Sherlock Holmes Farewell To Good Luck Analysis

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Holmes responded right away. Even though he had not yet completed his last year of college, Holmes immediately signed up as a private in the Massachusetts militia. By April 25, he was in basic training at Fort Independence in Boston harbor. He had to stop going to his classes at Harvard, although he did take his final exams and graduate. Assigned to the Twentieth Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers, this scholar-warrior learned in July 1861 of his commission as a first lieutenant as he was walking on a Boston street carrying an open copy of Hobbes’s Leviathan he was reading. That snapshot — newly minted military officer with a classic book in his hand — captures the essence of Holmes at the time. He was simultaneously a soldier and a student. The scholarly, bookish, poetry-writing Holmes hardly seemed fated for military heroism. But fate would not have the reputation it does if it simply did what it seemed it would do.
He agreed to a three-year tour of duty. In August his regiment was mustered into Federal service as part of the Union Army, arriving in Washington in early September 1861 to join the Army of the Potomac. Holmes’s quick enlistment tells us much about Holmes at that age. Something significant prompted Holmes,
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Boston was a hotbed of radical abolitionism, the home of outspoken anti-slavery men like Charles Sumner, William Lloyd Garrison, Wendell Phillips, and Ralph Waldo Emerson. On one occasion Holmes even helped guard and protect Phillips and Emerson from an anti-abolition mob. Holmes’s mother was an ardent abolitionist, as was Holmes’s closest friend, Penrose Hallowell. To Holmes, having grown up in this atmosphere, slavery was an evil that had to be eradicated. He too was, at least in 1861, an abolitionist. The war was, as Holmes explained in a letter while still in uniform, “a crusade, in the cause of the whole civilized
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