Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 18.djvu/224

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224 Southern Historical Society Papers.

general's wreath on their collars. This same county gave to Alabama. Brigadier General W. H. Forney, a gallant soldier, who is now, and for years has been, one of her most faithful and trusted members in the National Congress. Born and reared amidst such favorable and' stimulating surroundings, it is not a matter of surprise that these young men should have been prompted by an honorable emulation to secure those prizes that were justly their own, for " blood will tell." Entirely free from the " pomp and circumstance of glorious war," ever kind and accessible to those about him, skilful and able in the field, Major-General Hoke readily became the idol of his soldiers. While not attaing to so high a rank, Brigadier- General Johnson was an able and fearless soldier. The life of Ramseur, while briefer, was not less brilliant and attractive than that of any of his cotemporaries. It has- been eloquently said by another : " A book of dates, a table of dy- nasties, a succession of kings, or popes, or presidents these in one aspect are history ; but if they are to attract, or impress, or endu- ringly influence us, behind these dry bones of the historian's cabinet there must glow and palpitate the living lineaments of a man."

But should we choose an element of pre-eminent power to interest mankind, that element must consist of the life and deeds of some prominent actor upon the great theatre of war. While many ad- mire, enjoy and are improved by the triumphs of the imagination- and the reason, the impulse and the heart of the multitude in every age and clime have been taken captive by the great actors, rather than by the great thinkers among men. This has been true from the time of Joshua until that of Mahomet, and from thence to the present time, and we conclude that the multitude is right. Even the eloquence of Demosthenes, the oratory of Cicero, the glowing pe- riods of Longinus, the beauties of Gibbon, the orphic rhythm of Milton, the profound reasoning of Bacon and the marvellous crea- tions of Shakespeare, all have their enthusiastic admirers, but the heart of the multitude goes out in profound admiration for the cour- age, the genius and marvelous achievements of the great conquer- ors of the world. It attends them not only in their triumphs, but accompanies them with its sympathy in disappointments and misfor- tunes. So many elements are combined to constitute the truly great commander I will not endeavor to enumerate them, but will content myself by saying that the popular sentiment that the ideal genera4 displays his greatest power upon the battle-field is an error, of which the late Von Moltke is a noted example. His greatest achievements consist in so preparing and mobilizing his forces as to virtually secure