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[152] ear was taught by the cannon thundering at Lewiston, that we should all have been, ere this, there; not pothering here, in straggling Indian file. Well did I know how Jackson's soul at that hour would avouch that word of Napoleon: ‘Ask me for anything but time.’ But no: ‘Generals had their orders: to march by the bridge.’ ‘They would usurp no discretion.’ Punctilious obedient men they! ‘keeping the word of promise to the ears, but breaking it to the sense.’ Well, in such fashion was the golden opportunity lost; and Jackson, at mid-day, instead of returning victorious to confront Fremont, must send word to his skirmish line, to come away and burn the bridge behind them, while he reinforces his battle against Shields and crushes down his stubborn (yea right gallant) resistance, with stern decision. Thus he must content himself with one victory instead of two, and in that one, chase his enemy away like a baffled wolf instead of ensnaring him wholly and drawing his fangs.

Who can hear this story of victory thus organized and almost within the grasp—victory which should have been more splendid than Marengo—so shorn of half its rays, without feeling a pungent, burning, sympathetic disappointment? Did not such a will as Jackson's then surge like a volcano at this default? No. There was no fury chafing against the miscarriage, no discontent, no rebuke. Calm and contented, Jackson rode back from the pursuit and devoted himself to the care of the wounded and to prudent precautions for protection. ‘God did it.’ That was his philosophy. There is an omniscient Mind which purposes, an ever present Providence which superintends; so that when the event has finally disclosed His will, the good man has found out what is best. He did not know it before, and therefore he followed, with all his might, the best lights of his own imperfect reason; but now that God has told him, by the issue, it is his part to study acquiescence—

Such was ‘Stonewall Jackson's way.’

This, my friends, is a bright dream, but it is passed away. Jackson is gone, and the cause is gone. All the victories which he won are lost again. The penalty we pay for the pleasure of the dream is the pain of the awakening. I profess unto you that one of the most consoling thoughts which remain to me amidst the waking realties of the present, is this: that Jackson and other spirits like him are spared the defeat. I find that many minds sympathize with me in the species of awful curiosity to know what Jackson would have done at our final surrender. It is a strange, a startling conjunction of thoughts:


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