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[141]

Thus passed to the other world one more pure and noble soul. Those who knew him best know how his character deepened and strengthened throughout his term of service. From principle and conviction, rather than from enthusiasm, came his determined perseverance, his controlling fidelity; and, as if springing from the same root, his naturally strong affections quickened and grew tenderer. Life was never worth so much to him, but it was worth most as part of the price to be paid for his country.

Of his worth in the field, the esteem of the general under whom he served speaks most eloquently. The words of General Humphreys bear testimony to a reputation in the Second Corps, of which Mills's modesty never permitted his becoming conscious. ‘His gentle manners, intelligence, manly courage, and other noble traits, had already won my affection, and his loss has caused me sincere sorrow.’ General White, his old commander in the First Division, Ninth Corps, says truly of him: ‘Gentle as a woman, brave as the bravest, fervent in patriotism, frank, genial, truthful, and benevolent, he sleeps wrapped in a mantle of glory, his memory fragrant with all that is sweet in the poetry, the romance, and the truth of a patriot's life and a patriot's death. If his pure spirit can have witnessed the unfurling of the flag over every foot of American soil, and over four millions of slaves set free, which was the immediate result of the contest in which he fell, I think he would rejoice at the sacrifice of his earthly hopes so far as they related to all else.’

But dearer than all praise of a soldier, to those who love him, is the memory of the pure heart, the tender affection, the magnanimous generosity of Charlie Mills.


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