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[32] or how far we were right or wrong — been taken into consideration. Such an inquiry has now become as obsolete as would be a discussion of the moral judgment to be passed upon the conspirators who took the life of Julius Caesar. But no candid person, whatever he may think of the merits of the contest, can deny that the conduct of the war and its results reflected the highest honor upon the courage of the American army, both regulars and volunteers, as well as upon the skill and accomplishments of our officers. Not that there were not grave errors committed, both at Washington and in the field; not that the volunteers did not sometimes show the infirmities of raw troops; but these shadows in the picture were as nothing to its lights. The whole campaign was especially remarkable for the brilliant, dashing, and reckless courage displayed in it,--for that quality which the French call élan, which is so captivating to civilians, and for the want of which so much fault has been found with our officers and soldiers in the present civil war. But the tactics in the Mexican War were founded upon and regulated by an accurate knowledge of the enemy; and the distinguished and veteran soldier who led our armies in that campaign would never have taken the risks he did had the Mexican soldiers been like those in the Southern army, and the Mexican officers men like Lee, Johnston, Jackson, and Beauregard.

The public mind judges of military movements and of battles by the event: the plan that fails is a bad plan, and the successful general is the great

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