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[69] from a general's Headquarters whole miles of tented fields, and be chief of all the thousands encamped before him. He was ambitious for distinction, and in any walk of life would have striven for the honors men pay to those who display great merit; but to him there were honors as real, if not as dazzling, to be gained in peace as in war. At the bar and in the Senate he would have sought his laurels.

An extract from one of Vincent's letters, written about this time, will be of interest. It shows his decided opinions, and reminds us of General Grant's instructions to General Sheridan in the latter's Valley campaign, far later in the war.

We must fight them more vindictively, or we shall be foiled at every step. We must desolate the country as we pass through it, and not leave the trace of a doubtful friend or foe behind us; make them believe that we are in earnest, terribly in earnest; that to break this band in twain is monstrous and impossible; that the life of every man, yea, of every weak woman or helpless child in the entire South, is of no value whatever compared with the integrity of the Union.

For five or six weeks Vincent was president of a general court-martial, and later he was offered the position of Judge Advocate General of the Army of the Potomac. This he declined, partly because he did not consider the position equal to that of the command of a regiment, partly because he could not abandon his men, for whom he felt a fatherly interest, coming as he did from the same neighborhood with them all, and believing himself to be responsible to their relatives for their welfare; and above all, because he preferred to serve with troops. ‘I enlisted to fight,’ he laughingly said, when friends pointed out the advantages of the staff position.

In April, the troops broke camp for the Chancellorsville campaign. Vincent was in command of his regiment during the ten days, but was not actively engaged, losing in all but three or four men. After its defeat, the army returned to its old camp. The commander of the brigade was at this time mustered out of service, and the command fell to Vincent,— a change acceptable to officers and men. In another month

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