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 train of reflections: “I shall be frightened of course. At what? Why, at the danger to which my life is exposed. Well, now, what is really the extent of the danger? In the most sanguinary battle, not one fifth of the combatants are killed or wounded. The chances are, therefore, five to one that I shall not be hurt. The proportion of the slightly and recoverably wounded is to the killed and mortally wounded as five is to one. The chances are, therefore, five to one, that if touched at all, I shall not be mortally wounded. The cannon are the common engines which unnerve men. Now, of the whole number of killed in battle, not more than one in one hundred are killed by cannon.1 A hundred to one, therefore, that those noisy bellowers do not hurt me. The alternative is presented to me to stand my ground in spite of my fears, or to run. Now, in which is the most danger? Why, surely in running; for, as a general rule, of a given number, more men are killed in flight than in fight. While I stand my ground, I am all the time destroying, weakening, and disheartening the enemy, and encouraging my companions in arms. Victory, therefore, is likely to insure my safety. But in running, I may be killed by the very men whom I would have disabled had I stood firm. I weaken our forces, throw the battle upon a reduced number, expose them to increased labors and losses, become then an object of their hatred and contempt, dispirit them and invigorate the foe, not only for this battle, but for all future battles. The regulars show that battles lose their terrors when we become used to them; how am I ever to become used to them by running? If I save my life by it, I increase the danger of being made prisoner a hundred-fold. Fear or no fear, then, I will fight as long as the regulars fight.” Now, in all this, I put love of country, Yankee insolence, and brutality entirely out of the question; for with panic-stricken troops, carrying in their bosoms no antidote for their fears or moral remedy for their natural defects, these considerations are utterly worthless, as has been most lamentably proven in our last great battle. The remedy is found in the foregoing train of reflections. They cannot make brave men of cowards; they cannot prevent fears on the battle-field; but they surely ought to make the coward and the timid fight manfully in spite of their infirmities. Officers should impress them on the minds of their new recruits; and as such men fight well under a general in whom they have confidence, they should always, if practicable, be attached to the brigade, division or corps in whose generals they have the most confidence. Lord Wellington is reported to have said that by nature he was a great coward, but that his pride of character, self-respect, and love of country predominated over his fears. The consequence was, that he became the hero of heroes. I see no reason why every soldier in the confederate army might not become a hero upon the same principle. I am aware of the military dogma that men, to become good soldiers, must first become mere machines. If this be true, then it were better for us (policy aside) to make up our armies of stout, able-bodied negroes, inured to toil, than of their high-minded, chivalrous, but more feeble masters. At the opening of the war, our armies were composed mainly of troops of the latter class — men of science, men of wealth, men of the learned professions, Congressmen, legislators, professors, and students — all accustomed to a life of comparative ease. There was little drilling of them, or time for drilling them, before they were engaged in a series of battles. The conscript laws filled our ranks with men from all grades of society, and of all descriptions of character — in the main, hardworking strong-muscled, able-bodied men, accustomed to hard living and constant fatigue. They have been long in the machine factory, long enough to have every attribute of humanity drilled out of them. Has this class proved themselves to be better soldiers than the other? Have they fought better? Have they gained any more victories? Have they endured any more hardships, and with more patience? Let the advocates of machinery answer these questions. The dogma which I have been considering is not only false, but is in the highest degree mischievous. If scientific war be but a conflict of machines, it necessarily follows that the power which has the greatest number of machines must in the end be victorious. How is it possible for nine millions of population--six, we may say — to bring into the field as many men as can twenty-three millions? And yet we seem to be trying the hopeless experiment. Every body is to be called to arms. In reason's name, I ask, Why? We have plenty of men enrolled to whip all the Yankees in the field at this time, if our men will but fight as they did at the beginning of the war! Did we lose the battle of Mission Ridge from want of men? No, but from derangement of our machinery. And why should that defeat run us all crazy? I see nothing alarming in it. One of the bitter fruits of the dogma in question is that officers who subscribe to it will take no pains to inspire their men with courage, self-confidence, and high-toned patriotism, but will treat them pretty much as they would so many prize-fighters. Away with the false, demoralizing dogma! Soldiers, you are moral agents; do for yourselves, then, what I would do for you, if I could. Nerve yourselves up by your own mental energies to deeds of noble daring and unflinching valor, though your enemy be three to your one. chapter II: My first chapter was addressed to raw recruits. It was not designed to dissipate their fears in battle, for no counsel can do this; but to teach them to be good soldiers in spite of their fears — to show them that if they will consult their own personal safety, they will fight in fear rather than run from fear. I now address the soldiers generally.
1 I state this upon the authority of a brigadier-general of many battles, who has turned his attention to this matter on the field.
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