By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Boys' Book of Famous Soldiers
Author: McSpadden, J. Walker (Joseph Walker), 1874-1960
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Boys' Book of Famous Soldiers" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.








Copyright, MCMXIX


The World Syndicate Publishing Co.

_Printed in the United States of America_


So much has been written about the great soldiers of the world, that it
is a matter of considerable hardihood to attempt to present another
volume on the subject in any sense "new."  But the Great War has not
only brought to the center of the stage a new group of martial
figures--it has also intensified and revivified our interest in those
of a bygone day.  The springs of history rise far back.  We can the
better appreciate our leaders of today and their problems, by comparing
them with the leaders and problems of yesterday.  Waterloo takes on a
new aspect when viewed from Vimy Ridge.

The present book includes a round dozen of the great soldiers of
yesterday and today.  The list is about equally divided among British,
French, and American leaders, and is confined to the last two
centuries.  Each man selected is typical of a particular time and task.
His life story contains a message of definite interest and value.

In telling these stories, however, in the limits of brief chapters, we
have carefully abstained from the writing of formal biographies.  Such
a treatment would have resulted merely in a rehash of time-worn data
beginning "He was born," and ending "He died."

The plan of these stories is to give a personal portrait of the man,
using the background of his early life--to trace his career up from
boyhood through the formative years.  Such data serves to explain the
great soldier of later years.  Every schoolboy knows, for example, what
Washington did after he was placed in command of the Colonial Army--but
what he did in the earlier years to _deserve_ this high command is a
story not so well known.  Yet it is both interesting in itself, and
serves to humanize its subject.  The stately Washington steps down off
his pedestal, and shoulders again his surveyor's tripod of boyhood
days, while he invites us to take a tramp through the Virginia wilds.

The writing (and, we hope, the reading) of these life stories brings an
especial message.  We discover that in each instance the famous soldier
was not a pet of Fortune, but was selected for his high and arduous
task, because of the training received in his formative years.  His
peculiar gift of leadership was merely an expression of his indomitable
will to forge ahead.  He exemplified in his life the Boy Scout motto,
"Be Prepared."

















"Turn your guns around on them!  Stop them!"

The command was given in peremptory tones to a demoralized group of
soldiers.  Not waiting for them to carry out his orders, the young
officer who gave them leaped from his horse, and with his own hands
turned one of the guns upon the advancing foe.

Had it been the Argonne Forest, and the year 1918, it would have been a
machine gun that the officer manned.  But the time was over a century
and a half earlier than this--and the weapon a light brass field-piece,
which after being fired once, must be painfully reloaded.

Meanwhile, the redskins came on.

The young officer, whose name has come down to history as George
Washington, was trying to stem the tide of defeat.  It was the fateful
day when old General Braddock of the British army received his first
and fatal lesson in Indian warfare.  Says an old Pennsylvania ranger
who was also in the fray:

"I saw Col. Washington spring from his panting horse, and seize a brass
field-piece as if it had been a stick.  His look was terrible.  He put
his right hand on the muzzle, his left hand on the breach; he pulled
with this, he pushed with that, and wheeled it round, as if it had been
a plaything.  It furrowed the ground like a ploughshare.  He tore the
sheet-lead from the touch-hole; then the powder-monkey rushed up with
the fire, when the cannon went off, making the bark fly from the trees,
and many an Indian send up his last yell and bite the dust."

Yet this resourceful officer, fighting almost single-handed against
certain defeat, was then only a young man a few months past twenty-one.
He was displaying the same qualities which were later to make him the
commander-in-chief of a Revolution.

George Washington was a typical example of the born leader.  He had
received no set military training save that which the stern necessity
of frontier life forced upon him.  Yet at nineteen we find him no less
courageous and active when facing the enemy.  He had been reared as a
farmer boy, with no other intention at first than the successful
management of his father's estates in Virginia.  But boys in those days
had to learn to handle the rifle as readily as the plow, and Washington
was no exception to this rule.

Born in 1732 (every schoolboy knows the month and day) at Bridges
Creek, Virginia, his first home was a plain wooden farmhouse of
somewhat primitive pattern, with four rooms on the ground floor, and a
roomy attic covered by a long, sloping roof.  But before he was more
than able to walk this house burned down, and the family removed to
another farm in what was later Stafford County--an attractive knoll
across the Rappahannock River from Fredericksburg.

When George was eleven years old he lost his father, which threw him to
a great extent upon his own resources, so far as outdoor life was
concerned, although his education was still the care of his mother, who
is pictured as a gentlewoman of the old school--one born to command.
To her Washington owed many traits, among them his courtliness.  In
those days, the gentle-bred boys always used very formal language when
addressing their elders.  And so we find Washington writing to his
mother, even after he became of age, beginning his letter with,
"Honored Madam," and ending "Your dutiful son."

After his father's death, George Washington made his home for four or
five years with his brother Augustine, who lived at the old homestead,
now rebuilt, at Bridges Creek; and near there he attended school.  It
was in no sense a remarkable school, being kept by a Mr. Williams, but
it was thorough in the fundamentals, the "Three R's," without going in
much for the frills.  Some of Washington's exercise books are still
preserved, showing in a good round hand a series of "Rules of Civility
and Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation."

Such things sound somewhat priggish today; but in those days they were
a necessary part of one's education.  Washington was probably neither
better nor worse than the run of Virginia boys, of gentle stock, in
those days--just a good-natured, fun-loving youngster, not especially
bright as a scholar, but known as a plodder.  One of his early
playmates was Richard Henry Lee, who also grew up to be a famous
Virginian; and between the two some droll schoolboy letters passed.

Washington was to be, like his father, a Virginia planter; and this may
have had something to do with the sort of education he received, which
was not very extensive.  But along with his early training for farm
life there were many echoes of the military, which must have had a
lasting influence on the growing lad.  His brother, Lawrence, had been
a soldier in His Majesty's service, and his stories of campaign life so
fired George's imagination that he was for throwing his books away, at
fifteen, and going into the navy.  He was too young for the army, but
Lawrence, who rather encouraged him, told him that he could get him a
berth as midshipman.

