was at home, some of his classmates presented him with a sword, to replace one which had been lost in the dreadful confusion of Ball's Bluff The formal letter in which he acknowledged the gift contained a passage which, as a main object in collecting these biographies is to illustrate the spirit with which our soldiers went into the war, deserves especially to be recorded. When the Class meets in years to come, he says, and honors its statesmen and judges, its divines and doctors, let also the score who went to fight for their country be remembered, and let not those who never returned be forgotten:—
Those who died for the cause, not of the Constitution and the laws,—a superficial cause, the Rebels have now the same,—but of civilization and law, and the self-restrained freedom which is their result. As the Greeks at Marathon and Salamis, Charles Martel and the Franks at Tours, and the Germans at the Danube, saved Europe from Asiatic barbarism, so we, at places to be famous in future times, shall have saved America from a similar tide of barbarism; and we may hope to be purified and strengthened ourselves by the struggle.Once more with his men, he would have been fully contented if his company had not been so small. When recruits came in, free to choose, they always preferred to join the large companies. Having one day to go out to battalion drill with only five files, his spirits sunk a little, but only for a moment. This is the way he expresses himself in his letters:—
I am quite well again, and feel ready for any march which the men could stand. Lander's famous marches must have been on harder ground than we have here: such a march would be simply impossible here on most days. But we have not so far to go to find the enemy. Whenever the work comes I shall try to do my part, and whatever my fate is then, we know that it will be for the best. You must not think that I fret over our small company, because I write for recruits. I thank mother for her good advice, but I rarely feel that any injustice has been done our company, and then I have only slight suspicions. I much more commonly attribute all the blame, if blame there is, to ourselves, and feel that there may have been something wrong somewhere, or that we are not in our proper places, and are not so well fitted as others for military matters. . . .