Some of his characteristics.
, he would mingle in the ranks like ‘a little corporal’ when the occasion demanded, and with his own hands help man the guns of the batteries.
He was affable and readily approached by the humblest private; but the officer next in rank never forgot when on duty that he was in the presence of his superior.
No commander was ever more considerate of the rights and feelings of those under him, or sustained the authority of his subordinate officers with more firmness and tact.
If a deserving officer committed a blunder or was guilty of an unintentional violation of orders or discipline he would speak to him privately and kindly of his fault, but would never let those under his command know that he had censured the offender.
He was quiet in manner, courteous and polite to all when not aroused, but when justly excited to anger was hard to appease.
Punctillious in the observance of all the forms of military etiquette in his intercourse with others, he resented any failure to treat him with due courtesy.
This led to an unpleasant difference between General Jackson
and himself, which came near depriving the Army of Northern Virginia of the services of A. P. Hill
The circumstances as related by General Hill
On several occasions General Jackson
had given orders in person to General Hill
's brigade commanders without his knowledge.
This General Hill
resented as a breach of courtesy to him and protested against it.
One day while on the march he left the head of his command for a short while, and on his return found the leading brigades had gone into camp.
On inquiry he found that General Jackson
had given the order to his troops in his absence.
Stung by what he considered an affront, and seeing General Jackson
and his staff near by, he rode up to him and excitedly said: General Jackson
, you have assumed command of my division, here is my sword; I have no use for it. To this General Jackson
replied: ‘Keep your sword General Hill
, but consider yourself under arrest.’
For several days General Hill
remained with his troops, but not in command, and at his own request was allowed to take command in the battle which was fought in a few days, and afterwards remained in command.
But the breach thus made was not readily healed, and General Lee
interposed to reconcile their differences.
He had several interviews with them separately and sought to pour oil on the troubled waters.
At length he induced them to meet at his quarters and used every argument to effect a compromise, but each insisted that he was the injured party and refused to yield.
To this General Lee
replied: ‘Then let him who thinks he has been injured most prove himself most magnanimous by forgiving most.’
This grand appeal was irresistible, and effected a reconciliation which made it possible for the corps and division commanders to serve together in harmony, and with feelings of mutual respect for each other.