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“ [669] Christian ministry as the noblest work in which any human being can engage.” He never touched spirits in any form during his whole life, having promised his mother, he told me, that he would not; did not use tobacco even; never uttered anything approaching an oath, or touched cards, or indulged in any one of the vices supposed to be habitual with soldiers. In spite of all, however, those who hated or envied him, called him a drunkard and a libertine.

Stuart naturally attracted most attention in his military character, and I am satisfied that, as time passes on, and the circumstances of the late struggle are better known, his reputation as a soldier will steadily increase. His youth, gayety, and apparent thoughtlessness, his song-singing, his rattling banjo-all were against him in the estimation of grave people in black coats, who could not or would not believe that this “mere boy” was by birth a soldier-even a great one. Successful soldiership requires a peculiar organization, Which. is neither that of the statesman, the orator, the writer, and the thinker. What is demanded is the genius of the man born to lead, direct, and act-often on sudden emergency, and as though from instinct. Stuart was, by nature, intended to lead and command men. He took his place at the head of troops as by right, and his followers felt that he was entitled to lead them, without sharing in that unthinking admiration which he generally aroused. I had the conviction forced upon me, after observing him in his earliest campaigns, that he was a thorough soldier. He had the instinctive power of penetrating his enemy's design, an eye consummate in the choice of ground for fighting on, with cavalry, infantry, or artillery; and, while reckless, apparently, in attacking, knew well when he ought to retreat. The success of his retreats, indeed, from positions of the most hazardous character, will probably remain his greatest claim to good soldiership-at least they so impressed me while closely observing how they were accomplished on many occasions in Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.

His personal bearing on the field was peculiar. He was rarely excited by anything, though he exhibited all the ardor of a young soldier while actually fighting, and often crossed swords like a common sabieur. As frequently, however, he remained quiet, appearing to be indulging in reflection. In very dangerous and critical situations I have seen him throw his leg over the pommel of the saddle, drum upon his knee carelessly, and then give his orders so quietly that it was difficult to believe that it was “touch and go” whether he would extricate his command, or be cut to pieces. Any question of his personal fate obviously never entered his mind — a common

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J. E. B. Stuart (2)
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