It is related that the young middy's luggage was actually on board a
British man-of-war anchored in the Potomac, when Madam Washington, who
all along had been reluctant to give her consent, now withdrew it
altogether; and the "dutiful son" was saved from the navy for a larger

The boy was then just turned fifteen, and seems to have rebelled from
the humdrum life of the plantation.  He was at the restless age, and
his naturally adventurous disposition sought a more active outlet.
This proved to be surveying--a profession then greatly in demand.
There were great tracts of wilderness in Virginia still inhabited by
Indians and infested by wild animals, which had never heard the sound
of the woodman's axe.  These tracts had been included in grants from
the King, but their boundaries had never been exactly determined.  To
make such surveys was a task requiring both skill and courage.

Washington was naturally an exact and painstaking boy.  He now applied
himself to geometry and trigonometry; and at the ripe age of sixteen
was ready to sling his somewhat crude surveyor's instruments across his
shoulder and subdue the wilderness.  It promised excitement and
adventure--and the work was well paid.

Washington was even then a strapping big fellow, tall and muscular, and
nearly six feet in height.  He afterwards exceeded this height, but at
sixteen there were naturally some hollows which remained to be filled
out.  He is described as having a well-shaped, active figure,
symmetrical except for the unusual length of his arms, indicating great
strength.  His light brown hair was drawn back from a broad forehead,
and grayish-blue eyes looked happily and perhaps soberly on the
pleasant Virginia hills and valleys.  His face was open and manly, set
off by a square, massive jaw, and a general expression of calmness and
strength.  "Fair and florid, big and strong, he was, take him for all
in all, as fine a specimen of his race as could be found in the English

It was at this turning point in his career that Washington was
fortunate in finding a friend and protector in Lord Fairfax, whose
daughter was the wife of Lawrence Washington.  This distinguished old
veteran, a long-time friend of the Washington family, took a particular
fancy to the young man.  They hunted the fox together, and hunted him
hard.  In those days fox-hunting was no kid glove and pink tea affair.
It was one of many perilous outdoor sports that frontier Virginia could
afford; and as they hunted, the old English nobleman had opportunity to
learn what sort of stuff this young Virginian was made of.  He saw that
here was a union of sturdy qualities upon which he could rely.

Lord Fairfax then owned, by kingly grant, a vast estate stretching
across the Blue Ridge into the untrodden wilderness.  Until the estate
was properly surveyed, it would be subject to endless lawsuits.  We can
imagine the following conversation on one of their helter-skelter rides

"What are you studying now, George?"

"Mathematics, sir."

"Humph!  Like it?"

"In part--but some of it is stiff."

"What are you going to do with it?"

"Well, sir," hesitated George, "since my mother objects to my going
into the navy, I thought I would turn my hand at surveying.  There's
lots to be done around here."

"The very thing!  I think I could use you, myself.  When you are ready
let me know, and I'll send you over the hill yonder to mark out where
Fairfax starts, and where he ends.  My cousin George will go with you."

So, in some such fashion it was arranged, and in the spring of 1748,
George Fairfax and George Washington set forth on their adventures.
The Virginia mountains were just budding forth in the freshness of
spring when they started out by way of Ashby's Gap, in the Blue Ridge,
entering the valley of Virginia.  Thence they worked through the
Shenandoah region, crossing the swollen Potomac and surveying the hilly
country of what is now Frederick County.

It was a rough and hazardous trip lasting over a month, but one that
left them fit and seasoned woodsmen.  They had learned what it was to
shift for themselves; to defend themselves against prowling beasts in
an untrodden wilderness; to swim swollen currents; to be wet and cold
and hungry; to come suddenly upon a war party of Indians, who would not
have scrupled to kill them, had the savages known that these two youths
were plotting and dividing up the hunting grounds which they claimed as
their own.

That all these things were a part of their experience we note from
jottings made briefly but methodically by Washington in his diary of
the trip.  As to the survey itself, a Virginia title attorney remarked,
many years afterward, that in clearing up old titles the lines surveyed
by Washington were more reliable than any others of their day.

Lord Fairfax was so pleased with its results that he procured for his
protégé an appointment as public surveyor.  It was his induction into
three years of hard frontier life, which was the finest possible
schooling to him, for his later career as soldier.  We find him writing
to a friend:

"Since you received my letter of October last, I have not slept above
three or four nights in a bed, but after walking a good deal all the
day, I have lain down before the fire upon a little hay, straw, fodder,
or a bearskin, whichever was to be had, with man, wife, and children,
like dogs and cats; and happy is he who gets the berth nearest the
fire.  Nothing would make it pass off tolerably but a good reward.  A
doubloon is my constant gain every day that the weather will permit of
my going out, and sometimes six pistoles."

This would indicate that he was a thrifty lad, honestly pleased with
honest earnings--and no mere adventurer.

About this time, a company was formed, called the Ohio Company, for the
purpose of opening a trade route through northern Virginia and
Maryland.  George Washington's two elder brothers, Lawrence and
Augustine, were interested in the 'enterprise'; and they naturally
called in their young surveyor brother to consultation.  The project
sounded fascinating, but presented many elements of danger.  The French
were becoming more and more active, and making warlike preparations to
seize and hold all the western frontier.  In order to develop and hold
this land against the French and their Indian allies, it was necessary
to place the work in the hands of a military leader.

George Washington was at this time only nineteen years old, but fully
grown--a man of powerful physique, hardened and seasoned by his outdoor
life.  Despite his youth and lack of military experience, the Ohio
Company secured for him the appointment of adjutant general of this
district.  Washington at once placed himself under several military
officers of his acquaintance, among them a Major Muse, and soon
acquired at least the rudiments of warfare, the manual of arms.  The
broader school of tactics he was to acquire for himself in the field of

An interruption to his military career came in the illness of his
brother Lawrence.  A voyage to the West Indies was determined upon, for
the invalid, and George accompanied him--on the young man's first sea
voyage, and of which he has left us entertaining glimpses in his
ever-faithful diary.  But after a winter in the South Seas, Lawrence
grew worse and was brought home to die.  George, though only twenty,
was made one of the executors to the estate, Mount Vernon, which became
henceforth his home.

Shortly afterward, we find George Washington given still higher office,
but one which entailed heavy responsibilities.  The newly appointed
governor of the state, Robert Dinwiddie, growing uneasy at the constant
reports of alliances between the French and Indians, determined to send
a commissioner to the French commander, to ask by what right he was
building forts in English dominions; and also to treat with the
Indians, in the way of counter proposals against the French.

It was a hazardous mission, and one which also involved tact,
diplomacy, and a first-hand knowledge of the wilderness.  But we are
not much surprised to find Washington, at twenty-one, given the
commission of major and sent on this undertaking.

Leaving Williamsburg with a little company of six, he set out on a
cross-country trip by horseback, of more than a thousand miles.  The
details of this adventurous journey make interesting reading, but
cannot find place in this necessarily brief story.  They reached an
Indian village near where the city of Pittsburgh now stands, then
turned south to the junction of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers
where dwelt a friendly tribe of Indians.  Thence they went to Fort le
Boeuf, where the French commander received the Virginia major politely,
entertained him, but tried at the same time to win his Indian friends
away from him.

The return journey was terrible.  The horses had become so weak that
they were useless except as light pack animals.  The little party
struggled along on foot.  Washington with one companion went on ahead.
It was the dead of winter, but when they reached the Ohio River, they
found that instead of its being frozen solid, as they had hoped, it was
a turbulent mass of tossing cakes of ice.

"There was no way of getting over," writes Washington in his journal,
"but on a raft, which we set about, with but one poor hatchet, and
finished just after sun-setting.  This was a whole day's work; we next
got it launched, then went on board of it, and set off; but before we
were half-way over, we were jammed in the ice in such a manner that we
expected every moment our raft to sink and ourselves to perish.  I put
out my setting-pole to try to stop the raft, that the ice might pass
by, when the rapidity of the stream threw it with so much violence
against the pole, that it jerked me out into ten feet of water; but I
fortunately saved myself by catching hold of one of the raft-logs.
Notwithstanding all our efforts, we could not get to either shore, but
were obliged, as we were near an island, to quit our raft and make to
it.  The cold was so extremely severe that Mr. Gist had all his fingers
and some of his toes frozen, and the water was shut up so hard that we
found no difficulty in getting off the island on the ice in the
morning, and went to Mr. Frazier's."

Here they succeeded in procuring horses, and in a few days more, Major
Washington handed in his report to the Governor at Williamsburg.

This report stirred the Virginia House of Burgesses to action.  It
showed that the whole western frontier was imperilled.  One of
Washington's recommendations, that a fort be built at the fork of the
Ohio, was put into effect at once; and a Captain Trent was sent out
with some woodsmen to begin its construction.  But before the fort was
completed a force of French descended upon it and captured it.  Near
its site they themselves built a larger one, which they called Fort
Duquesne--the site of the later city of Pittsburgh.

This action on the part of the French was equivalent to a declaration
of war.  It was really the beginning of the Seven Years' War between
England and France, for the control of America--a drama in which
Washington was to have no little part.

When news of the French move reached the Governor, he sent Washington,
with the rank of lieutenant-colonel, and a small armed force against
the invaders.  The men were mostly half-trained militia whom Washington
had been drilling for some such emergency.  They were raw soldiers, but
hardy fellows, who thoroughly believed in their young commander.  He
himself, although but twenty-two, was a seasoned campaigner of the
wilderness.  Now he was essaying his first trial as a soldier.

His men marched to a point about half-way to Fort Duquesne, blazing a
road for other troops to follow, and constructing a fort to serve as a
base of supplies.  There he sent out scouts to reconnoitre.  They
reported an advancing party of French who were ready to attack any
English whom they might encounter.  Washington did not wait for them to
attack.  He decided to attack first.  Taking a force of about forty men
he made a night march in the pelting rain, to surprise the enemy.  It
reminds us of his later famous exploit at Trenton.

"The path," he wrote, "was hardly wide enough for one man.  We often
lost it, and could not find it again for fifteen or twenty minutes, and
we often tumbled over each other in the dark."

However, at daybreak on this May day of 1754, they reached the camp of
their Indian allies; who in turn took them with stealthy tread to the
hollow where lay the French--waiting to ambush the colonists.  But it
was their turn to be surprised, and they quickly sprang to their feet
and grasped their weapons.

Washington gave his men the order to fire--the first of many such
orders that were to come in the stormy days of two successive wars--and
in a sense this was the opening gun.  A lively but brief skirmish
followed.  The French lost their commander, Jumonville, and nine
others.  The English lost only one man, killed, and two or three
wounded.  The remainder of the French, twenty-two in number, were taken

The affair made a great stir, and was the forerunner of extended
hostilities.  Washington foresaw the results immediately, and set his
men to constructing a fort which was called Fort Necessity.  He had won
his first battle and it greatly inspired his troops.  Writing
afterwards to his brother, Lawrence, he said: "I heard the bullets
whistle; and, believe me, there is something charming in the sound."

Their fort, however, was well-named.  For presently the French and
Indians marched down upon them, nine hundred strong, and as Washington
had, all told, but three hundred poorly equipped men, they were
compelled to surrender.  The terms of surrender were liberal enough,
permitting the English to return home with their light arms.

Thus did Washington's first campaign come to a somewhat inglorious
close.  He tendered his resignation, and may have felt humiliated over
his defeat; although the House of Burgesses passed a vote of thanks to
him and his staff, "for their bravery and gallant defense of their
country."  But later when Governor Dinwiddie requested him to head
another regiment against Fort Duquesne, Washington politely declined.
He had not received sufficient support in the first venture to warrant
another such attempt.

The next stage in the French and Indian War--and likewise in
Washington's military development--was the arrival of General Braddock
with two regiments of seasoned troops from England.  Braddock was an
old campaigner of forty years' experience, who had long since learned
all that was to be taught about the art of warfare.

