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Dr. McGuire in the Army.

The tribute of Rev. James P. Smith, D. D.

It would be difficult to find a veteran of the Confederate army who rendered a service as loyal, as efficient, as valuable to the Confederacy as Hunter McGuire. If his service was rendered at the camp and in the hospital, rather than on the battle line, there was yet no greater devotion and no more zealous and able discharge of the duty assigned him. His service as surgeon and medical director of an army corps was felt on the battle line, in the care of the health of the camp, and in the lives that were saved for service at the hospitals.

When he came to Harper's Ferry, at the very outbreak of the war, he bore the first commission of surgeon given by the State of Virginia. He was so young and so youthful in appearance that [278] General Jackson thought it incredible that he was sent to be chief surgeon of his command. The interview of the evening removed from Jackson's mind all doubt, won a confidence that was never lost, and opened the door of his heart to the coming of a new friend.

There devolved on this young surgeon an extensive and difficult work of organization. For an army, growing every day, in constant motion, and almost daily battle, there were appointments to be made, instructions given, supplies to be secured, medical train to be found, hospitals to be established, and all this with difficulties to surmount which made the task almost hopeless. To this administration he gave himself with energy, promptness, and command. And in all this he won the entire confidence and approval of his chief.

Surgeon of great skill.

As General Jackson's command grew to be a brigade and then a division, the surgeon's rank and responsibility were advanced. From the Army of the Valley General Jackson's command became, the Second Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia, and in all these changes, by Jackson's wish, Dr. McGuire went with his General.

He was found to have the skill of a great army surgeon where his personal attention could be given, and the ability to direct the practice and operation of a great body of surgeons. And there was developed an administrative capacity so efficient and successful that the anxious and watchful General was more than satisfied. Into all this administration of the medical department of his Army General Jackson went with the most scrutinizing inquiry every day. Each day he knew of its condition and its wants. No higher encomium can be placed upon all this period of Dr. McGuire's work than that Jackson knew of all and was satisfied.

He was a favorite companion of the General about the camp fire, at the meal table, and on the march. The General found him intelligent beyond men of his class, of notable intellectual brightness, with a fine knowledge of men, and most genial social qualities. Many honors have come to Hunter McGuire in the long, strenuous years of his successful life. Many friends have been gathered from among all classes, at home and abroad; but no honor has ever been his that is equal to this—that he had the personal confidence and friendship of Stonewall Jackson.


Jackson's confidence in him.

When at Chancellorsville Jackson fell mortally wounded, he looked to Dr. McGuire for such treatment as he could give with entire confidence. When amputation was suggested, he told Dr. McGuire that he must do what he thought best. In the midst of the operation the sufferer spoke from under the influence of chloroform, and said: ‘Dr. McGuire, you must do your duty, sir; you must do your duty.’ With fidelity and tenderness all care was given to the great General on the day of his passing away by his faithful friend. Perhaps there was no man to whom Jackson gave as much of the opening of his thought and of his love as he gave to Dr. McGuire. As long as Stonewall Jackson's name shall live among men, the name of Hunter McGuire will be linked with his in unfading honor.

After the death of Jackson, Dr. McGuire served with the same loyalty and the same success under General Ewell and under General Early. By General Lee he was known and trusted in the highest degree. Throughout the Army of Northern Virginia he was known with a rising fame, and admired and trusted by a great company of officers of all grades, and by a greater company of those noble men, the private soldiers of the Confederacy. To many he had given relief by his skill, and many by his care had been removed to health again. To the end of the war, and since the end, he was the same large-hearted friend of all Confederate soldiers, and the same loyal Confederate himself.

Of the staff of General Jackson, Major Jed. Hotchkiss, the topographical engineer, died in the last year. Now the great surgeon and friend has passed away. There remains of those regularly commissioned, who had service with General Jackson, Colonel Henry Kyd Douglas, of Maryland; Captain Joseph G. Morrison, of North Carolina, and myself.

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