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[364] My absolute confidence in my chief left no room in my mind for even such thoughts as those. It was not until wounds had produced discouragement in the bravest soul I ever knew that I was aroused to some sense of my own responsibility as his senior staff officer, and spontaneously said: ‘No, general; let us try it again.’ I was so much absorbed in the battle itself at that time, and even after Lyon's death, that it did not occur to me that wounds and death, even of the commanding general himself, were of any consequence except as they might influence the progress and final result of the battle. This is the feeling that must dominate the action of every successful commander. It is remarkable only because of its early development in one not then under any such responsibility.

It may not be a proper subject for criticism at this time, and certainly is not for any that might seem harsh or unkind, yet it is an instructive lesson which ought never to be forgotten, that feeling and passion sometimes more than reason, sound military principles, or wise statesmanship, dictated military as well as political policy during and long after the Civil War.

No doubt all are now ready to admit this in respect to the political measures which wrought so much evil in the South during the so-called reconstruction period. But those who are not familiar with the facts will, I think, be amazed when they see the evidences of this influence in military operations, and perhaps at no time more strikingly than during the last period of the Civil War. It would seem that the official correspondence of that period ought to be a sufficient warning to deter any future generation from bringing the country into a condition where even some of the most distinguished citizens, statesmen, and soldiers seem to be governed more by passion than by reason in the conduct of public affairs. The inevitable horrors of war are bad enough in any

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Nathaniel Lyon (1)
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