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remarked, I now realize what the apostle meant when he said, Some have entertained angels unawares. In this brief sketch and these anecdotes may be discovered the signs of an heroic nature. Polk believed that no calling gave the citizen exemption from the duty of defending his home and country. As a priest, he had always remembered that he was a gentleman and a soldier of Christ; as a soldier, he never forgot that, though consecrated to a mission of patriotism, he was first of all a Christian. It certainly does not become any preaching zealot, who served as a trumpeter calling others to the fray, to condemn or censure him who took up the sword. While Cornelius, the centurion, is accounted righteous, or Abraham is justified for rescuing Lot, the Southern people will hold dear the memory of the soldier-bishop. Henceforth, General Polk was the right arm of his commander. The currents of these two lives that had so nearly touched toward their sources, and afterward had parted so
y one. We had beaten back the enemy, it is true; but not a thousand such successful combats could compensate for the untimely death of our beloved and gentle Ashby; meek as a child in peace, fierce as a tiger in battle, night and day in the saddle, ever restless and watchful, always in advance when danger threatened. To see him ride to the front in the crisis of battle, and, waving his sword, shout out, Follow me! was a sight which none will forget who witnessed it. Gentle, good, kind, Christian, heroic soldier, a host in himself — may he rest his honored head in peace, and posterity honor his name for his countless acts of daring and chivalry! Having retreated during the night, we halted two miles from the village of Port Republic, and watched a further development of the enemy's plans. Shields's division was on the east, and Fremont's on the west side of the Shenandoah River, nearly parallel, and it seemed the latter was desirous of attacking Jackson while Shields should c
ch the imagination could invent for him. And in regard to others, the truth would possess an equal superiority over fiction. Jackson was a noble human soul; pure, generous, fearless, of imperial genius for making war; but why claim for him personal graces, and the charm of social humour? Stuart ranked justly with the two or three greatest cavalry commanders of the world, and in his character combined gaiety, courage, resolution, winning manners, and the purest traits of the gentleman and Christian; but why draw the gallant cavalier as utterly faultless, never moved by anger, ever serious and devout as was Jackson? By such a process the actual characters disappear; the real men, with faults and virtues, grand traits and foibles, become mere lay-figures to hang uniforms upon. The pictures should either be made likenesses, or not be painted; events should be represented in their real colours, or not at all. These few words will explain the character of the sketches here presented
The Annals of the Civil War Written by Leading Participants North and South (ed. Alexander Kelly McClure), General Stuart in camp and field. (search)
er an embodiment of the best traits of the English cavaliers — not of their bad traits. Although his utter carelessness as to the impression he produced subjected him to many calumnies, it is here placed on record, by one who knew his private life thoroughly, and was with him day and night for years, that he was, in morals, among the purest of men — a faithful husband, absolutely without vices of any description, and, if not demonstrative — in his religious views, an earnest and exemplary Christian. His love for his wife was deep and devoted; and on the death of his little daughter, Flora, he said to me, with tears in his eyes: I shall never get over it. When one day some person in my presence indulged in sneers at the expense of preachers, supposing that the roystering young commander would echo them, Stuart said, coldly: I regard the Christian ministry as the noblest work in which any human being can engage. He never touched spirits in any form during his whole life, having p<
Robert Lewis Dabney, Life and Commands of Lieutenand- General Thomas J. Jackson, Chapter 3: in Mexico. (search)
they may bear always two phases of meaning; the one more decided and gross, the other more akin to the evangelical truth. When, for instance, Rome requires her teachers to say that, in the sinner's justification, the meritorious cause is the righteousness of Jesus Christ, while the formal cause is the personal holiness inwrought by the grace of the gospel in the Christian's soul; the words in the hands of a Jansenist, may be made almost to mean that precious truth which every evangelical Christian, in every church, embraces in substance, that our acceptance before God is only in the merits of the Redeemer; while, in the hands of a self-righteous Jesuit, they will teach essentially a Pharisaic dependence on our own observances. So the doctrine of peD ance and absolution, in the instruction of the former, will be made to mean little more than that the minister of God's church is commissioned to publish'therein His mercy to the truly penitent soul; while, in the teachings of the latt
Robert Lewis Dabney, Life and Commands of Lieutenand- General Thomas J. Jackson, Chapter 4: life in Lexington. (search)
