they were. It seems to me that this change in public affairs has entirely changed my standard, and that men whom, ten years ago, I should have almost accepted as satisfactory now show lamentably deficient. Men do not yet seem to have risen with the occasion; and the perpetual perception of this is uncomfortable. It is painful here to see how sadly personal motives interfere with most of our officers' usefulness. After the war how much there will be to do, and how little opportunity a fellow in the field has to prepare himself for the sort of doing that will be required. It makes me quite sad sometimes; but then I reflect that the great secret of doing, after all, is in seeing what is to be done. I wish I could feel as sure of doing my duty elsewhere as I am of doing it on the field of battle; that is so little part of an officer's and patriot's duty now.
July 3.Wars are bad, but there are many things far worse. . . . . Anything immediately comfortable in our affairs I don't see; but comfortable times are not the ones that make a nation great. See what too much comfort has reduced the Philadelphians to. Honestly, I dare scarcely wish that the war should end speedily.
July 5.I am vexed at having to remain here, when there is so much going on close by. I almost wish I was back a Captain in the Sixth. However, I have done all I dare to get away. . . . . You must n't be disappointed. I suppose there will come a time when the regiment will have a chance.
July 9.What glorious news about Vicksburg; and I am particularly glad to have that and Gettysburg come so near the 4th of July. A year ago on that day Jimmy died, in a farm-house on the battle-field of Glendale; the little fellow was very happy; he thought the war would soon be over, that everything was going right, and that everybody was as high-minded and courageous as himself. He was a good son and a pure and wise lover of his country. With mother and father I shall never fill his place, nor in the Commonwealth either I fear.
July 24.Many nations fail, that one may become great; ours will fail, unless we gird up our loins and do honest and humble days' work, without trying to do the thing by the job or to get a great nation made by any patent process. It is not safe to say that we shall not have victories till we are ready for them. We shall have victories,
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Ode recited at the Harvard commemoration, July 21 , 1865 .
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