"He'd teach those French a lesson--and as for the Indians--stuff and

Braddock's arrival made a great stir in the colonies.  It was the first
sign of real help from the Mother Country.  The governors of four or
five of the colonies met him at Alexandria.  It was near Mount Vernon,
and the young retired officer watched the preparations with keenest
interest.  He could not help contrasting this splendid equipment with
the scanty packs which his own men had carried.

Much to his delight, he was invited by General Braddock to join his
staff as an aide-de-camp, a post which Washington joyfully accepted.
Braddock had heard something of the Virginia colonel even before
leaving England; and was not so much honoring this colonial officer, as
immeasurably strengthening his own good right arm--if he had only had
the discernment to know it.  As results showed, Braddock did not need
his heavy cannon nearly so much as he needed an insight into wilderness

Just before Braddock started west on his ill-fated expedition, he
conferred at Fredericktown, Maryland, with the Postmaster General of
Pennsylvania, a strong, practical man, who was to obtain some
greatly-needed horses and wagons for his artillery and supplies.  This
man, a middle-aged and rather plain sort of fellow--and the youthful
Virginia colonel whom he may have met then for the first time--possibly
attracted very little attention in the gaudy military array.  But
American history could ill have spared either Benjamin Franklin or
George Washington.

We will not narrate again in detail here the oft-told story of
Braddock's Defeat--how he insisted on marching across the mountains and
valleys of Pennsylvania, as though on parade--with banners flying,
fifes shrilling, and drums beating.  It was a brave display, and such
as the old General was accustomed to, in Europe.  It would undoubtedly
put the French and their skulking allies to instant flight!

Against such a method of warfare Washington raised his voice of
counsel, but in vain.  The grizzled veteran brushed him aside.
Washington was for rapid marching, with scouting troops deployed on

"But this prospect," he writes, "was soon clouded, and my hopes brought
very low indeed, when I found that, instead of pushing on with vigor,
without regarding a little rough road, they were halting to level every
molehill, and to erect bridges over every brook, by which means we were
four days in getting twelve miles."

A few days before Braddock reached the vicinity of Fort Duquesne,
Washington had fallen sick of a fever, and had barely recovered
strength enough to rejoin the command.  But the slow progress to which
he refers, enabled him to do so before the attack--though he was still
far from well.

As he rode up to meet the general, he could not help but admire the
beauty of the scene.  The troops had crossed a ford on the Monongahela,
about fifteen miles from the fort, and now marched in close formation
along its winding bank, as though on dress parade.  But his admiration
of the display only intensified his sense of danger--the sixth sense of
every woodsman.  He begged his general to scatter his forces somewhat,
or at least send scouts ahead.  But Braddock rebuked him angrily for
presuming to teach English regulars how to fight.

Suddenly the sound of firing was heard at the front, although no
attacking party could be seen.  The soldiers had marched straight into
an ambush, as Washington had feared.  With whoops and yells the Indians
commanded by a few French were firing from behind every rock and tree.
The regulars were thrown into confusion.  This type of warfare was new
to them.  They did not know how to answer it.  The front ranks recoiled
upon the others, throwing all into wild turmoil.

Washington at once threw himself into the fight--counselling,
persuading, commanding.  A company of Virginians, previously sneered at
as "raw militia," spread themselves out as a protecting party of
skirmishers.  The English officers, also, be it said, displayed the
utmost bravery in trying to rally their men.  The general, as though to
atone for his headstrong folly, seemed everywhere at once.  He had two
horses shot from under him, before receiving wounds in his own body,
which were to prove mortal.

It was all over in a comparatively short time.  The troops which had so
proudly marched, with arms glittering in the sun, were put to rout by
an unseen foe.  That they were not almost annihilated was due to the
presence of Washington and the Virginians.  They fought the enemy in
kind, and protected the fugitives until some sort of order could be

Washington it was who collected the troops and rescued the dying
general.  He it was who led them back to meet the reinforcements under
Dunbar.  And he it was who laid the remains of Braddock in the grave,
four days later, and read the burial service above him.

Again had the young soldier to taste the bitter dregs of defeat--but it
was salutary, and a part of the iron discipline which was making him
into the future leader.

That he had not lost any prestige by this experience, but rather gained
thereby, is shown by the call that came urgently to him, soon after, to
take command of all the forces of Virginia.  He did not want the
command, but felt that after such a vote of confidence he could not
decline it.  And so for three years more he struggled on, a general
without an army, to protect the western frontier of Virginia against
invasion.  In April, 1757, he wrote:

"I have been posted for more than twenty months past, upon our cold and
barren frontiers, to perform, I think I may say, impossibilities; that
is, to protect from the cruel incursions of a crafty, savage enemy a
line of inhabitants, of more than three hundred and fifty miles in
extent, with a force inadequate to the task."

In the winter of 1758 his health broke down completely, and he feared
that it was permanently impaired.  He resigned his commission and
retired to Mount Vernon for a much-needed rest.

Thus closes the first and formative period of Washington's life--the
period with which the present brief sketch is chiefly concerned.  As we
read of those years of adventure and hardship from an early age, we
realize that here was being hammered into shape upon the anvil of
circumstance a very special weapon for some great need.  Washington was
not an accident.  He was a fine example of what special training can do
for the boy who does his bit with all his might.  And because he was
better fitted for the task than any other man in America, we find him,
a few years later, chosen to lead the colonist forces against mighty
England.  A pen picture of him at the time, from the diary of James
Thacher, a surgeon in the Revolution, deserves repeating:

"The personal appearance of our commander-in-chief is that of a perfect
gentleman and accomplished warrior.  He is remarkably tall--full six
feet--erect and well-proportioned.  The strength and proportion of his
joints and muscles appear to be commensurate with the pre-eminent
powers of his mind.  The serenity of his countenance, and majestic
gracefulness of his deportment impart a strong impression of that
dignity and grandeur which are peculiar characteristics; and no one can
stand in his presence without feeling the ascendancy of his mind, and
associating with his countenance the idea of wisdom, philanthropy,
magnanimity, and patriotism.  There is a fine symmetry in the features
of his face indicative of a benign and dignified spirit.  His nose is
straight, and his eyes inclined to blue.  He wears his hair in a
becoming cue, and from his forehead it is turned back, and powdered in
a manner which adds to the military air of his appearance.  He displays
a native gravity, but devoid of all appearance of ostentation.  His
uniform dress is a blue coat with two brilliant epaulets, buff-colored
underclothes, and a three-cornered hat with a black cockade.  He is
constantly equipped with an elegant small-sword, boots and spurs, in
readiness to mount his noble charger."