ed and curt; at the throne of grace all was different; his enunciation was soft and deliberate, and his tones mellow and supplicatory. His prayers were marked at once by profound reverence and filial confidence, and abounded much in ascriptions of praise and thanks, and the breathings of devout affections towards God. Besides his punctual observance of his private and domestic devotions, and of the weekly meetings for social prayer, he was accustomed to select from time to time some one Christian, with whom he held stated seasons of devotion, in order to avail himself of the promise, that if two of you shall agree on earth, as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. And his partners in these fellowships were selected, not so much for their social as for their spiritual attractions. This narrative would be unjust to the truth, and to the memory of one of God's most honored servants, if it omitted the mention of the chief in
Robert Lewis Dabney, Life and Commands of Lieutenand- General Thomas J. Jackson, Chapter 19: Chancellorsville. (search)
against Hooker. In this plan General Jackson cheerfully acquiesced. Thursday, the 30th of April, had now arrived, and he prepared to break up his quarters. The opening of the campaign had metamorphosed the whole man. Those who had seen him in his winter-quarters, toiling with a patient smile over his heaps of official papers, who had received his gentle and almost feminine kindnesses there, who had only beheld him among his chaplains, or at public worship, the deferential and tender Christian, had been tempted to wonder whether this were indeed the thunderbolt of war, he was described by fame; and whether so meek a spirit as his would be capable of directing its terrors. But when they met him on this morning, all such doubts fled before his first glance. His step was quick and firm, his whole stature unconsciously erected and elate with genius and majesty, while all comprehending thought, decision, and unconquerable will, burned in his eye. His mind seemed, with equal rapidit
Robert Lewis Dabney, Life and Commands of Lieutenand- General Thomas J. Jackson, Chapter 20: death and burial. (search)
for it with tender respect; and their frequent reply to the escort was: I wish it was I, who was wounded. At nightfall, the party reached the house of Mr. Chandler, near the railroad station, whose hospitality General Jackson had shared the previous winter, when he first came from the Valley. Here he was gladly received, and everything possible was done for his comfort; for it was a notable trait of his character, that he inspired in all the people, and especially in the purest and most Christian, that unbounded devotion, which counted every exertion made for him a precious privilege. The house of Mr. Chandler was already full of wounded officers, to whom he sent, by his attendants, most courteous and sympathizing messages. He arrived at this resting place wearied and painful, complaining of some nausea, and pain in his bruised side; but still declared that he had made the journey with unexpected comfort, for which he should be very grateful to God. Referring to his previous adv
Fitzhugh Lee, General Lee, Chapter 16: return to Richmond.-President of Washington College.--death and Burial. (search)
onjunction the immortal names of Washington and Lee; that the anniversary of his birth should always be celebrated in the college; and that, with the co-operation of the faculty, measures should be taken and plans prepared for the erection within the college grounds of a suitable monument to his memory. The sorrowing students met and resolved: We deeply mourn the loss of one who in his public career had endeared himself to us by all the virtues that adorn the character of the patriot and Christian, and who in his official and private relations with ourselves has also won our peculiar affection and confidence by his paternal sympathy and his tender regard for our interest as students. The academic board of the Virginia Military Institute, at Lexington, put on record that his life is a part of the history of the world, and that his moral excellences inspired love and admiration in the hearts of all the good. At 12.30 P. M., October 15th, 1870, one of the most solemn, imposing, an
Francis B. Carpenter, Six Months at the White House, Lvi. (search)
ed embellishment. Of all men in the world, the late President was the most unaffected and truthful. He rarely or never used language loosely or carelessly, or for the sake of compliment. He was the most indifferent to the effect he was producing, either upon official representatives or the common people, of any man ever in public position. In the ordinary acceptation of the term, I would scarcely have called Mr. Lincoln a religious man,--and yet I believe him to have been a sincere Christian. A constitutional tendency to dwell upon sacred things, an emotional nature which finds ready expression in religious conversation and revival meetings, the culture and development of the devotional element till the expression of such thought and experience becomes habitual, were not among his characteristics. Doubtless he felt as deeply upon the great questions of the soul and eternity as any other thoughtful man; but the very tenderness and humility of his nature would not permit the ex
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