This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
 in some of the darkest times of it, he foresaw with the eyes of his spirit the triumph of his country, which he was not destined to share. His letters, of which there remain a large number, seem to preserve to his friends a living part of him, and have the great charm of giving always a true and striking portrait of the mood and moment in which they were written. Many are overflowing with pleasantry and humor,—all with the tenderness and kindness of his heart. Some show an uncommon talent for the description of nature, as well as for the delineation of character; and his way of expressing himself is always happy, clear, and natural. In these, written to his most intimate friends, he freely gives his religious sentiments, his views of life and destiny; and all he says is pervaded by the generous and noble spirit from which it flows. In his military career, he found a great advantage in having formerly hardened and disciplined his body by all manly exercises, so that he was better prepared for the great exposure and fatigue that broke down many delicate constitutions. Great physical courage seemed born with him, and was so natural that he never knew the nervousness and timidity of more sensitive natures, but it helped him, no doubt, to acquire that higher moral courage which acts independently of the judgment, the approval or blame of others, and which has as its aim only that which the mind has once recognized as right and duty. He thought so little what others might think or say of him, that his actions never seemed influenced by it; and he not only appeared always perfectly natural, self-possessed, and without restraint himself, but had also the happy gift to take restraint and reserve from others, and to awaken confidence, kind feelings, and good humor. He soon became therefore, popular among his fellow-officers and his inferiors, as he had been always where he lived. His personal appearance was prepossessing, his figure tall and strongly built, and his face well expressed his character. It was at once a very manly and a very sweet face, with dark, expressive eyes, and handsome, regular features; and the refinement, the inborn nobility of his soul, and the high idea to which he devoted the end of his life, had set their stamp upon
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.