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[6] of regiments, the selection of officers, the distribution of supplies, it was almost impossible to have a word of confidential intercourse with him. It was also difficult to hold him to a point; he liked to talk over his own plans and to read aloud the letters he had just written; and, as his style was rather florid and he amplified a good deal, these digressions took much precious time. Moreover, he was thin-skinned, and felt keenly any personal attack; and when he met with a thoroughly unscrupulous and tormenting opponent it was not hard to keep him vexed and irritated, in spite of the unselfish nobleness of his aims.

The selection of officers was of course the most perplexing part of his military work, and was that in which he made most mistakes, these arising almost wholly from his virtues. He said truly of himself that he had never despised any man because he was poor, because he was ignorant or because he was black; but there was always a chance that he might overrate a man for one or the other of these reasons. He began, as all war governors did, with a natural prejudice in favor of regular army men and those who had served in foreign armies; and where men had these recommendations, the fact that they had been the object of attack or criticism on other grounds told rather in their favor; unless they had taken positively pro-slavery positions or led mobs against abolitionists or negroes,—he drew the line there.

No one can now appreciate how difficult it was, after a prolonged period of peace, to look around upon the community and say of this man or that ‘He would make a good military officer.’ Men did not know this in regard to themselves. No man could feel humbler about this process of selection than Governor Andrew. He said once, ‘It seems very absurd that I, who am a man of peace and always hated soldiering, should be the man to choose. these officers; but Providence has put this duty upon me, and I shall do it as best I can.’ He was liable, as are most of us, to be misled by an imposing appearance, a commanding manner, and to underrate the obscurer virtues. He was over-influenced at times by trivial or temporary considerations, as when he once gave it as his reason for proposing to give one civilian a colonelcy, that this person had wished for one before, and had behaved very well under disappointment. It is now known, on the other hand, that the present head of the American army, Major-General Miles, was set aside by Governor Andrew at the last moment as too young for the command of

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Providence, R. I. (Rhode Island, United States) (1)

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John Albion Andrew (2)
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