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Creek, Merritt's division blocked the way of Gordon's victorious Confederates, held its position north of Middletown all day, without assistance, then charged and, crossing the stream below the bridge, joined Custer in the pursuit to Fisher's Hill. In that campaign Merritt's division captured fourteen battle-flags, twenty-nine pieces of artillery, and more than three thousand prisoners. . . .

Merritt at his high prime was the embodiment of force. He was one of those rare men whose faculties are sharpened and whose view is cleared on the battlefield. His decisions were delivered with the rapidity of thought and were as clear as if they had been studied for weeks. He always said that he never found that his first judgment gained by time and reflection. In him a fiery soul was held in thrall to will. Never disturbed by doubt, or moved by fear, neither circumspect nor rash, he never missed an opportunity or made a mistake.

These were the qualities that recommended him to the confidence of that commander whose ideals were higher and more exacting than any other in our history. To his troops he was always a leader who commanded their confidence by his brave appearance, and his calmness in action, while his constant thoughtfulness and care inspired a devotion that was felt for few leaders of his rank.

General Nathan Bedford Forrest1

When the war broke out, Forrest was in the prime of his mental and physical powers. Over six feet in stature, of powerful frame, and of great activity and daring, with a personal prowess proved in many fierce encounters, he was a king among the bravest men of his time and country. He was among the first to volunteer when war broke out, and it was a matter of

1 recollections of a Virginian in the Mexican, Indian, and Civil wars. By General Dabney Herndon Maury. (New York) Charles Scribner's sons, 1894.

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