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[129] country's needs. I found him at a place, gateway of the mountains that befriended him, named of the vicinage Conrad's Store; the Shenandoah flood before him, and beyond, multitudinous enemies thronging—held at bay, checkmated, gnashing vainly upon him; while he, in the midst of din and marching battalions, going to the watch-post, and splashing squadrons, splashing through mire most villainous, and of snow-wracks and sleet of the ungenial spring, ‘Winter lingering in the lap of spring,’—stood calm, patient, modest, yet serious, as though abashed at the meanest man's reverence for him; but at sternest peril unabashed. After most thoughtful, yea, feminine care of food and fire for me, he took me apart saying, ‘I am glad that you have come.’ But I told him that I was come, I feared, uselessly, only to reveal my unfitness, and retire; already half-broken by camp-disease, and enervated by student's toil. ‘But Providence,’ replied he, ‘will preserve your health, if he designs to use you.’ I was unused to arms, and ignorant of all military art. ‘You can learn,’ said he. ‘When would you have me assume my office?’ ‘Rest to-day, and study the “Articles of war,” and begin to-morrow.’ ‘But I have neither outfit, nor arms, nor horse, for immediate service.’ ‘My quartermaster shall lend them, until you procure your own.’ ‘But I have a graver disqualification, which candor requires me to disclose to you, first of mortals: I am not sanguine of success; our leaders and legislators do not seem to me to comprehend the crisis, nor our people to respond to it; and, in truth, the impulse which I feel to fly out of my sacred calling, to my country's succour, is chiefly the conviction that her need is so desperate. The effect on me is the reverse of that which the old saw ascribes to the rats when they believe the ship is sinking.’ ‘But,’ saith he, laughing; ‘If the rats will only run this way, the ship will not sink.’ Thus was I overruled.

You will remember that theory of his character, which most men were pleased to adopt, when he was first entrusted with command: ‘This man,’ said they, ‘is true, and brave, and religious; but narrow and mechanical. He is the man to lead a fighting battalion, under the direction of a head that can think; but strategy, prudence, science, are not in him. His very reserve and reluctance to confer result from his own consciousness, that he has no faculty of speech nor power of thought, to debate with other men.’ Had I been capable of so misjudging his silence and modesty, as to adopt this theory, his career must ere this have blown it all into thin air; the first Manassas and Kernstown, and the retreat before Banks had already done


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