but by the regimental histories themselves.
I know that when I first read Tolstoi
's War and Peace, The Cossacks and Sevastopol
, it seemed as if all other so-called military novels must become at once superannuated and go out of print.
All others assumed, in comparison, that bandbox aspect which may be seen in most military or naval pictures; as in the well-known engraving of the death of Nelson
, where the hero is sinking on the deck in perfect toilette, at the height of a bloody conflict, while every soldier or sailor is grouped around him, each in heroic attitude and spotless garments.
It is this Tolstoi
quality — the real tumult and tatters of the thing itself-which amazes the reader of Crane
had been through it all in person; whereas this author is a youth of twenty-four, it seems, born since the very last shot fired in the Civil War
. How did he hit upon his point of view?
Yet this very point of view, strange to say, has been called a defect.
Remember that he is telling the tale, not of a commanding general, but of a common soldier — a pawn in the game; a man who sees only what is going on immediately around him, and, for the most