that came up was that question of relative rank; for our troops had ‘met’ and were then ‘doing duty together,’ in the language of the old article of war. But the subject was quickly dismissed with the remark, made almost simultaneously by both, that such a question could not possibly cause any difficulty between us. Mc-Pherson had the senior commission of major-general, and I the senior assignment as army commander.
Perhaps it would have puzzled even Halleck
to frame a satisfactory decision in that peculiar case.
I had long before determined what my decision would be if that question ever became a practical one between McPherson
and myself on the field of battle.
I would have said, in substance at least: ‘Mac
, just tell me what you want me to do.’
As we sat together that day, McPherson
confided to me the secret of his marriage engagement, for the purpose, as he stated, of inquiring whether, in my opinion, he could before long find a chance to go home and get married.
I told him I thought that after the capture of Altanta operations would be suspended long enough for that.
But my dear and noble friend was killed in the next great battle.
had fallen I went home, as McPherson
would doubtless have done if he had lived; but our common friend and classmate Hood cut the visit so short that there would have been little time for marriage festivities.
, among other high qualities, was one of the most generous men I ever knew.
He was remarkably skilful in topographical drawing, etching, lettering, and all other uses of the pen. Although at the head of the class and a most conscientious student whose time was very valuable to himself, he would spend a very large part of that precious time in ‘lettering’ problems for classmates who needed such help.
For this reason and others he was, by common consent of all the classes, the most popular man in the corps.
I could not compete