“At the time of my entry into the service, the war had been in progress about a year and a quarter,” wrote John Haley, then a 22-year-old resident of Saco, Maine.
“In 1861 I concluded I had a duty to perform, but hesitated about embarking on this troubled sea. I feared I lacked those qualities which soldiers so much need. And so that year passed and still the matter stood status quo.”
But Federal setbacks at the gates of Richmond in June and July 1862 shook up that status quo. Northern governors urged Lincoln to call up more troops—a rallying cry cleverly engineered by Secretary of State William Seward—and on July 6, Lincoln obliged, asking the states for another 300,000 men.
“During the summer of 1862 the North at last removed its gloves,” Haley wrote. “The drowsy lion must have time to collect itself.”
Haley, too, had needed to collect himself, and now, quite suddenly and unexpectedly, his time had come. Continue reading