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[109] promote his intelligence and efficiency as an officer. The friend to whom I am indebted for so much that is interesting in this sketch says: “By study and continued practice he made himself one of the best artillery officers in the service, and his company also became one of the most thoroughly drilled and efficient in the army. Here, again, his power in controlling men was strikingly exhibited. Strict in discipline and in every requirement of duty, he was just and impartial, sedulous to supply all the wants of his men, furnishing them, when necessary, with shoes and clothing from his own purse, nursing them personally when sick— kind and affable at all times. He set the example of duty himself and required all to come up to the standard.” He soon gained the confidence and affection of his men. He made them feel that he relied upon them, and that they might depend upon him.

Captain Dance, of Powhatan, was preparing a company at the same time and place for the field, and was consequently thrown into close intercourse with Captain Coleman. He says: “I was struck, upon my first acquaintance with him, with his genial temperament and fine social qualities, rendering him at all times a most agreeable companion; but I soon learned to admire still more his untiring energy, perseverance and industry, as exhibited in his endeavors to equip and drill his company, and perfect himself and them in the necessary knowledge of tactics and military science. The first attempts at drilling his company excited a smile among those who had longer experience; but in a very short time his company was well drilled. His was a spirit never satisfied with mediocrity. Whatever he undertook he desired to do well and he always succeeded. Although his company was mustered in after mine,” continues Captain Dance, “yet he succeeded in getting all ready and starting before me.”

In this relation, too, he manifested an earnest, practical Christian spirit. He provided, so far as possible, for the religious instruction and culture of his men. Upon every suitable opportunity he solicited ministers of the Gospel to preach for them. He conversed with them personally concerning their need of piety toward God, and trust in Him as a preparation for the trials of life and for death.

Regularly, when the bugle sounded the reveille in early dawning, and the tattoo in the evening, he was among the first

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W. J. Dance (2)
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