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[234] friends, I select the following from a letter of Rev. Edward H. Hall, then Chaplain of the Forty-fourth:—

You could hardly tell whether to admire most his remarkable skill or his wonderful fidelity. His professional skill was acknowledged on all sides in the department; but we, who saw him every day, were even more struck by the readiness and cheerfulness with which he answered every call. A surgeon's office, at best, to a conscientious man, is the most laborious in the regiment. Yet I never saw the time, during the hardest marches or at the most untimely hours, when Robert hesitated for a second to go to those who needed him, and give them all the time that was required. If you knew the prevailing standard of official duty in the army, you would understand how striking such single-minded fidelity must be.

But the feeling of the men towards Robert is still more touching and even more honorable to him than that of the officers. . . . . He certainly never sought popularity; he exacted stoutly the respect that was due to his office, and was most unsparing in unmasking the shams by which a surgeon is sure to be beset. Yet in spite of all this, his real kindness, his tenderness and sympathy, impressed them so deeply, and revealed his true nature so plainly, that they could not help feeling more attracted to him than to any other officer. They feel his loss deeply and speak of it sadly. So true a man always finds himself appreciated by simply acting out the promptings of his nature.

‘We who remain,’ says another friend, ‘and have been in the way of looking forward to his future, and imagining what he would some day become, find with some surprise that he was already all we had ever looked for. He had not to wait for added years to fill a place, and to perform work, which, being done, makes his life already one of the finished lives.’

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