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[41] (i. e. the campaign in Virginia), and all the men are loud in his praise.

In this action he was senior first lieutenant in the regiment, and commanded two companies. It was not long since Brigadier-General Stevenson had written of him, with reference to promotion, as a ‘very good officer, far above the average. He has always conducted himself well in action, and does thoroughly everything he undertakes.’

Mason Rea's was a decided character. He either loved or hated those to whom he was not absolutely indifferent; there was no intermediate phase of feeling. Physically vigorous, he had also a character strong and generous in manly sentiments, and he delighted to struggle against the current. Warmhearted and affectionate to a fault, he showed his joy and his ambition in his very step, but concealed his sorrows and his disappointments. Thus, by a bluff exterior, he often deceived his companions into underrating his sensibility, revealing himself only to his intimate friends, and concealing his feeling from all others, sometimes by gayety, sometimes by sarcasm; any means requisite to this self-concealment seemed commendable to him. With such inveterate modesty, backed by a ready and determined mind, it is not strange that the mask should have been mistaken for the man. ‘I have known him,’ says an old friend of his, ‘to have been generous even to his own pecuniary distress, and to have put the object of his generosity on the wrong track by a sarcastic remark about the motives of generous people.’

His remains were buried on the field, and in the summer of 1865 were removed to Hollywood Cemetery, near Richmond, on the north bank of the James,—looking down upon the scene of his last fight from the walls of the city, for the possession of which more blood was perhaps shed than for any other historic stronghold.


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