In this description, somewhat fulsome in its praise, we can read
between the lines the confidence and affection which inspired his
troops during all the trying days of the Revolution.

Washington has suffered much at the hands of his biographers.  They
have over-praised him, with the result that many readers of today have
come to regard him as scarcely human--a sort of demi-god.  But one or
two more recent biographers have had the courage and conviction to tear
aside the mask, and we can, if we will, see Washington the
man--quick-tempered at times, perhaps profane in the heat of battle,
fond of display and good living in his hours of ease--but also a man to
be trusted in every crisis, cool, courageous, resourceful--a strategist
who made the ablest generals that England could send over against him,
suffer by comparison.

And when the great fight was won, and the last of their proud generals,
Cornwallis, had grudgingly yielded up his sword--it is pleasant to
think of Washington writing about it to--whom do you think?--a
white-haired old man now ninety years of age, who had given the young
surveyor his first start in life.  Lord Fairfax was an old Tory, an
unreconstructed English gentleman of the old school, who drank the
King's health religiously every day at dinner.  It must have been with
mixed feelings, therefore, that he heard of Cornwallis's surrender.
But pride in his protégé must have conquered.  We can imagine him as
lifting his glass with trembling fingers to another toast:

"Here's to George Washington!"

And to that toast grateful America will ever respond.


  1732.  February 22.  George Washington born.
  1747.  Left school.
  1748.  Became a surveyor.
  1753.  Sent by Governor Dinwiddie on a mission to the French.
  1754.  Appointed lieutenant-colonel and sent against the
         French and Indians.
  1755.  Joined General Braddock's staff with rank of colonel.
  1757.  Resigned his army commission.
  1759.  Married Martha Dandridge Custis.
  1775.  Appointed commander-in-chief of American forces,
         in Revolution.
  1781.  Receives surrender of Cornwallis.
  1788.  Became first President of the United States.
  1797.  Ended second term as President.
  1799.  December 14.  Died at Mt. Vernon.



"Can a man 'come back'?"

This is a question one frequently hears nowadays; and the answer is,
more often than not, a shrug of the shoulders.  For the man who has
once failed--or even passed his first chance of success--is not
considered seriously in this busy day and time.  He is a
"down-and-outer"; he cannot "come back."

But there are exceptions to every rule, and one of the most striking
ones in all history, to the above adage, is furnished by the man who
led the Union forces to victory in the American Civil War, and later
achieved the presidency.

Here was a man who, at forty, was generally regarded as a failure, a
ne'er-do-well.  But for the accident of war he would in all likelihood
have ended his days "unwept, unhonored, and unsung."  We have a picture
of this middle-aged man, clerking for his younger brothers in a country
store, at eight hundred dollars a year, and day by day sinking further
into the slough of despond.

He was of little real value to the store, at even that meager salary.
He was no good at driving bargains or at palavering with the trade.  He
tried to keep out of sight as much as possible among the boxes and
shelves.  His clothing was poor and shabby, his hair and beard long and
unkempt.  The brand of failure was stamped all over him.

Yet this was the man who in five short years was to become the most
famous military leader of his day.

The life story of Ulysses Simpson Grant abounds in strange paradoxes.
If ever a man was made the plaything of fate, it was he.  His career
has even persuaded some writers into the belief that he was "the Man of

His father, Jesse Grant, was a self-taught man, who is said to have
received but six months actual schooling in his life.  He was all the
more determined that his son, Ulysses, should have the education that
he lacked.  We find him intervening more than once to drive the boy
contrary to the latter's wishes--but to his later good.  The father was
tall, about six feet, rugged and aggressive, making friends and enemies
with equal readiness.  Ulysses' mother, however, was quiet,
self-possessed, and patient--qualities which she afterwards gave the
boy.  Jesse Grant said of her in later years: "Her steadiness and
strength of character have been the stay of the family through life."

At the time of Ulysses' birth (April 27, 1822) the family were living
at Point Pleasant, Claremont County, Ohio.  But when he was still an
infant they removed to Georgetown, a few miles away, where the father
established a tannery.  At this time the town was little more than a
clearing hewed out from the virgin forest.  Wood was plentiful and
cheap, and for this reason, Mr. Grant bought a tract of land and set up
his tannery.

Ulysses, or "Lys" as the neighbors called him, was the oldest of six
children--three boys and three girls.  As soon as Ulysses was old
enough, his father started him to school.  There were no public schools
in those days, so he went to a school maintained by private
subscription and taught by a man named John White.

White had his own notions about a curriculum, and one of the most
important was discipline.  On top of his desk always reposed a bundle
of good husky switches--except at frequently recurring times when they
were beating a tattoo on some hapless scholar's back.  It was his boast
that he often used up a whole bunch in a single day.  However, his
school was no different from many another of the time.  Beatings were
taken as a matter of course.  "Spare the rod and spoil the child!"

Ulysses went to this school until he was fourteen, and mastered the
elementary studies.  Between whiles he helped his father at the tannery
or on the farm.  The tannery work he always hated.  But outdoor work,
particularly with horses, he delighted in.  At seven years of age he
drove a team with all the skill of a man; and it was said that when he
could scarcely walk he could ride horseback.  The story is told of him
that at a county fair, where a prize of five dollars was offered to any
one who could stick on a trick pony, Ulysses won it after several other
boys had got thrown helter-skelter.  He flung his arms around the
pony's fat neck, and stuck on, though as he afterward said: "That pony
was as round as an apple."

