Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 31.djvu/204

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196 Southern Historical Society Papers.

It is as a soldier, however, that his career deserves especial notice. At the end of the year 1860, it had already become evident that the differences between the two sections of the Union were irreconcila- ble, and that the "irrepressible conflict" could not be repressed much longer, but must soon be fought out to a final determination. When this condition of affairs became apparent, the young student at the German universities saw where his duty lay, and with that same unflinching steadiness of purpose and devotion to duty which afterwards characterized his conduct on many a bloody field of bat- tle, he at once made ready to return to his native land and devote his talents and energies to the service of his beloved State. To him the quiet and sequestered cloisters of learning, the classic shades of university life, were at once charming and engrossing, but now he saw from afar that the red lightning of war was beginning to flash over his home, and heard its deep thunders as they were beginning to growl in the distance before the storm burst in wrath over the de- voted heads of his people; and so, casting aside the student's gown for the uniform of the soldier, and laying aside his .books to take up the sword, he embarked for America, and arrived before the hostili- ties were actually begun, or his State had taken the final step of se- cession which was to be to her the crossing of the Rubicon, and to make her soil the stamping-ground of armies and the battlefield of the greatest war of modern times. In the debate which was then in progress he took sides with those who believed that the differences should be settled inside the Union, and like General Lee and many others who afterwards became the mainstay and support of the Southern cause, endeavored to delay the tide which was then setting in towards the disseverance of the Union, and the bloody war which would inevitably follow. To this end he spoke and worked for the election of Union delegates to the State convention; a speech of his at Holcombe Hall, when the matter was up for discussion being still remembered by many residents of Lynchburg for its earnestness and ability. The die was cast against his views, however, and when this was the case he did as General Lee and General Early and so many ardent supporters of the Union felt it their duty to do he " went with his State," and thereafter there was on his part no re- pining and no holding back, and naught save the most steadfast de- votion and heroic sacrifice for the sake of the cause to every South- ern, heart so dear.

In May, 1861, when the clans were gathering for the contest he, with two of his brothers, was mustered in at Forrest Depot, Vir-