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And yet, with all his minute and accurate acquaintance with the course, there was very little teaching done in that department, unless teaching be understood to mean the prescribing and hearing of lessons. Teaching, in the modern sense of that term, was not Jackson's forte. His silence was phenomenal, and sometimes portentous. He had no turn for explanation, no talent for putting things in various points of view, so as to adapt them to the various mental conditions of his pupils. During the war he was often and highly commended for keeping his plans to himself; but I doubt if he could have explained those plains if he had done his best.

Though I drilled under him for three years, and recited to him daily for a year and a half, I never saw him laugh outright. A very quiet, subdued sort of smile was the nearest thing to laughter that I ever saw him indulge in; and those smiles were very infrequent, and, indeed, occurred only when outrageously ludicrous things took place in his immediate presence.

If Abe Fulkerson put on a collar made to order out of some three-quarter of a yard of linen, and then convulsed the whole class with laughter at the grave but irresistably ludicrous way in which he would wear that unique collar in the class-room, Major Jackson would smile, knowing, as he did, that the collar was the only visible article of a cadet's wearing apparel of which the iron-clad Regulations did not rigidly prescribe the form and substance.

If Davidson Penn, a portent of mischief, put on an uncommonly serious face and asked, apparently in good faith, ‘Major, can a cannon be so bent as to make it shoot around a corner?’ the Professor of Artillery would show not the slightest sign of merriment or impatience, but would, after a moment of sober reflection, reply: ‘Mr. Penn, I reckon hardly.’ We could never decide whether his gravity on such an occasion was real or assumed, but, if it was assumed, it was certainly well acted.

I have often wondered if Jackson managed to preserve his gravity when he read a certain ‘excuse’ handed him by Hambrick. We had been at artillery drill, and Hambrick, along with the rest of us third-classmen and ‘plebs,’ had to perform the rather troublesome duty of pulling the cannon. Jackson had given the command—a favorite one with him and a very abomination to us— “Timbers and caissons, pass your pieces, trot, march!” Hambrick had failed to ‘trot’ at command, and was accordingly reported by Jackson. The next morning the following excuse was handed in:

‘Report: ’

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