundness and completeness; his spirit was already trained to follow in its further growth its own aspirations. The memory of that spirit remains with us still,—a reality without a shadow on its clearness. And yet, alas! there are those who will sometimes ask,

But who shall so forecast the years,
     And find in loss a gain to match?
Or reach a hand through time to catch
     The far-off interest of tears?

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