Wednesday, August 06, 2014
Charles Devens Jr.
Charles Devens was born in Charlestown, Mass., April 4, 1820. He attended the Boston Latin School. He was graduated at Harvard College in 1838. Two years later he was admitted to the bar. He practiced as a lawyer, first in Northfield and later in Greenfield. He was state senator in 1848 and 1849. He was United States marshal from 1848 to 1853. He was called upon in this office to assist in the execution of the fugitive slave law under circumstances which left him no alternative, but the generosity with which he offered to give the purchase money of the slave whom he had been under legal obligations to return to his master, called forth the admiration even of the most ardent Abolitionists. He opened a law office in Worcester in 1854. In December, 1856, he became the law partner of George F. Hoar and J. Henry Hill. He was city solicitor 1856-8.
Monday, April 15, 1861, when Lincoln's call for seventy-five thousand volunteers reached Worcester, he left unfinished a trial in which he was engaged, hurried away, and offered his services to the government. He became major of the Third Battalion Rifles Massachusetts Volunteers, a
three months' organization. April 20, he went to the South, and was stationed at Annapolis and Fort McHenry. He was appointed to the command of the Fifteenth Regiment, July 15.
He was in the prime of life. He brought to the position a lofty patriotism and an ambition for military glory derived from ancestors who had served the country in the Revolution and the War of i8i2; a great heart, responsive no less to the call of the humble soldier than to the demands of country and humanity; an intellect, powerful by nature and developed by the broadest culture and a wide range of practical experience. As he represented all that was noblest in the traditional character of New England, he was well fitted to become the leader of its most representative regiment.