Gen'l J. E. B. Stuart. 445
patriotic self-sacrifice. Already on that day had General Rodes won the especial commendation of the great Jackson, whose dying testimony was, "General Rodes' promotion should date from Chancellorsville ;" and now succeeding to the command of his corps there seemed to open up before him a grand opportunity for personal distinction.
He believed, moreover, that because Stuart belonged to a different arm of the service he was not entitled to claim the command. Possess- ing the modest confidence of the true soldier in his own ability to meet the responsibility devolving upon him, he was yet willing to place the command in Stuart's hands, because, as he said with quiet dignity, he understood that such was General Jackson's wish, and because Stuart's name was more widely and more favorably known in the army, and would tend to restore the confidence of the troops shaken by the fall of Jackson.
Military authorities will probably decide that Stuart, as next in rank to A. P. Hill, was entitled to the command ; but this cannot detract from the honor due the gallant soldier, who yielded up the opportunity for personal distinction when he believed that the interests of his coun- try so required, as readily as he afterwards laid down his life in the same cause. " He that ruleth his spirit" is better " than he that taketh a city."
During the heat of the conflict on the next morning, as I was making my way through the woods toward our line of battle, I saw a lad coming sl&wly toward the rear, whose right arm was dangling from the elbow by some shreds of flesh. As he approached me he said
" Mister ! can't you cut this thing off? It keeps knocking against the trees, and it's mightily in my way."
I was somewhat appalled at the prospect of a surgical operation, but could not refuse to do what lay in my power to help the poor boy. So, dismounting from my horse, I improvised a tourniquet from some strips torn from a blue blouse lying near at hand, and applying it to the artery above the elbow, proceeded to amputate the offending member with my pocket knife. While the operation was in progress, I en- quired
" Which is your regiment?"
" I belong to that North Carolina regiment in there. I'm just six- teen, and I've just come from home. Don't you think it's a hard case that I should get hit in my first fight? We drove them out of one line of breastworks, and I was on top of the second when I got hit. ut t oh ! how we did make them git."