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LEE THE AMERICAN. Illustrated.

















Published April iqi4


" Est aliquid sacri in antiquis necessitudinibus"

" La critique pour moi, c'est le plaisir de connaitre
les esprits, non de les regenter."



What has impressed me most in revising these portraits
is their lack of finality. Nous somines des etres ynobiles et
nous jug eo7is des etres viobiles. No two men will take the
same view of another man. Traits which seem most sig-
nificant to some, to others seem negligible. Some will
overlook a little vice for a great virtue, while to others
the little vice makes even the great virtue an object of

Again, one may seize justly, yet be led away in the
presentation. It is difficult to give various qualities their
exact proportion and emphasis. One may stress a marked
trait too strongly and so make it too marked and spoil
that balance which is everywhere essential to the truth of
nature. One may establish one's portrait in a tone which
is not perfectly suited to the temper of the subject. Thus,
the portraits here given of Johnston and of Stuart are
keyed quite differently. I cannot see the two men other-
wise. But others may feel that I have struck a false note
in one case, or in the other, or in both.

This difficulty, or impossibility, of attaining anything
final may make psychography seem a useless and un-
profitable art. Such it would be, if finality were its ob-
ject. It is not. The psychographer does not attempt to
say the complete and permanent word about any of his
subjects. He knows that such an attempt would be in-


deed futile. Instead, he aims simply to facilitate to others,
even a little, what he has himself found to be the most
fascinating and inexhaustible of pursuits, the study of the
human soul. In this study, if there were complete finality,
if you could exhaust the book, even any one particular
book, even your own, and shut it with a snap, half the
fascination would be gone. The wisest of us hardly dares
say, with the soothsayer in Antony and CleopatrUy —

" In nature's infinite book of secrecy
A little I can read."

In some of these Confederate portraits there may be
thought to be a note of undue harshness. All I can say
is that I have endeavored to display and to insist upon
the high and fine qualities manifest in every case. To
pass over or slight the shadows seemed to me neither
just nor wise. As to any partiality in the matter, after
careful self-examination, I can discover no motive which
could lead me to anything of the sort, unless it were an un-
due desire to exalt Lee. Of this I am not conscious, and, if
I have not been misled by some such influence, I feel that
the net result of careful study of Lee's companions in arms
is to bring out more than ever the serene elevation of his
greatness. Some of them were, perhaps, more brilliant
than he, some greater orators, some profounder think-
ers, some even as capable soldiers. Not one approaches
him in those moral qualities, which, as Mr. Adams has
jusdy pointed out, place him, as they do Washington, far
above those who aided him in his terrible struggle.


During my prolonged study of Lee's contemporaries,
which compelled me to take note of their various faults
and weaknesses, I have also continued my careful watch
for similar weaknesses in Lee himself. The suggestion
of anything of the kind has been rare enough ; but in
justice to Johnston and Longstreet and Beauregard I
think it right to print the following very curious passage
from a letter of General G. W. Smith to Johnston him-
self, written in the summer of 1862, before Lee had thor-
oughly established his great reputation. Smith was sore,
from neglect, deserved or undeserved, and wide search
elsewhere reveals no suggestion of a state of mind like
his in any one else. But it must be confessed that just
the defects of manner indicated here are what one would
look for in a temperament like Lee's, if defects were
there at all.

''I came ofi on a three weeks' leave. Just before it ex-
pired I requested Beckham to write to Chilton, for Lee's
information, saying that I would not return because not
well enough, but was improving. I received yesterday a
note from Lee, in answer to Beckham's note to Chilton,
first a layer of sugar, three lines, then two lines telling
me to forward a certificate, and three more lines of sugar.
I shall keep him informed from time to time of the con-
dition of my health. Gaillard is with me, so I feel quite
assured of correct information and judgment in the case,
and do not propose supplying General Lee with any
more surgeon's certificates beyond that upon which the


