mastered what it was necessary to learn.
He was faithful co all his duties, and to the details of military life, though by no means placing too high an estimate upon the strict observance of such matters.
His ambition was to perform his duties, and to acquire the knowledge for which he was sent to the Academy, and not to make a show either as a brilliant scholar or a punctilious martinet.
His characteristic persistency was illustrated at West Point
not only by his application to studies, but by his playing the game of chess, of which he was fond.
When he found a player who was at first more than a match for him, he persisted in playing till he “tired out” his antagonist, and at last beat him.
During the war of the rebellion West Point
has abundantly proved that the most brilliant scholars do not make the ablest generals, and that great attainments in science, though they may produce skilful engineers, do not always lead to successful operations in the field, either in the way of strategy or the handling of troops.
At the same time it has proved that the knowledge and training acquired there are not to be depreciated, but afford the surest basis for military success, and that those who attain only to a medium rank as cadets, if they profit by what they learn, may in war achieve great things for the country, and earn a wider and more enduring fame than that of brilliant scholars or accomplished engineers.
Before the war, and for a long time after it commenced, old army officers and boards of examiners could not comprehend this; and it was vainly imagined that high scholars must make brilliant generals, and that able engineers