previous next
[653] of surpassing success probably represents and typifies his time, it is not surprising that some of the same qualities which distinguished him as a commander can be detected in the men whom he commanded. The national soldiers were not, as a rule, so brilliant as the rebels in a charge, and no better behind works, but they were more persistent in attack, and better able to perform evolutions under fire. They were not so apt to lose head in battle, and recovered sooner from the effects of disaster. The enemy oftener succeeded by surprise, but seldom reaped the full result of a victory; and rarely won except by a first, impulsive, and unexpected onset. In this the Southerners were like the negroes. But, when it came to sustained, renewed, deliberate assault, it was the national soldiers who bore away the prize.

But, after all, it is only by transcendent effort that transcendent success is ever attained. Excellent people, good soldiers, brave men, careful generals, are not enough in offensive war with determined foes. The troops who do what can neither be expected nor required are the ones who are victorious. The men who, tired, and worn, and hungry, and exhausted, yet push into battle, are those who win. They who persist against odds, against obstacles, against hope, who proceed or hold out unreasonably, are the conquerors.

And for chiefsā€”there are only two or three in a generation. It is no disparagement of a man that he has not genius. We cannot expect every one to be the exception. There were many admirable tacticians, and strategists, and engineers, as well as loyal subordinates and faithful, heroic patriots in the

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: