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[36]

A braver man never trod than Major How. It is not enough to say that he was brave. Many are that: but he was most unusually cool, brave, and gallant; I think, nay, I know, I never met quite his equal. His last words as they moved him were, “Let me die here in the field of battle; it is more glorious so.” He has left behind an enduring fame and many a kind and endearing remembrance.

The death of Major How made a profound sensation in the community. Although a subordinate officer among hundreds who held far more responsible commands, he had attracted such attention as does not often fall to the lot of a regimental major. In the neighborhood where he was best known, his devotion to the country afforded a conspicuous example; and, dying, as he did, in the darkest and most perilous moment of the war, he left a name to encourage the timid and wavering. His native town did honor to his memory. A series of eloquent resolutions were adopted by his fellow-citizens, which tendered to the family of the deceased their heartfelt sympathy, and requested his battle sword as a legacy to the town of Haverhill, to be suspended over the speaker's desk in the Town Hall, and to be labelled ‘The battle sword of Major Henry Jackson How, who fell in front of Richmond while gloriously defending the Constitution and flag of his country.’

With the following clear analysis of his character, this brief memoir may well be closed:—

It is hard to put on paper anything like a true picture of Jackson How, and quite impossible to find any single epithet to describe him. His character afforded such a singular variety, that you never seemed to reach the end of it, but were constantly meeting with surprises, and the more frequently the longer and the better you knew him. My chum and I, in admiration of his looks as much as anything, were fond of comparing him to a lion; and now, as I look back upon him, I think the adjective “lion-hearted” expresses most nearly what he was. To the traditional generosity of the lion he added, as we all know, and as the world knows since his death, more than the lion's courage.

A man's ideal picture of his friend is often an unconscious reflection of his own best self, and in the only letter I have from How, written in the winter vacation of our Sophomore year, there is an illustration of this:

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