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The Daily Dispatch: February 15, 1864., [Electronic resource], Napoleon's Judgment on men and things. (search)
st the three greatest powers of Europe, it was Frederick the Great. Generals in chief are guided by their own experience or their genius. Tactics, evolutions, the silence of the engineer and the artillerist, may be learned from books, or treatises, like geometry; but the knowledge of the high parts of war is only acquired by experience, and by the study of the history of wars and battles of great captains. The study of grammar could not teach any one how to write the Iliad or one of Corneille's tragedies. The first quality of a general — in — chief is a cool head which receives just impressions of things, which is never excited nor flushed, nor discouraged by good or bad news. The sensations, either successive or simultaneous, which he receives in the course of one day, must class themselves in his head and occupy no more place in his thoughts than they respectively deserve; for, good sense, reason, are the result of comparison between several sensations taken under equal