An Unconscious hero.--The notice, by the dailies, that Gen. Hooker
desired to appoint George W. Smalley
, of the Tribune
, on his staff, as an acknowledgement of the great merit of his report of the battle of Antietam
, reminds us of a personal interview we bad with General Hooker
, which, in justice to Hooker
and to Mr. Smalley
, we feel it to be our duty to recite.
The General was laid up with his wound, but on the occasion referred to, he was well enough to be bolstered in a chair, and was engaged in writing a letter.
Our conversation soon turned to the battle of Antietam
, when he referred, with considerable enthusiasm, to what he characterized as the wonderful account of the battle given by the reporter for the Tribune
. “It was,” said he, “a perfect reproduction of the scene and all its incidents; and it is a marvel to me how you writers can perform such tasks.”
I asked the General
if he knew who the reporter of the Tribune
was. “I saw him first upon the battle-field,” was his reply.
“I first noticed him when we were in the hottest portion of the fight, early in the morning.
My attention was then attracted to a civilian, who sat upon his horse, in advance of my whole staff; and though he was in the hottest of the fire, and the shot and shell were striking and sputtering around us like so much hail, he sat gazing on the strife as steady and as undisturbed as if he were in a quiet theatre, looking at a scene upon the stage.
In all the experience which I have had of war, I never saw the most experienced and veteran soldier exhibit more tranquil fortitude and unshaken valor than was exhibited by that young man. I was concerned at the needless risk which he invited, and told one of my aids to order him in our rear.
Presently, all my aids had left me, on one service and another; whereupon, turning to give an order, I found no one but this young stranger at my side.
I then asked him if he would oblige me by bearing a despatch to Gen. McClellan
, and by acting as my aid, until some of my staff should come up. He rode off with alacrity, through a most exposed position, returned with the answer, and served me as an aid through the remain der of the fight, till I was carried from the ground.”
“And his name, General?”
“He was a young man, recently from college, named George W. Smalley
, and I am writing to him now!”
Those who know the noble nature of Gen. Hooker
, will therefore wonder but little that one of his first acts, when placed in chief command of the army of the Potomac, was to ask to have George W. Smalley
placed upon his staff.
The writer of this has never seen George W. Smalley
, but he deems it a simple act of justice to relate this interview.--Wilkes' Spirit of the Times