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[148] improve; he was willing to give them another chance. But when, after a succession of mistakes and misdoings, of faults and forgivenesses, the existence of the original erring trait was made evident in some little circumstance, the blow came sudden and sharp. He seemed to arrive all at once at the conclusion that there could be no cure, and action then followed decision instantaneously.

I have said that he was calm, and unimpassioned; undemonstrative; but he was not unfeeling. He took the liveliest interest in the fortunes of his friends, in the success of his subordinates. He enjoyed the triumphs of Sherman and Sheridan, and of all national commanders, as keenly as if they had been his own. He also felt to the full the weight of the responsibility that lay upon his shoulders. Of this he rarely spoke, but the sleepless nights he passed were evidence of it, as well as the current of his talk, always, unless diverted by some eddy of the moment, borne along with his thought on the war. His calm was as far as possible from stolidity. It came from a complete apprehension of his subject, a certainty that he had done his best, and that if the decision were to be made again, his judgment would not be different; from a hopefulness at all times and under all circumstances; and from that faith in ultimate success which never deserted him, and, as Sherman once said, could be likened to nothing else but the faith a Christian has in the Saviour. I remember hearing him tell a foreign officer he felt as sure of capturing Richmond as he did of dying.

This faith inspired those around him; this confidence he had, of ultimately winning, was contagious.

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William T. Sherman (2)
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