He tells another amusing story of himself, in these early days.  He
greatly coveted a young colt owned by a neighboring farmer, and after
teasing his father, the latter tried to buy it for him.  But he offered
only twenty dollars for the colt, and the owner wanted twenty-five.
After some dickering without any result, the boy went to the owner with
this message, which he delivered all in a breath:

"Father says I may offer you twenty dollars; and if you won't take
that, I am to offer you twenty-two and a half; and if you won't take
that for your colt, I am to pay you twenty-five dollars."

"It would not take a Connecticut farmer to tell what was the price paid
for the colt," he added afterward when telling the story.

This little incident, while amusing, reveals a trait in his character
which persisted all through life.  He was the soul of candor.  He
called a spade a spade.  And he never could bargain.

Another early trait revealing itself in later years was something that,
in his Memoirs, he calls a superstition.  It was a dislike to turn back
when once started on a journey.  If he found himself on the wrong road,
he would keep going until he came to some branching road rather than
turn aside.  This habit was destined to make some of the generals on
the other side, in the Civil War, somewhat uncomfortable.  They found
that he never quit.

Thus grew up the boy, Ulysses Grant.  He was not considered
particularly bright at school, but he was a plodder, going along
keeping his own counsel.  He could not talk readily, even in a small
company, and was hopeless when it came to "speaking a piece" on Friday
at the school.  But he was a sturdy, outdoor boy, by this time
remarkably proficient with horses.  At the age of fifteen he had
explored the back country for miles roundabout.

His father, however, had never lost sight of the fact that the boy was
to get a good schooling--and frequently brought up the subject, to
"Lys's" discomfort.  The lad was not especially keen for any more
books.  But the opportunity came--just as others were to come, to shape
the whole course of young Grant's life.

The son of a neighbor had received an appointment to West Point, but
had failed to pass the entrance examinations.  Jesse Grant immediately
wrote to the Congressman of the district, in behalf of Ulysses,
although the two men were on opposite political sides and had quarreled
bitterly: "If you have no other person in view and feel willing to
consent to the appointment of Ulysses, you will please signify that
consent to the Department."

Ulysses got the appointment, despite the political feud, and it is
pleasant to note that the two men healed their differences and became
good friends again.

The boy received news of his appointment without much enthusiasm.  He
would much rather be a horse trader, he told his father.  But the
latter was determined--and Ulysses went.

Nor did his appointment please others in the village, who thought the
boy dull.  One man meeting Mr. Grant in the street, said bluntly: "I
hear that your boy is going to West Point.  Why didn't our
Representative pick some one that would be a credit to the district?"

This ill-natured speech may have been inspired by the fact that
political feeling ran high at that time; and Jesse Grant as a staunch
Whig and Northerner had made a good many enemies.

Ulysses was coached for West Point at an academy at Ripley, Ohio,
conducted by William Taylor, and passed his entrance examinations with
fair grades.  His best study was mathematics.  He entered at the age of

It took young Grant many a long day to accustom himself to the Military
Academy.  The hazing encountered by every Freshman he didn't seem to
mind, so the older men soon let him alone.  But the drill and the
dress!  To this farm lad it was deadly.  These were the days of the
"ramrod" tactics of Winfield Scott--the starch and stock and buckram
days of the army.  "Old Fuss and Feathers" his critics called him, but
with all his love of pomp and circumstance Scott was a splendid
soldier, whether on the drill ground, or in the face of the enemy.
Nevertheless, to Grant it was a constant trial, at first.  He felt like
a fish out of water.  General Charles King thus speaks of him:

"Phlegmatic in temperament and long given to ease and deliberation in
all his movements at home, this springing to attention at the tap of
the drum, this snapping together of the heels at the sound of a
sergeant's voice, this sudden freezing to a rigid pose without the move
of a muscle, except at the word of command, was something almost beyond
him.  It seemed utterly unnatural, if not utterly repugnant.
Accustomed to swinging along the winding banks of the White Oak, or the
cow-paths of the pasture lot, this moving only at a measured pace of
twenty-eight inches, and one hundred and ten to the minute, and all in
strict unison with the step of the guide on the marching flank or at
the head of column, came ten times harder than ever did the pages of
'analytical' or the calculus.

"Grant had no sense of rhythm.  He had no joy in martial music.  The
thrill and inspiration of the drum and fife, or the beautiful harmonies
of the old Academy band were utterly lost on him.  In all that class of
1843, it may well be doubted if there lived one solitary soul who found
there less to like or more to shrink from, than this seventeen-year-old
lad who, thanks to the opportunities and to the training there given
them, was in less than a quarter of a century to be hailed as the
foremost soldier of more than two millions of men in the Union blue."

But this was only one of the Grant paradoxes--the contradictions which
were to mark his strange career.

Life at West Point was not all hardship, however.  In his quiet way
Grant made a few warm friends.  On account of his initials he was
promptly nicknamed "Uncle Sam," which was soon shortened to "Sam."  He
excelled in two widely different courses--mathematics and horsemanship.
We have already noticed his early skill with, and love for horses.  Now
it was to stand him in good stead.  He was assigned, during one year,
to a particularly intractable young horse--a big, raw-boned sorrel,
named York.  One of York's tricks was to rear and throw himself
backward with his rider.  But in Grant he found his master, and the
steed not only grew tractable, but developed under his rider's training
into a famous jumper.  Horse and rider are vividly described by General
James B. Fry, in his Reminiscences:

"The class, still mounted, was formed in line through the center of the
hall.  The riding master placed the leaping bar higher than a man's
head and called out, 'Cadet Grant!'  A clean-faced, slender, blue-eyed
young fellow, weighing about one hundred and twenty pounds, dashed from
the ranks on a powerfully built chestnut-sorrel horse, and galloped
down the opposite side of the hall.  As he turned at the farther end
and came into the stretch at which the bar was placed, the horse
increased his pace and measuring his stride for the great leap before
him, bounded into the air and cleared the bar, carrying his rider as if
man and beast had been welded together.  The spectators were

"Sam" Grant graduated from the Military Academy in July, 1843, one of
thirty-nine out of a class that had originally numbered one hundred.
Among his classmates were Sherman, Thomas, Meade, Reynolds, and other
soldiers later known to fame.  It cannot be said, however, that his
entry into the army was auspicious.  He was still by no means
reconciled to the idea of being a soldier.  He had not received the
assignment he had coveted, the Dragoons; and moreover his health was
poor.  He was troubled with a persistent cough which indicated weak
lungs--but thanks to his life in the open and horseback riding he
escaped a possible attack of consumption.

