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[299] books he always carried in his baggage,—and he liked to engage his officers in discussions suggested by his reading. In his views of public affairs ‘he was always an enthusiast, never a fanatic,’ says one who talked with him intimately at different periods of the war. Honorably ambitious of advancement, he ever earnestly maintained the principle that promotions should be neither made nor sought on any ground but that of military merit. ‘He was free, eminently free, from the finesse of the politician.’

‘Those who knew him at any period in life know how wonderfully he united the aspirations of immortal youth with an instinctive knowledge of the world, patience with persistent energy, freedom from illusions with nobleness of aim.’

‘I know none like him left, so sparkling, so rapid in his eye, so true, so sound, so noble. I will not say he had no faults; but, in my long intercourse with him, I never saw them as faults that jarred. The worst and only complaint I have ever had was that he would not tell me of himself. He had the impersonality of genius.’

‘From the time he entered the army he was happy. He had found all he asked,—an object worthy of his efforts. The vague desire to do something for his fellow-men became a settled resolve to do all he could, whether much or little, for his country. Though quick to perceive shortcomings, and to feel their discouraging influence, he never lost his faith. He was inflexible in duty; for he believed that through fidelity in trifles only could the great whole be gained. Especially was every good and noble growth quickened during the last two years.’

September 5, 1864.

I like Sheridan immensely. Whether he succeeds or fails, he is the first general I have seen who puts as much heart and time and thought into his work as if he were doing it for his own exclusive profit. He works like a mill-owner or an iron-master; not like a soldier. Never sleeps, never worries, is never cross, but is n't afraid to come down on a man who deserves it.

September 10.
[To a disabled officer.] I hope that you are going to live like a

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