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[276] is in tactics. A successful strategist has a broader field for the employment of his military qualities. General Hampton appeared possessed of almost an instinctive topographical talent. He could take in the strong strategic points in the field of his operations with an accuracy of judgment that was surprising to his comrades. It was not necessary for him to study Jomini, Napoleon's “Campaigns,” and other high authorities in the art of war. He was a law unto himself on such matters. According to the rules laid down in the books, he would do the most unmilitary things. He would hunt his antagonist as he would hunt big game in the forest. The celerity and audacity of his movements against the front, sometimes on the flank, then again in the rear, kept his enemies in a constant state of uncertainty and anxiety as to where and when they might expect him. With his wonderful powers of physical endurance, his alert, vigilant mind, his matchless horsemanship, no obstacles seemed to baffle his audacity or thwart his purpose.


General Wesley Merritt1

Merritt was graduated in the class of 1860 at the Military Academy. He was twenty-four years of age. In scholarship he was rated at the middle of his class, and in the other soldierly qualities he was near the head. . . .

At the battle of the Opequon (Winchester), on September 19th, his division gave the most effective instance in a hundred years of war, of the use of a cavalry division in a pitched battle. He rode over Breckinridge's infantry and Fitzhugh Lee's cavalry and effectually broke the Confederate left. At this time Sheridan wrote to a friend, “I claim nothing for myself; my boys Merritt and Custer did it all.” . . .

On the disastrous morning of October 19th, at Cedar

1 General Wesley Merritt. By Lieutenant-Colonel Eben swift, Eighth cavalry. From the (March, 1911) Journal of the United States cavalry Association.

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