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Military tyranny.
[from the Danville Register, July 4

There is no fact which has been more fully verified and more despondingly acknowledged in the war annals of the past, than that the commander who tyrannizes over his own troops in the camp is the vanquished party on the field of battle. Strict, but at the same time humane, military discipline is the sine qua non of an efficient soldiery. He who has more than a limited knowledge of human nature, and a heart that can feel as well as a brain that can think, can enforce the most rigid rules known to the code of modern warfare, without forfeiting the confidence, while the wins upon the esteem and affection of the soldier under his command. Such a commander on the field of battle can achieve a victory over three times the forces opposed to him, if the commander of those forces is his antipodes in the confidence, esteem and affection of his men.

Some men, when prematurely raised to a position which is pleasing to their pride and gratifying to vanity and self-esteem, imagine that they have spontaneously grown famous, and can scarcely realize the giddy height of such a ‘"mountain elevation."’ They are conscious, however, of one fact: that they are not the ‘"same individual! "’ The idea that they have suddenly undergone a transmutation, similar to that which attends the change of the caterpillar into the butterfly, becomes a ruling mania. In their bewildered judgments, all of what the French call hauteur must be instantly assumed. The former companion, who has been less accidentally fortunate, is instantly forgotten, and the new made officer struts about the camp with all the vanity of the peacock, all the assumed gravity of the horned owl, and simply all of the military skill and genius which he had before.

Not so, however, with the man of true military skill and genius. He knows too well, that in the hour of battle the soldier's arm is the one on which he alone can rely for the preservation of laurels won, and the future laurels which grace the conqueror's brow.--Consequently he is not only, in the hours of repose as well as action, anxiously solicitous for the protection, preservation, comfort and encouragement of those entrusted to his care. There is ever a golden chord of sympathy in his bosom, sensitively alive to that cordial response which should ever be given to the calls of suffering humanity within the pale of his authority. Ever strict in military discipline; ever affable in bearing towards his inferiors in rank; ever careful of the comforts, feelings and wishes of his soldiers, he wins upon the affections of all, to an extent that makes it a pleasure for them even to offer up their lives as a sacrifice in their country's cause, when led to battle by such a leader.

When however, even Northern hirelings, who like the Spaniel expects to be alternately caressed and kicked, are placed under the command of a man like the dastardly tyrant at Fortress Monroe, who appears to live and breathe alone in an atmosphere engendered by the commission he holds under a would-be despot, nothing more can be expected from them in the hours of inactivity, but disgust, discontent and loathing. These feelings are taken from the tent to the battle field, and there unnerve the arm, Gampen the military ardor, and too often produce humiliating defeat, when, under different auspices, victory would have been certain.

‘"If I love a man I will die with him; if I hate him he may die by himself,"’ was the language of a soldier who had fought in one half of the battles of the French empire. As with him, so it is with thousands now engaged in the present war. Revenge is sometimes stronger than patriotism; and the soldier may be tempted to forfeit the battle in the hope of crushing the commander. Those who have large bodies or even companies of man under their control, should bear in mind that we are fighting against tyranny and usurpation; not for the privilege of being tyrannized over. This fact is as well known to the soldier as to the officer, and hence the necessity of mutual respect, confidence and esteem.

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Fortress Monroe (Virginia, United States) (1)
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April, 7 AD (1)
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