original leave was granted. He took special pains to tell
me, when I called to find out about Jackson's move-
ments, in order to judge whether I had better stay in
Richmond any longer waiting for a battle, that he could
not grant me leave except on surgeon's certificate ; that
was * his rule,' he said. I told him I did n't come to ask
for leave, but to get information upon which to determine
whether I would yield to the advice of the surgeons and
leave the city, adding that I had already put it off for
ten days or more in anticipation of active operations,
and was getting worse, instead of better. In a semi-pious,
semi-official, and altogether disagreeable manner, he
commenced regretting that I had n't gone sooner ; con-
sidered that the army had lost my services for ten days
unnecessarily — and other like stuff. We *will bide our
time.' All I want is success to the cause ; but there is a
limit beyond which forbearance ceases to be a virtue,
and if provoked much further I will tear the mask off of
some who think themselves wonderfully successful in
covering up their tracks." (O. R., vol. io8, p. 593.)

Some readers may, perhaps, be surprised, in a volume
of Confederate portraits, to find no portrait of either
of the two chief Confederates, next to Lee, Davis and
Jackson. I have, however, already dealt with these dis-
tinguished figures in the chapters on ** Lee and Davis "
and " Lee and Jackson " in Lee the American^ and I felt
that to introduce them here would simply mean a con-
siderable repetition of the earlier studies.


I wish I could thank in detail the very numerous cor-
respondents who have furnished me with suggestions and
corrections. I am especially indebted to Captain Frederick
M. Colston, of Baltimore, for most valuable material and
comment. Professor Ulrich B. Phillips, of the University
of Michigan, has kindly supplied me with advance copies
of his excellent Life of Toombs and of his forthcoming
edition of the Toombs correspondence, which have in-
duced me to modify and considerably enlarge my por-
trait of that fascinating personage. Honorable Robert M.
Hughes, General Johnston's grand-nephew and consci-
entious biographer, has supplemented his courteous pro-
test against my judgment of the general by the commu-
nication of extensive material, on the strength of which
that judgment has been somewhat altered, though not,
I fear, so much as Mr. Hughes would desire.

Seven of the portraits contained in this volume have
been printed in the Atlantic Monthly, the portrait of
General Beauregard in Neale's MontJily Magazi^ie, and
the sketch of the battle of Gettysburg in the YotUh's

Wellesley Hills, Mass.,
September 19, 1913.


I. Joseph E. Johnston . . . . . . i

Brief summary of Johnston's military career — judgments of
his generalship — his ill-luck — in wounds — in being always
too late — Davis a prominent element in Johnston's ill-luck

— Johnston's character a prominent element — rashness, pro-
ducing wounds — the quarrel with Davis — Davis's faulty
attitude — Johnston's — his free criticism — his animosity to
Davis's favorites — to Davis himself — restraint on both
sides during war — bitterness on both sides afterwards —
Johnston's book condemns him — admirable and charming
elements of his character — his courage — frankness — hon-
esty — simplicity — freedom from ambition — affection for
friends and family — devotion of his officers to him — of the
country — of his soldiers — two quotations summing up
Johnston's character.

II. J. E. B. Stuart 33

Stuart's fighting disposition — his early career — capture of
John Brown — Stuart's indifference to danger — his mens' trust
in him — his comradeship with them — his care for them — his
discipline — more than a mere sworder — his self-control —
his foresight and calculation — should Lee have given him
Jackson's place? — his joy in battle — infectiousness of this

— his unfailing spirits — his vanity — love of display —
shows in his writing — his laughter — his love of song — and
dance — and women — their admiration for him — yet his
purity — and temperance — and religion — thorough human-
ness of his quarrel with Trimble — fortunate in his death.

III. James Longstreet . . . . . .63

Dutch characteristics of character and appearance — fighting
qualities — coolness — a marked trait, self-confidence —
shows in relations with Lee — their mutual affection — but


Longstreet's advice and patronage — particularly at Gettys-
burg — Longstreet goes west in 1863 — similar self-confidence
with regard to Bragg — with regard to Davis — with regard to
Law and McLaws at Fort Loudon — and again with regard
to Lee in Richmond campaign — self-confidence also explains
Longstreet's conduct after war — Mrs. Longstreet's testi-
mony — other qualities of Longstreet's character — unde-
niable jealousy and bitterness — towards Lee, Early, Jackson

— but Longstreet's fine qualities — his patriotism — his gen-
erosity — his love for his men — their love for him — Long-
street dies a Roman Catholic.

