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[106]

His temper, though capable of being stirred to profoundest depths, was singularly even. When most provoked he showed no great excitement. When the Secretary of War treated him so discourteously that Jackson resigned his commission, he showed no great resentment or indignation. He was the only man in the army who was not mad and excited. Two days after Malvern Hill, when his staff did not get up in the morning as soon as he had ordered them to do, he quietly ordered his servant, Jim, to pour the coffee into the road and to put the mess chest back into the wagon and send the wagon off with the train, and Jim did it; but he showed no temper, and several days after when I described the ludicrous indignation of one of his staff at missing his breakfast that day, he laughed heartily over the incident, for he often showed a keen sense of humor; and when he laughed (as I often saw him do) he did it with his whole heart. He would catch one knee with both hands, lift it up, throw his body back, open wide his mouth, and his whole face and form be convulsed with mirth—but there was no sound.

His consideration for his men was very great, and he often visited the hospital with me and spoke some words of encouragement to his soldiers. The day after the fight at Kernstown as we were preparing to move further up the valley, as the enemy was threatening to attack us, I said to him: ‘I have not been able to move all our wounded.’ And he replied: ‘Very well, I will stay here until you do move them.’ I have seen him stop while his army was on the march to help a poor simple woman find her son, when she only knew that this son was in ‘Jackson's Company.’ He first found out the name of her county, then the companies from that county, and by sending couriers to each company, he at last found the boy and brought him to his mother.

And never can I forget his kindness and gentleness to me when I was in great sorrow and trouble. He came to my tent and spent hours with me, comforting me in his simple, kindly, Christian way, showing a depth of friendship and affection which can never be forgotten. There is no measuring the intensity with which the very soul of Jackson burned in battle. Out of it he was very gentle. Indeed, as I look back on the two years that I was daily, indeed hourly, with him, his gentleness as a man, his great kindness, his tenderness to those in trouble or affliction—the tenderness indeed of a woman—impress me more than his wonderful prowess as a great warrior.

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