After a three months' furlough visiting his father's home, now at
Bethel, Ohio, he reported for duty at the Jefferson Barracks, near St.
Louis, as a second lieutenant in the infantry.  The best horseman in
his class had to walk!

But there were compensations.  Outside of duty, Grant could always
procure a mount; and about five miles away from the Barracks--just an
easy canter--was the home of his college chum and roommate, Lieut.
Frederick T. Dent.  The Dents had a big, hospitable country place, and
they speedily made Fred's friend feel at home.  One member of the
family who had heard much about "Sam" Grant from her brother's letters,
long before Grant appeared in person, was Julia Dent now a charming
girl of seventeen.  It was not long before her friends began teasing
her about "the little lieutenant with the big epaulets"--and while she
laughed and blushed she didn't seem to mind.

The little round of social gayeties, however, was of brief duration.
Trouble with Mexico was brewing, and in 1844 relations had become so
strained that an "Army of Observation," as it was called, was assembled
under General Zachary Taylor, old "Rough and Ready," on the border.
Grant's company was ordered to join this army, on the briefest notice.
The young lieutenant had time only for a brief leave-taking with the
Dents, and one member in particular, but her final message meant all
the world to him.

In March of the next year, Congress sanctioned the annexation of Texas,
and trouble with Mexico began in earnest.  History records the rapid
course of events which made up the Mexican War.  We can only notice the
events which directly concern the career of Grant.  His company was a
part of the expeditionary force of three thousand men destined to see
active service on the border.

By the middle of March they had reached the Rio Grande, and pitched
camp opposite the city of Matamoras.  Their army was far from its base
of supplies and in a country swarming with the enemy.  Before war was
formally declared, two officers who were caught outside the camp were
killed, and two whole companies captured.

There was no railroad, and General Taylor was compelled to send a
considerable force back twenty-five miles for supplies.  On the third
of May the returning troops encountered a much larger force of
Mexicans.  A battle followed which continued after sundown.  During the
night the Mexicans retreated, but were found further on, in a much
stronger position.  They awaited the Americans on the far side of a
pond, their position being further fortified by logs and branches of

The captain of Grant's company was temporarily absent, and it fell to
Grant to lead their advance.  By this time the bullets were humming
merrily, but he directed his men to deploy to one side and approach
through thicker woods.  At last they reached a clearing near the head
of the pond, and he ordered a charge.  They captured the position
immediately in front of them, and made a few prisoners, including one
colonel.  The engagement all along the line had been too brisk for the
Mexicans, and they broke and ran, leaving a considerable quantity of
guns and ammunition.

As for the little lieutenant, it was his first battle, and first
command of a company, and he had reason to feel satisfied with the
day's work.

As one result of the engagement, the Americans now crossed the river,
and became an Army of Invasion.  And now that war had actually begun,
volunteers began to flock to the standard.  The ensuing months of that
year were packed with incident and no little danger.  In August, Grant
was made quartermaster and commissary of the regiment--a position of
responsibility which he held until the army was withdrawn.

Although Grant's duties were now such as to withdraw him from active
fighting, he was not the man to take advantage of the fact.  The lively
battle at Monterey bears witness of this.  After a hard encounter on
the outskirts of the city, the Americans stormed it from the north and
east, and began to drive the Mexicans out, street by street.  But when
the citadel was in sight, the commanding officer, Colonel Garland,
found to his dismay that they were short of ammunition.

"We must have ammunition at once," he announced to his men.  "Who will
volunteer to ride back with the message?  I do not wish to detail any
one, as it is extra hazardous."

At once, Lieutenant Grant stepped forward and saluted.

"I will go, Colonel," he said.

"You are just the man.  If anybody can ride through, you can.  But

And Grant did.  Crouching low on his mustang like an Indian, he dashed
down the bullet-swept streets, made the open, and delivered his message
to General Twigg.

The Mexican War was marked by the political rivalry of two American
Generals, one of whom was destined to win the highest honors in the
gift of his country--General Zachary Taylor, old "Rough and Ready," and
General Winfield Scott, "Fuss and Feathers."  Both were able leaders,
though totally unlike in their methods.  Taylor cared nothing for
personal appearance or etiquette.  He worked in close contact with his
men.  Scott, on the contrary, was fond of display, and issued his
orders through his staff officers.

Scott was now given supreme command of the Mexican campaign, and
summoned all the regular troops for an invasion by way of Vera
Cruz--the scene of a later landing, in very recent years.  Taylor was
left with only the volunteers, but he utilized them at Buena Vista to
such good effect that at the next election old "Rough and Ready" became
President of the United States--the very thing that his political foes
at Washington had tried to prevent, by giving Scott the supreme command.

Grant's company, with other regulars to the number of eight thousand
men, landed at Vera Cruz, and early in April began its perilous march
into the interior.  Roads had to be built and bridges constructed, and
the army engineers toiled night and day.  Among them were two young
West Pointers, George B. McClellan and Robert E. Lee.  Thus it was that
Grant and Lee first came to know each other, in the wilds of Mexico.

By the middle of May they had reached Puebla, which they captured
easily.  But the army needed supplies, and Quartermaster Grant was sent
out with an escort of one thousand men to forage the surrounding
country.  They filled their wagons and returned safely.  This jaunt
delighted Grant's soul.  It was far better than bringing up the rear on
a dusty line of march.  In one of his letters home he writes:

"I have been delighted with the Mexican birds.  Their plumage is
superlatively splendid.  They beat ours in show, but to my mind do not
equal them in harmony.  I have written this letter with my sword
fastened to my side, my pistols within reach, not knowing but that the
next moment I may be called into battle."