IV. P. G. T. Beauregard 93

Beauregard's French origin and temperament — his social
charm — his vanity — shown in his love of rhetoric — in his
exaltation of his own achievements — in Roman's biography

— his vanity a cause of jealousy — this makes difficult rela-
tions with Davis — with others — notably J. E. Johnston —
Beauregard's ill-feeling restrained during the war, however —
his patriotism — his military ability — his coolness — his
hold on his troops — and consequent popularity — his fertile
imagination — and unlimited planning — value of his plans —
none of them efifective — dangers of too great imagination —
"driveling on possibilities" — the solace of what might have

V. JuDAH P. Benjamin 121

Diversity of Benjamin's career — disbelieves in biography
and destroys papers — which does him no good — his profes-
sional qualities — oratory — his high character as a lawyer —
in politics strong Southerner — his many failures — attorney-
general of Confederacy — secretary of war — fails — secre-
tary of state — fails — his connection with the St. Albans
raid — not a great statesman — his prominence owing first to
business methods — second to knowledge of men — yet this
not supplemented by sympathy, as with Lee — Benjamin in
private life — his social charm — his smile — his religion —
his quick temper — his quarrel with Davis — his love of ex-


citement — his family relations — not an unscrupulous adven-
turer — nor a mere advocate — genuinely loyal to the Con-
federacy — but not a great man.

VI. Alexander H. Stephens 151

Contradictions in Stephens's character — his delicate health

— his energy of soul — recalls Voltaire — but Stephens had
spiritual as well as physical ills — his melancholy — conquers
this by effort — by religion — by action — by social interests

— his humor — his popularity — his affections — for home —
for persons — for animals — his philanthropy — his tolerance
and gentleness — essentially an intellectualist — follows his
conviction — to the death, if necessary — his intellectualism
in business habits — in religion — in law — in politics — no
partisan, but follows truth as he sees it — believes in eight-
eenth century abstractions — his book — Stephens politically
ineffectual, but historically significant.

VII. Robert Toombs 183

His impressive physique — a fighter — in law — in politics

— delight in opposition — follows own course in all policies —
prominent on Southern side before war — speakership con-
test — Tremont Temple speech — Sumner assault — other
qualities besides fighting — humor — love of simple country
life — hospitality — domestic affection — professional -hon-
esty — balancing qualities and conservatism in politics —
opposes even secession till the end — under Confederacy fails
politically — fails militarily — cause of failure — lack of dis-
cipline — fighting qualities come out again after war — does
much of value for Georgia — dies an unrepentant rebel —
Milton's Satan.

VIII. Raphael Semmes 217

Romance of Official Records — names — Raphael Semmes —
not a pirate — in spite of his own views of privateering — gen-
eral character of Alabama's career — Semmes not romantic
adventurer — elderly, respectable professional man — his
intelligence — his humanity to prisoners — relations with


cre^ — discipline — their affection for him — his private life

— domestic affection — love of nature — religious feeling —
Christian virtues — bearing of these upon his public career —
his patriotism — his freedom from ambition — but defects —
coarse strain in abuse of enemies — something piratical after
all — Byronics — described as corsair in appearance — rhe-
toric — "Rest thee, excalibur."

IX. The Battle of Gettysburg . . .... 247

Origin of the war — a five-act drama — act I, alarums and
excursions — act II, Southern triumph — act III, Vicksburg
and Gettysburg — characters of Lee and of Meade — first day,
battle in the village, Reynolds killed. Confederate advantage

— second day, Longstreet attacks Round Tops — and fails —
third day, Pickett's great charge repulsed — Gettysburg
climax of war — act IV, Wilderness and Sherman's march —
act V, Petersburg — lessons of Gettysburg.

