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Major Scheibert's book.

[We are glad to be able to give our readers the following notice of Major Scheibert's book, by so competent a critic as Colonel C. S. Venable.]

La Guerre, Civile Aux Etats-Unis D'amerique: Consideree au point de vue Militaire pour les Officiers de l'armee Allemande, par I. Scheibert, Major an corps Royal des Ingenieurs Prussieus, Traduit de l'Allemande par J. Bonnecque, Capitaine du 3rue regiment du gevie.

Such is the title of the French translation of Major Scheibert's excellent work, a copy of which has been presented to the Southern Historical Society by the author. Major Scheibert is well known to many of the officers of the Army of Northern Virginia, who met him during the campaigns of Chancellorsville and Gettysburg at General Lee's headquarters. He is a thoroughly trained officer of engineers, who was sent by the Prussian government to make a study of the late war through a close observation of the operations of the Confederate army, offensive and defensive. A man of splendid military education, genial, brave and warm-hearted, Major Scheibert won the good — will and golden opinion of all with whom he came in contact during his brief sojourn with the Army of Northern Virginia. He was received by General Lee with the utmost confidence and cordiality as guest at his headquarters at Chancellorsville and during the Gettysburg campaign,, and thus had opportunity for close observation of the operations of the army, and also for sharing its dangers. The writer of this well remembers the pleasure which beamed from the genial face of the tall Pomeranian at Chancellorsville when General Lee, picking up a bullet which cut the sod in front of [89] him.and fell harmless at his feet, presented it playfully to his guest, who the previous day had ridden with Jackson in his last great flank attack.

Major Scheibert remained six months in the Confederacy, gathering information by observation and otherwise of the operations of all the arms of our service. On his return home in 1863, we have heard that he delivered a lecture on the military operations of the Confederate army with especial reference to the Army of Northern Virginia, before 800 Prussian officers-among them the Prince of Prussia and other generals of high rank-and that at the close of the lecture the assembled officers rose to their feet and gave three cheers for General Lee. To fit himself for the preparation of his admirable work, Major Scheibert has added to his personal observations while in the Confederate States a profound study of the best Northern sources of information on the war. The motto of the author is sine ira et studio.

That he should have fallen into some errors is natural, especially from the paucity of Southern documents accessible to him on the campaign of 1864 of the Army of Northern Virginia--the greatest of all of Lee's campaigns-and of the Army of the West, under General Johnston. But his love of truth and spirit of fairness is manifest throughout the book.

The work is divided into eight chapters. In the first chapter we have a brief sketch of the war. The next six chapters treat, respectively, of the infantry, the cavalry, artillery and engineer corps, strategy, naval operations and the sanitary corps. Chapter VIII is devoted to some final considerations and brief sketches of Generals Stuart, Stonewall Jackson, Sherman, Grant and of General Lee.

Our author's sketch of Lee is a splendid piece of military criticism. In the closing paragraph of the book he thus compares him to Von Moltke, his own loved commander: “Thus died this rare man, whom a clear intellect and naturalness and simplicity of character, joined to an unswerving fidelity to duty, and reposing on firm confidence in God, made one of [90] the first Generals of his century. There is but one man to whom I can compare him — a venerable General who, like Lee, is by his devotion to duty, the first soldier of his country.”

We cannot in this brief critique enter into any special view of the different chapters of Major Scheibert's book. We are glad to learn that it will be translated into English by an accomplished lady — the widow of a distinguished General of Engineers in the Army of Northern Virginia. It is a most readable book, and at the same time it will make an admirable text-book of war for West Point or the Virginia Military Institute. Distinguished Northern generals have expressed their opinion that it could be adopted with advantage at West Point if some parts, which, from their point of view, do not do full justice to the North, might be corrected by notes.

We would respectfully suggest to the translator that notes from some of our distinguished officers, as General Early and others, would be very valuable. And we might venture to make a particular suggestion — a full note on the torpedo service of the Confederate States in Charleston harbor and elsewhere would be of permanent value.

Major Scheibert's book appeared in Germany at a most opportune time. It was just after the issue of the work of the Comte de Paris from the press, with its one-sided view of the war and its tissue of singularly incorrect statements with regard to many of the most signal operations of the war. Major Scheibert's book, with its simple, clear statements of an honest, true and brave soldier, who writes without prejudice, and knows whereof he writes, was a complete refutation to the magnificent corps of Prussian officers of the Comte's slip-shod misrepresentations. And now that Captain Bonnecque, of the French Engineers, has paid Major Scheibert the distinguished compliment of forgetting his national hatred of the Germans for the time being, and translating his excellent book into French, it may serve to show Frenchmen that the distinguished Orleanist is a partisan, or at least, that he has not sought accuracy with that devotion to truth with which [91] the true soldier-author should be inspired in the presence of great events.

It will give pleasure to those who remember Major Scheibert so pleasantly in the Army of Northern Virginia in 1863, to know that he is alive and well, having served unharmed in the campaign against Austria, which ended in the battle of Sadowa. He was badly wounded in the late war against France in the battle of Worth. He remembers warmly his comrades of the Army of Northern Virginia, and holds frequent happy reunions with Von Borcke, the big and big-hearted cavalryman who rode with Stuart, when there is much talk of their old comrades — of those still here as well as of those who have “gone beyond.”

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