These few extracts from his letters can only serve to show what he was as a patriot, how clear and sound and good his judgment, and how well, even in the beginning of the war, and feel unnecessarily anxious about me. I shall do my duty, but I shall not commit any folly of bravado, and shall survive this war unless Heaven wills otherwise; in which case we shall all be ready cheerfully to submit ourselves.
Mr. Laflin, day before yesterday. It gave me a lively impression of the far greater anxiety, and consequent suffering, entailed by war upon those at home than upon those who go out to fight. We, as soldiers are, or ought to be, proof against all uneasiness, except in certain trying moments, which come comparatively rarely, and when the occasion passes, the feeling of care passes also; but you at home, expecting constantly news of a battle fought, and having to wait long for certain intelligence of the result, after it has been fought, are worse off. I feel as if my sympathy were due to you more than yours to me. But I trust you will not fail in adhering to your habitual serene faith. Think of me, always, until you know to the contrary, as destined to be restored to you, safe and sound. It will be quite time enough to grieve when the occasion calls for it. War, with its deadly instruments and missiles, is far less dangerous than it seems. If one of our Fourth-of-July cannon were accidentally loaded with shell, and the shell should happen to burst near a group of persons, without injuring any, the newspapers and the town-talk would call it miraculous or providential. A hundred similar miracles at least have happened to us within the last three days; a hundred shell have exploded, or have passed screeching by without exploding, over ground covered with troops, wagons, and horses; result, one or two horses wounded, and a few darkies and camp-followers (perhaps a few soldiers) badly scared. ‘. . . . General Howard, who lost his arm on Sunday, is a very interesting man,—scarcely older than I am,—and the only army officer I have met who could properly be designated by the appellation of a “consistent Christian” ; brave as the bravest, honestly and unaffectedly believing that his life is in God's hands, and that it is, to speak more expressively than elegantly, none of his business whether he lives or dies, provided he is doing his duty. Army officers who swear as habitually as Howard prays speak of him with great affection and esteem.’
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Ode recited at the Harvard commemoration, July 21 , 1865 .
These few extracts from his letters can only serve to show what he was as a patriot, how clear and sound and good his judgment, and how well, even in the beginning of the war, and
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