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“ [470] in what were considered as the best schools, under Vere, in the Netherland's, and Gustavous Adolphus, in Germany, displayed far less skill than those commanders who had been born to peaceful employments, and never saw even a skirmish until the civil war broke out. Cromwell never fought a battle without gaining a victory; he never gained a victory without annihilating the force opposed to him.” . . . “In what respect does Cromwell, who never drew a sword till upwards of forty, yield to any of these famous commanders? And how immeasurably superior to them all is he as an improver of victory?”

I would not by this disparage military education. I would not, if I could, disturb a single leaf in the laurel crowns which decorate so justly the heads of those whom nature and education have combined to make great generals. I do not concur in the sentiment so often expressed, that “the Confederacy died of West Point” ; but I do believe that many a brilliant citizen soldier was neglected, and his usefulness paralyzed, if not destroyed, by the West Point influence which barred the doors to promotion. General Joseph E. Johnston, considered by many the first of Confederate generals, has said, “if Forrest had been an educated soldier no other Confederate general would have been heard of,” and yet the treatment of Forrest furnishes a striking example of what I have said.


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