Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 25.djvu/319

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and soldier. He found himself after four years of study and schol- arly achievements drprivi-d of tin- diploma, which was the object of his long endeavor; without it his livelihood was imperilled. He wa^ justly outraged by such harshness, and vowed he would castigate Jackson, and prepared himself to execute that purpose. He was a powerful ami daring young man. The friends of both were deeply anxious Jackson was urged to have him bound over to keep the peace. This would involve his oath that he was in bodily fear of his enemy. He repliedĀ : "I will not do it, for it would be false. I do not fear him. I fear no man." Then the superintendent had to take the oath as required by the law, and have the young man bound over to peace. When the war came on Jackson, upon his own pro- motion to a corps, had this young fellow made brigadier, and he became one of the most distinguished generals of the war, and is known to-day as one of the ablest men of our State. Jackson knew he had done his pupil a grievous wrong, and did his best to repair it.

It is a pity where there is so much to admire and wonder at that Jackson's biographers should claim for him accomplishments he did not possess. Some of them tell of his fine horsemanship. He was singularly awkward and uncomfortable to look at upon a horse. In the riding school at West Point we used to watch him with anxiety when his turn came to cut at the head or leap the bars. He had a rough hand with the bridle, an ungainly seat, and when he would cut at a head upon the ground, he seemed in imminent danger of falling headlong from his horse. One biographer tells us "as proof of his skill that no horse ever threw him." This proof would not satisfy a fox-hunter or a cow-boy, or any other real horseman. He could no more have become a horseman than he could have danced the german.

About 1850 Jackson was a lieutenant of artillery stationed at Gov- ernor's Island, when he was invited to accept the chair of Mathema- tics in the Virginia Military Institute.

In those days the government would grant an officer leave of ab- sence for one year to enable him to try such an office before resigning his commission.

So he came up to West Point to see McClellan and myself and other comrades before retiring from the army. He was more cordial and affectionate than was usual with him, for he was never demon- strative in his manners, and he was in good spirits, because of his promotion and the compliment paid him.