Notes 263

Index 281


Joseph E. Johnston Frontispiece

J. E. B. Stuart 35

James Longstreet 65

P. G. T. Beauregard 95

JuDAH P. Benjamin 123

Alexander H. Stephens i53

Robert Toombs 183

Raphael Semmes 219

The portrait of Alexander H. Stephens is from a photograph by Brady in
the Library of the State Department, Washington, D.C. ; the other por-
traits are from photographs in the Library of the Military Order of the
Loyal Legion of the United States, and are reproduced by the courtesy of
Colonel Arnold A. Rand.


Joseph E. Johnston


Born in Prince Edward County, Virginia, February 3, 1807.

Entered West Point in 1825.

Second Lieutenant, 1829.

Engaged in Black Hawk Expedition, 1832.

Indian wars in Florida, 1836.

Captain, 1838.

Indian wars under Worth, 1842.

Married, July 10, 1845, Lydia McLane.

Served in Mexican War, 1846-47.

Lieutenant Colonel, 1847.

Quartermaster-General, i860.

Resigned U.S. commission, April 22, 1 861.

Commanded at First Bull Run, July 21, 1861.

General, 1861.

Commanded at Williamsburg, May 5, 1862.

Wounded at Fair Oaks, May 31, 1862.

Commanded in Tennessee, 1863.

Opposed to Sherman, 1 863-1 864.

Relieved, July 17, 1864.

Commanded in North Carolina, February 23, 1865.

Surrendered to Sherman, April 26, 1865.

Wrote Narrative of Military Operations, 1874.

Died, March 21, 1891.




Opinions differ as to the quality of Johnston's general-
ship. Let us have the bare, indisputable facts first. After
distinguished service with the United States Army
against the Indians and in Mexico, he was the highest
officer in rank to join the Confederacy, although he was
given only the fourth position among the five Confed-
erate generals. His first command was at Harper's Ferry
and in the Shenandoah Valley. Here he outmanoeuvred
Patterson and appeared at Bull Run in time to assume
control during that battle. He himself admits that he
believed it inexpedient to follow up the Confederate vic-
tory with a march on Washington. In the spring of 1862
Johnston led the Army of Northern Virginia and fought
the battles of Williamsburg and Fair Oaks. After this a
severe wound kept him inactive through the summer
and Lee took his place.

During the first half of 1863 Johnston held a some-
what vague control over the western armies of the Con-
federacy. Davis hoped that he would defeat Grant and
save Vicksburg; but he did neither. After Bragg had
been worsted and had become so unpopular that Davis


could no longer support him, Johnston was given the
command of the Army of Tennessee and commissioned
to resist Sherman's advance through Georgia. This he
did in slow and careful retreat, disputing every disput-
able point, inflicting greater losses than he received, and
wonderfully preserving the discipline, courage, and en-
erg}^ of his army. The Government was not satisfied,
however, and preferred to substitute Hood and his dis-
astrous offensive. Early in 1865, when Lee became com-
mander-in-chief, he restored Johnston, who conducted a
skillful, if hopeless, campaign in the Carolinas, and finally
surrendered to Sherman on favorable terms.

Unsurpassed in retreat and defense, a wide reader
and thinker and a profound military student, Johnston
w^as no offensive fighter, say his critics. Among Northern
wTiters Cox, w^ho admired him greatly, remarks : '' His
abilities are undoubted, and w^hen once committed to an
offensive campaign, he conducted it with vigor and skill.
The bent of his mind, however, was plainly in favor of
the course which he steadily urged — to await his adver-
sary's advance and watch for errors which would give
him a manifest opportunity to ruin him." ^ And on the
Southern side Alexander's summary is that *' Johnston
never fought but one aggressive battle, the battle of
Seven Pines, which was phenomenally mismanaged." 2

