Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 18.djvu/169
General Joseph Eggleston Johnston. 169
soldiers by fighting under cover habitually, and to attack only when bad position or division of the enemy's force might give us advan- tages counterbalancing that of superior numbers.' The wisdom of this course was subsequently clearly developed and fully justified.
COOLNESS AND COURAGE.
"With great decision of character he combined unrivalled cool- ness and courage. He appeared absolutely insensible to fear. The roar of cannon, the rattle of musketry, the clash of squadrons, and the shock and confusion of battle seemed to compose rather than to agitate him. His heroic courage and sublime composure enabled him in the greatest confusion of battle to readily discover the slighest weakness of his assailant and to promptly repair any mistake or disorder of his own. He watched the tide of battle with the same composure as that with which the expert chess-player watches the movements of his opponent. So calm was he amid every difficulty and so composed was he amid every danger, that what had been so eloquently said of the great Conde is eminently true of him, that those fighting around him declared that ' if they had an affair of impor- tance to transact with him they would have chosen for it that very moment when the fires of battle were raging around him, so much did his spirit appear elevated above them, and, as it were, inspired in such terrible encounters, like those lofty mountains whose summits rising above clouds and storm find their serenity in their elevation and lose not a single ray of the light by which they are enveloped.'
LEAVING THE OLD ARMY.
" His battles with the Indians and his service in Mexico demon- strated those qualities of coolness and courage, skill and strategy, that so pre-eminently distinguished him as a commander. He emerged from the Mexican war adored by the army and trusted by the Government. He had but to will it and the forces of the United States would ultimately have been placed in his hands. But his ambition yielded to patriotism. Leaving behind a brilliant post and sacrificing the possibilities of a glorious future, he offered to the South his life and his sword. He was made a general in the Confed- erate army. His unwillingness to exchange his plans for those of the Administration more than once brought upon him the censure of the Government and the criticism of his friends, but neither the doubt of one nor the mistrust of the other cooled his ardor nor