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Zzzmagnanimity, generosity, and Charity.

He possessed great magnanimity, generosity, and charity. His opposition to secession gave him a commanding political position, and the confidence of the people, when at last his forebodings were realized. But he never uttered the raven's croak, ‘I told you so;’ he never reproached any secessionist that backed his opinions with his service, and he never sunned himself in the approving smiles of the conquerors. On the contrary, he contended that the subsequent harshness of our enemies justified the course that Virginia and the South pursued. It is well known, and I am a personal witness of the fact, that as soon as he occupied the town of Gettysburg, in the first day's fight, he earnestly urged the immediate pursuit of the enemy. Unable for the moment to find Ewell, the corps commander, he sent a note to Lieutenant-General A. P. Hill, urging him to assume responsibility of ordering all the troops present to assail Cemetery Ridge at once; but before this could be arranged, General Ewell, and presently, General Lee appeared, and reports of cavalry threatening our left led to the determination to suspend operations until the morrow. Public opinion has generally concurred that a great opportunity went by; but Early, never pluming himself upon his prescience, has defended his superiors and endorsed the conclusion [328] to which they came. His austere manners made the world look upon him as a cold, hard man, but nothing was farther from the fact. Of his generosity I could name many instances if delicacy did not forbid. In charity he was by long odds the most liberal man I ever knew, and I do not believe there lives in the Commonwealth a man who gave more in proportion to his means to worthy objects than he did. Indigent soldiers, comrades in arms in straightened circumstances, the widows and daughters of old Confederates, charitable societies, churches, and Confederate monument associations were the continuous recipients of his donations. Were his executor to reveal the evidences in his hands of Early's charities, it would astonish the world; but he avoided publicity, and gave for the deed's sake.

Early was always so active, enterprising, and diligent that he was often complained of for trying to do too much. He visited pickets and sentinels, and was ever riding around to test their vigilance. He went forward with skirmish lines, and was often his own scout. His soldiers were constantly warning him against exposing himself to danger. He was always aggressive, and he had that instinct of all great soldiers, which was so difficult to restrain in Lee and Jackson, to follow the guns. He believed in the maxim of Admiral Villaneuve, that every captain is at his post who is in the hottest fire.

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Cemetery Ridge (Mississippi, United States) (1)

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Fitzhugh Lee (2)
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