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[227] a dispatch was sent tendering him the command, which reached him on his way to his new field of duty. He accepted the unsolicited but none the less coveted distinction of repelling the invasion of his native State in command of her own sons, and repaired at once to Raleigh. On arriving at the camp of instruction near this place, he found a first-class command of raw recruits without equipments or discipline or the remotest conception of the magnitude of the great contest before them. Many had joined the artillery because it was known to be one of the higher and more attractive branches of the service. They concurred with Secretary Seward, that the war was a matter of a few months, or else with Vice-President Stephens, that for the defence of their firesides gentlemen should not be kept in camps of instruction and discipline, but permitted to remain at their homes, for they were capable of judging when the enemy should be met, and by what methods most easily defeated. If they had read of war it was, in books which gave it such gloss and glamour as made every battle magnificent, if not positively delectable, for such, indeed, is the general current of popular history. Not so Ramseur, who had been taught in a school where the art of war is thoroughly explained, the discipline and drudgery of soldier life daily seen and the distinctions and advantages of rank recognized and respected. His education and experience led him to concur with Viscount Wolseley, who, in speaking of war, declares that active service teaches us some painful lessons: ‘That all men are not heroes; that the quality as well as quantity of their courage differs largely; that some are positively cowards; that there always is, always has been, and always will be, a good deal of skulking and malingering; it teaches us not to expect too much from any body of men; above all things to value the truly brave men as worth more than all the talkers and spouters who have ever squabbled for place in the arena of politics.’ Ramseur was well satisfied with the esprit de corps of his command, and resolved to employ it to the best advantage. To do this his men must have a knowledge of tactics, discipline, and subordination was indispensable. He had considered all this, determined what was right, and whether it consorted with the wishes and inclinations of those who belonged to the command or not was not material with him. Indeed, duty was his polar star. He did not willingly sever his connection from the old army, but when called on to elect whether he would fight for or against his people and his State, there was no hesitancy, no doubt as to where his duty lay, and he threw his whole soul and energies into the cause

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Lucy M. Ramseur (2)
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