Teenager's Story of Soldier's Life in Civil War

In the spring of 1860, I, a lad of 15, moved with my parents from South Lancaster, Massachusetts to Brownville, New York, where my father had bought a cotton mill.

How well I remember that day in 1861, when news flashed across the country that Fort Sumter had been attacked. It was one of my duties, after doing the household chores and taking care of the horse, to run the mail and newspaper down to my father at the factory.

Father was talking to one of his overseers when I handed him the Utica Herald. After glancing at the front page, his face became set—lips drawn tight as he read. All at once, he stopped, grabbed the Herald in one hand, and doubling up the other, shouted as he struck the paper, “Damn them! The rebels have fired on Fort Sumter!”

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