Other competent authorities are more enthusiastic.
Longstreet speaks of Johnston as ** the foremost soldier
of the South," 3 and Pollard as "the greatest military


man in the Confederacy." ^ xhe English observer and
critic, Chesney, says : '' What he might have ventured
had a rasher or less wary commander been before him,
is as impossible to say as it would be to declare what
would have been the result to Lee had Sherman taken
the place of Grant in Virginia. As things were actually
disposed, it is not too much to declare that Johnston's
doing what he did with the limited means at his com-
mand is a feat that should leave his name in the annals
of defensive war at least as high as that of Fabius, or
Turenne, or Moreau." ^ Among Johnston's enemies,
Grant said to Bishop Lay, ''When I heard your Gov-
ernment had removed Johnston from command, I was as
happy as if I had reinforced Sherman with a large army
corps"; 6 and to Young, ''I have had nearly all of the
Southern generals in high command in front of me, and
Joe Johnston gave me more anxiety than any of the
others. I was never half so anxious about Lee." ^ Sher-
man, who should have known, declares that ''Johnston
is one of the most enterprising of all their generals." »
And in the opinion of Ropes, writing in dispassionate
study, "Johnston had as good a military mind as any
general on either side." ^

Yet I confess, I wish the man had achieved something.
The skill, the prudence mixed with daring, which held
every position before Sherman till the last possible mo-
ment and then slipped away, without loss, without disas-
ter, cannot be too much commended. Perhaps Stonewall


Jackson would have done no more. But I cannot help
thinking Stonewall Jackson would have tried.

No one understands a man better than his wife. Mrs.
Johnston adored her husband. He w^as her knight, her
chevalier, her hero, as he deserved to be. But when he
scolded a girl who was attacked by a turkey-gobbler and
neither ran nor resisted, saying, " If she will not fight,
sir, is not the best thing for her to do to run away, sir?"
Mrs. Johnston commented, "with a burst of her hearty
laughter, * That used to be your plan always, I know,
sir.' " 10 No doubt the lady was mocking purely. No
doubt she would have raged, if any one else had said it.
Yet — no one understands a man better than his wife —
when she understands him at all.

In short, too much of Johnston's career consists of the
things he would have done, if circumstances had only
been different.

And here it is urged, and justly urged, that fortune
was against him. All his life he seems to have been the
victim of ill luck. Lee was wounded, I think, only once.
Johnston was getting wounded perpetually. He himself
told Fremantle that he had been wounded ten times.^^
General Scott said of him before the war that he " had
an unfortunate knack of getting himself shot in every
engagement." ^^ A shell struck him down at Fair Oaks,
just as it seemed that he might have beaten McClellan
and saved Richmond.

Nor was it wounds only. Johnston had a vigorous


frame, compact, muscular, energetically martial ; yet
bodily illness would sometimes hamper him just at a
crisis. On the voyage to Mexico Lee was enjoying him-
self, keenly alive to everything that went on about him.
" I have a nice stateroom on board this ship," he writes.
*'Joe Johnston and myself occupy it, but my poor Joe is
so sick all the time I can do nothing with him." ^^

And external circumstance was no kinder than the
clayey habitation. ** It seemed Johnston's fate to be
always placed on posts of duty where extended efforts
were necessarily devoted to organizing armies," 14 writes
his biographer. He was always in time for toil, for dis-
cipline, for sacrifice. For achievement he was apt to be
too late. It is surprising how often the phrase recurs in
his correspondence. ** It is very unfortunate to be placed
in such a command after the enemy has had time to pre-
pare his attack." is « j arrived this evening, finding the
enemy in full force between this place and General Pem-
berton, cutting off the communication. I am too late." ^^
** It is too late to expect me to concentrate troops capable
of driving back Sherman." ^^ At the greatest crisis of all,
after retreating a hundred miles to draw his enemy on,
he at last made his preparations with cunning skill for a
decisive stand, which should turn retreat into triumph
— too late. For the order arrived, removing him from
the command and robbing him once more of the gifts of

It was from Davis that this blow came and Davis, or


so Johnston thought, was Johnston's ill luck personified.
There are legends of quarrel and conflict even in early
days at West Point, laying the foundation of lifelong
hostility ; but those who knew Johnston best discredit
these. At any rate, the two were unfriendly from the be-
ginning of the war, and certainly nothing could be more
damaging for a general than to have the head of his
Government prejudiced against him. It was for this rea-
son, in Johnston's opinion, that commands were given
him when it was too late to accomplish anything and
taken away when he was on the brink of achieving
something great. It was for this reason that necessary
support was denied and necessary supplies given grudg-
ingly, for this reason that his powers were curtailed, his

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