’ at all in the lettering business, but I tried to follow his good example, in my own way, by helping the boys over knotty points in ‘math’ and ‘phil.’
I had taught district school one winter before going to West Point
, and hence had acquired the knack of explaining things.
was not well up in mathematics.
The first part of the course especially he found very hard—so much so that he became discouraged.
After the unauthorized festivities of Christmas
, particularly, he seemed much depressed.
On the 26th he asked me which I would prefer to be, ‘an officer of the army or a farmer in Kentucky
I replied in a way which aroused his ambition to accomplish what he had set out to do in coming to West Point
, without regard to preference between farming and soldiering.
He went to work in good earnest, and passed the January examination, though by a very narrow margin.
From that time on he did not seem to have so much difficulty.
When we were fighting each other so desperately, fifteen years later, I wondered whether Hood
remembered the encouragement I had given him to become a soldier, and came very near thinking once or twice that perhaps I had made a mistake.
But I do not believe that public enmity ever diminished my personal regard for my old friend and classmate.
In thinking of McPherson
, I recall an interesting incident connected with Frank P. Blair, Jr.
's arrival with his corps about June 9, referred to by General Sherman
II, page 24). For some reason we had an afternoon's rest the day after Blair
arrived; so I rode over to his camp—seven or eight miles, perhaps—to greet my old friend.
, to whose Army Blair
's corps belonged, and other officers were there.
To our immense surprise, Blair
had brought along great hogsheads of ice and numerous baskets of champagne, as if to increase the warmth of our welcome.
Of course we did not disdain