had been part of his personal fortunes.
He was conscious of the magnitude of the war about to break upon the country, and with might he strove to harden these raw but impressible troops into steady and seasoned men of war. The men and officers of his command represented the best society of the State
Into this mass he poured his own undoubted faith, his personal manliness, his great courage, his complete and perfect loyalty to those set in authority above him. He saw day by day the standard of his regiment rise, its capacity broaden and deepen, its steadiness in military duties become greater.
The officers and men were vieing with each other in their steady imitation of their commander.
The military air of the regiment was rapidly becoming more pronounced.
I shall never forget the conversation I heard in those days and nights between the colonel and those who sought his instructive company.
I heard him say there were but few well authenticated instances in modern warfare of hostile troops killing each other with bayonets; that there was but one well authenticated instance in the wars of modern Europe
of such an occurrence; that a French and Spanish battalion did cross bayonets in the streets of Saragossa
I heard him say remarkable things with respect to commonplace subjects.
And I am certain now of the truth of this opinion that in the element of common sense, which I take to be the capacity, to say that with reference to any subject of conversation in hand which instantly commends itself to all who hear it though it had not occurred to any one to say so, he was specially gifted, or there was in his training at West Point
that which gave him great advantages over those who had no such training, and especial advantage in taking care of himself and his command—getting the best of all there was to be had for his command.
He was elected colonel of the Forty-third regiment at its organization, but declined the office in favor of a promising young officer, who had given decided evidence of ability.
He also declined the command of the Second cavalry in favor of Colonel Sol. Williams
, saying, with the frankness of the true soldier, ‘Williams
is a better man, for he is par excellence
a cavalryman, so put him there.’
He first served as colonel of the Forty-fifth under General Holmes
, who discovered his fine qualification as a soldier, and recommended him for promotion, asking that he might be assigned to duty under him. The Government found itself embarrassed with brigadier-generals, while suffering from poverty of brigades.
This application was denied, but an officer of that grade was tendered to General Holmes