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[325]

General Beauregard defended Charleston and Savannah with great gallantry and engineering skill, but he was engaged in but three great actions during the war—Manassas, in 1861; Shiloh, in 1862; and Petersburg, in 1864. He was victorious in the first, fortune failed him in the second, it perched again upon his banner in the last, when he saved the Cockade City, the very day Early saved Lynchburg, after a three days fight against enormous odds, in one of the best fought battles of the civil war, which followed his skillful ‘bottling up’ of Butler at Drewry's Bluff. But in his case, as in Joseph E. Johnston's, the record is so fragmentary, after Manassas neither of them tried conclusions with an adversary in general engagement (Beauregard at Petersburg excepted), neither of them drove an enemy off the field of conflict—and, whatever their abilities, which undoubtedly were great, they were never put to final tests by uninterrupted campaigns, and can hence not be the subject of satisfactory comparison.

Battles unfought and campaigns untried must be left with deeds undone and songs unsung. We may talk forever about the real or assumed greatness of men, but war has only one measure—What did they dare? What did they do? Summing up Early's four years of bloody deeds, of unsurpassed daring, and of long continued and sustained travail, and pointing thereto, who I pray you, presents a record superior in all that tests the soldier and the man?

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