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[451]

Richmond, Virginia, July 5, 1869.
My Dear Sir: . . . I first noticed Louis in a shady retreat from the camp at Chaffin, in the year 1862, reading his Bible to a comrade in the woods. His quiet, earnest manner in his pious work struck me. I had before noticed him passingly, as your son, for your sake; but now that I saw his character, I began to notice him for his sake and mine too. I found that he had an exemplary influence with all the young men of his company. He could keep them orderly and obedient and on duty, while his officers could not. I soon found him not only moral, but intellectual; not merely gifted with animal, but with the highest Christian courage. Humble, unpretending, modest in his demeanor, he was too high to do wrong himself, and too firm to be tempted or misled by others. These qualities caused me in 1863 to make him chief clerk of the adjutant-general's office of my staff He thus was drawn near and made intimate with me. His whole life and conduct were those of duty to God and his command in the army. His company did never so well as when he was with it. He was the fittest man in it for its captaincy, and repeatedly urged me to send him back to the ranks. For months I could not spare him. When I left Headquarters of camp I took him with me. He was a daily example of goodness and usefulness, and I never knew him to blunder, even, much less be guilty of a fault. His companionship as a Christian was a blessing to me. He never obtruded a homily, yet his soft, meek, deprecatory look would often allay a passion or stay a profane word. He was as quick as lightning to perceive, yet so conscientious that he never assumed to act without full intelligence of what he was to do. I could trust him as well absent as present, and he never failed me.

At last he could not be withheld longer from his company, and especially after being promoted to the post of honor—colorbearer of his regiment, with rank of lieutenant. He fell at that post, flag in hand, on the 17th of June, 1864, gloriously, while his regiment was forced back and his gallant major, Hill, lost an arm in saving his person and his flag from the enemy. He lingered feebly in the hospital until his colonel took him to his house in Goochland, where he was fondly nursed as by a father and mother. Alas! he was too feeble when struck to recover from the blow. A brighter, braver, better soul never took flight from earth to heaven, from time to eternity. I would write on the tablet of his tomb:


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