Taylor's genius and military ability, but that he feared, so eccentric was he, his mind would lose its balance. The following is from Taylor's book:
On two occasions in the Valley during the temporary absence of Jackson from the front, Ewell summoned me to his side and immediately rushed forward among the skirmishers when some sharp work was going on. Having refreshed himself he returned with the hope that “Old Jackson would not catch him at it.” He always spoke of Jackson, several years his junior, as “old,” and told me in confidence that he admired his genius, but was certain of his lunacy, and that he never saw one of Jackson's couriers approach without expecting an order to charge the North pole. Later, after he had heard Jackson seriously declare that he never ate pepper, because it produced a weakness in his left leg, he was confirmed in this opinion, with all his oddities, perhaps in some measure by reason of them. Ewell was beloved by his officers and men. Dear Dick Ewell, Virginia never had a truer gentleman, a braver soldier, nor an odder, more lovable fellow.I regret I have been forced thus to tax your patience, but could not well say less. The statements I make are to be depended on, being of record or within the limits of my own personal knowledge.