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[202] quickly grew up an instinctive order of knighthood amongst such men, in the face of danger, which broke down all these differences of rank and worldly condition, which elsewhere so often prevent the oneness of armies. If an officer was brave, impartial, and cared for his men, this soldier would follow him anywhere, and never complain of the strictness of his discipline. He was a fine judge of men. He elected his own officers, and if a mistake in them, soon found means to weed out the inefficient. He did better in his day by the election of officers, than in this day when they are appointed. Gordon and Rodes are examples of the men whom he selected to lead.

He was a cleanly man, despite his rags. Most of them had sooner parted with a pair of shoes, than a good tooth brush. Who has forgotten the queer sight of the tooth brush sticking from the buttonholes of his jacket; or how, when the blockade exhausted the supply of these, he became an expert in making brushes from dogberry or sassafras? On the march he had no knapsack. If he had change of clothing, he put it within his blanket, rolled it up, tied it at the ends, put the loop over head and shoulders. A canteen, and sometime a frying pan and a jack knife, were all he carried, besides his arms and belt. His pantaloons were tied at the bottom, and thrust inside his shoe. His woolen hat was often his only tent. He was as cheerful as the Indian at the ‘Feast of corn,’ when his only rations were roasting ears. There was philosophy as well as humor, in the remark of the soldier whom his officer rebuked for breaking rank, and going after persimmons, that ‘he needed them to pucker up his mouth so as to fit his rations.’

He was full of humor, jokes and jests. Woe be to the unhappy able-bodied civilian who passed his line—he ran the gauntlet of a fire of gibes more annoying than a nest of hornets.

He was always respectful to women, the minister, and the aged, and would march barefooted in the mud to give the road to a woman and child in a buggy, while he would back an able-bodied man into the fence corner, to get him out of the way.

He was modest withall, and seldom wrote to the papers of his achievements. When he felt injustice had been clone his command, he was apt to believe time would right him, and to say as Jackson did, when his part at Manassas was misrepresented—‘My brigade is not a brigade of newspaper correspondents.’

There was something pathetic in his devotion to his battle-flag. There were seldom even covers for them, and in camp the color-bearer sometimes rolled them up for pillow—but in the battle, it was

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R. E. Rodes (1)
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