This subject, like many of the periods of the Civil War, has been often described, and is familiar to the passing generation, but has, I believe, never before been placed upon your records, nor by an eye witness. Therefore, I venture to present it here.
The Twentieth Massachusetts Regiment of Volunteer Infantry, in which I had the honor to be a First Lieutenant and Adjutant, left Boston in the Autumn of 1861, for active service with the army. It was commanded by William Raymond Lee, as Colonel,—a West Point graduate. Paul J. Revere was the Major. It had been, before the date of the Ball's Bluff engagement, but a few weeks in the service, and was stationed first at Washington, where I remember calling with Colonel Lee, who knew them, upon General Scott, then commanding the Armies of the United States, and upon General McClellan, then Commander of the Army of the Potomac.
The men of the Regiment, like all of the troops in the East at that time, were untrained by battle, never having heard the sound of a hostile bullet, and were of no more value as soldiers than were the Militia Regiments.