trait, it may be said, with soldiers; but Stuart
evidently possessed the additional merit of being able to think
with entire calmness, while the air around him was full of bullets, and shells were bursting over and around him. In a cavalry charge, however, the thinker
disappeared, and he became the actor
. He went in front of his men, at a gallop, with immense joy, ardor and elan
. His face glowed, he was full of laughter, and often roared out, in his gay, sonorous voice, some one of his favorite ballads.
This eccentric habit attracted the attention of Jackson
's men at Chancellorsville-men habituated to the gravity and prayers of their wounded leader.
's Corps against General Hooker
's intrenchments, with drawn sabre and floating plume, singing “Old Joe Hooker
, will you come out of the Wilderness
He had the genius to understand what an enemy ought to, and probably would do — in proof of which I remember that he said to me, in the winter of 1862: “The next battle will be near Chancellorsville
,” where it accordingly took place, nearly six months afterward; but he was as great as an executive officer as in council, if not greater.
I am sure that he loved fighting in person, from the ardor of his blood, his high health, and natural excitability and impetuosity.
He would certainly have made an excellent private, and told me, when there was some question of virtually superseding him, that, if they did so, he would enlist.
The War Office might deprive him of his commission, he said, or force him to resign; but there was one thing they could not do-prevent him from going into the ranks with his sabre as a private of the Confederate States
army, which, he added, he certainly should do. I am certain that he would have followed this course at once, and not in the least from any feeling of “spite.”
He produced upon me the impression of being more thoroughly and completely devoted
to the cause in which he was fighting than any other person, without exception, with whom I was thrown during the war. His faith in the justice of the struggle was absolute, and he never, to my knowledge, had one moment's doubt as to the result of the war. His words and actions invariably indicated the most unswerving conviction that the South
was fighting in the holiest of causes, and must achieve her independence.
His duty, therefore, was plain.
He would do his best, count his life as nothing, and stand or fall as heaven decreed.
He said to me: “I never expect to come out of this war alive ;” and though he was undoubtedly ambitious, immensely so even, and void of glory, he ought to have credit for the nobler motive-love of the cause, and devotion to it, even to the death.