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[31] for short intervals, eight thousand men. This is the spirit of a true officer; this the training of a real soldier.

The absence of this training was the great obstacle against which Dix, Banks and Butler had to contend; Dix less than the others, because he had gone through an early military education, though with more than thirty years of civil life intervening, and also because he was not called upon to command an army corps. All three were men of distinguished ability; all showed this quality wherever mere personal energy and organizing talent were needed. All were, for instance, successful rulers of cities, even in war time,—Dix at New York, Banks at Washington and Butler at New Orleans; and it can never be quite known, of course, what purely military eminence they might have obtained had they begun lower down in the school.

The gradual publication of the official records of the war has had a marked effect upon the military reputation of these two conspicuous Massachusetts officers. In the case of General Banks this influence has been rather favorable, as showing him to have been acting under positive orders at some periods when his action was most criticised. In the case of General Butler the effect has been the other way, because, as has been already seen, the inexorable light of the actual letters and telegrams has dispelled much of the glamor thrown by enthusiastic war correspondents— not wholly discouraged, it must be owned, by himself—over a somewhat sensational career.

He had indeed in many respects the temperament most sure to suffer from the sudden uplifting to high influence and command. He had some positive traits of the greatest value: great promptness of action and fertility of resources; readiness in adopting the suggestions of others, even to the extent of sometimes forgetting that they were not his own; and a boundless ambition, often showing itself in trivial ostentation, but often in the desire to identify himself with real public service. His strokes of wit —as in his introduction of the word ‘contraband’—were sometimes half battles.1 But he had a quick, imperious and jealous temper; great vindictiveness, joined with much ingenuity in inflicting pain; an acuteness of mind which readily availed itself of all the resources of military

1 It appears that the word had been used in a similar sense by Thomas Scott, a member of the first Congress, but it attracted no attention.

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