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[370] sometimes with an exterior jest or compliment, would give what, if properly appreciated, was instruction for the better performance of some duty: for example, if he thought a general officer was not visiting his command as early and as often as was desirable, he might admire his horse and suggest that the animal would be improved by more exercise.

He was not of the grave, formal nature that he seemed to some who only knew him when sad realities cast dark shadows upon him; but even then the humor natural to him would occasionally break out. For instance, General Lee called at my office for a ride to the defence of Richmond, then under construction. He was mounted on a stallion which some kind friend had recently sent him. As I mounted my horse, his was restive and kicked at mine. We rode on quietly together, though Lee was watchful to keep his horse in order. Passing by an encampment, we saw near a tent two stallions tied at a safe distance from one another. ‘There,’ said he, ‘is a man worse off than I am.’ When asked to explain, he said: ‘Don't you see, he has two stallions? I have but one.’

His habits had always been rigidly temperate, and his fare in camp was of the simplest. I remember on one battle-field riding past where he and his staff were taking their luncheon. He invited me to share it, and when I dismounted for the purpose, it proved to have consisted only of bacon and corn-bread. The bacon had all been eaten, and there were only some crusts of corn-bread left, which, however, having been saturated with the bacon gravy, were in those hard times altogether acceptable, as General Lee was assured, in order to silence his regrets.

While he was on duty in South Carolina and Georgia, Lee's youngest son, Robert, then a mere boy, left school and came down to Richmond, announcing his purpose to go into the army. His older brother, Custis, was a member of my staff, and after a conference we agreed that it was useless to send the boy back to school, and that he probably would not wait in Richmond for the return of his father, so we selected a battery, which had been organized in Richmond, and sent Robert to join it. General Lee told me that at the battle of Sharpsburg this battery suffered so much that it had to be withdrawn for repairs and some fresh horses, but as he had no troops even to form a reserve, as soon as the battery could be made useful it was ordered forward. He said that as it passed him, a boy, mounted as a driver of one of the guns, much stained with powder, said: ‘Are you going to put us in again, General?’ After replying


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