It is an odd coincidence, that at a later day we find another
soldier--destined to lead his country's armies to victory in a far
mightier conflict--using the soil of Mexico as a training ground.  That
soldier was John J. Pershing.

One other exploit of Grant's in the Mexican campaign must be mentioned,
as it was not only daring, but it also revealed his resourcefulness.

During the attack upon Chapultepec, Grant noticed that one of the two
main routes, the San Cosme road, was flanked by a small mission church
surmounted by a belfry.  He reasoned that if they could mount a
howitzer in the belfry, that section would be made mighty uncomfortable
for the Mexicans.  He went at once to his superior officer, explained
his plan, and secured a detail of men with one gun.  The gun had to be
taken to pieces, but with it in hand they compelled the priest to open
the church doors to them, mounted the steps to the belfry, reassembled
the gun, and it was soon beating a lively tattoo down upon the backs of
the astonished Mexicans.

For this "gallant conduct at Chapultepec," as the official citation
read, Grant won his brevet of captain.

With the signing of the treaty of peace, Grant came home on furlough,
and in August, 1848, was married to Julia Dent.  He took his wife to
his father's home, and was made much of by his admiring townsmen.  His
father was inordinately proud of "my Ulysses," now a captain and cited
for gallantry in action.  In the darker days that were to follow, he
looked back to this time as the very pinnacle of his son's greatness.

That there _were_ darker days, and many of them, must be chronicled in
any true sketch of Ulysses S. Grant.  He was to taste the very dregs of
humiliation and despair.  He was to see these same admiring friends
turn from him one by one, with a sneer, or reproachful shake of the

For days of peace were at hand--long days of barrack routine and
enforced idleness.  To Captain Grant these days coming after the
excitement of Mexico were at first welcome, then speedily grew tedious.
He had always hated the humdrum life of the drill ground.  Now he was
shifted, after a few months, to a camp at San Francisco.  The distance
was so great, travelling as they did by way of the Isthmus of Panama
(this was long before the railroads), that he could not take his wife
with him.  His slender pay also would not admit of it.

Life in all the army camps was free and easy.  Liquor flowed freely,
and drunkenness was unfortunately common.  Grant like others, drank,
but not to excess.  With him, however, one glass was sufficient to
flush his face and render his walk unsteady.  It was not long before
the life at this far-removed western camp began to tell upon him.  He
quarreled with his commanding officer, and finally resigned from the

He had to borrow money in order to return home, a long and painful
journey by way of New York, and it was a discouraged, broken-looking
man who greeted his wife and his parents.  This was the summer of 1854.
Captain Grant was then only thirty-two, but it already seemed as though
the best and only valuable part of his life was behind him.  The recent
conquering hero, with his dashing uniform and epaulets, had become a
somewhat seedy-looking individual with shoulders prematurely stooped,
and shuffling gait.

The word speedily went round the village, with many a nod and wink:

"Told you so!  Went up like a rocket; came down like a stick."

His wife, however, had not lost her confidence in him.  Through all the
trying days that were to follow, she remained staunch and loyal.  She
persuaded her father to let her have a sixty-acre tract of land, near
St. Louis.  There she brought Ulysses and their children, and there he
began life anew, as a plain farmer.

He built with his own hands a log house of four rooms, with chimneys at
each end, and wide fireplaces.  With grim humor he called the place,
"Hard-scrabble."  But he liked the place.  He liked the freedom of it,
with his horses and other live stock.  Despite its hardships he
welcomed it as an escape from the petty exactions of military life.

Nevertheless, he could not make it pay.  He did not have sufficient
capital or bodily strength to succeed.  An attack of chills and fever,
in 1858, put the finishing touch to this episode, and he sold his stock
and farm the following spring.

During the ensuing few months he moved from pillar to post, trying
various ventures and succeeding with none.  The fates seemed against
him.  In St. Louis, whither he had drifted, he was regarded with open
scorn as, what we would now designate, a "down-and-out."  One reason
for his poor success lay in the fact that he was a Northerner, and the
city was seething with talk of secession.  The clouds of Civil War were
already gathering, and men began to distrust each his neighbor.

At this juncture his father, who seems rather to have turned against
him also, came to his relief.  He offered Ulysses a position in his
leather business, now in charge of the younger boys.  Ulysses
thankfully accepted, although the pay was only fifty dollars a month.
He brought his wife and boys to Galena, where at any rate he was sure
of having a roof over his head.

"The brothers found him of no earthly account at driving bargains, or
tending store," says General Charles King.  "He could keep books after
a fashion and do some of the heavy work in handling the miscellaneous

Another soldier, who became his devoted follower in the later days, had
his first sight of Grant at this down-at-the-heels period.  "I went
round to the store," he says; "it was a sharp winter morning, and there
wasn't a sign of a soldier or one that looked like a soldier about the
shop.  But pretty soon a farmer drove up with a lot of hides on his
sleigh, and went inside to dicker, and presently a stoop-shouldered,
brownish-bearded fellow, with a slouch hat pulled down over his eyes,
who had been sitting whittling at the stove when I was inside, came
out, pulling on an old light-blue soldier's overcoat.  He flung open
the doors leading down into the cellar, laid hold of the top hide,
frozen stiff it was, tugged it loose, towed it over, and slung it down
the chute.  Then one by one, all by himself, he heaved off the rest of
them, a ten minutes' tough job in that weather, until he had got the
last of them down the cellar; then slouched back into the store again,
shed the blue coat, got some hot water off the stove and went and
washed his hands, using a cake of brown soap, then came back and went
to whittling again, and all without a word to anybody.  That was my
first look at Grant, and look at him now!"

But in all likelihood there would not have been another chance to
"look" at him, had not the great Civil War broken out.  It was to prove
in his case that what seemed failure was merely lack of opportunity.

When South Carolina seceded and the call for troops came, the
stoop-shouldered clerk in the hide store began to straighten up.  The
call to arms put new life in his blood.  He felt his old confidence
returning.  He refused a local captaincy, after he had demonstrated
what he could do in drilling recruits, saying: "I have been in the
military service fourteen years, and think I am competent to command a

He went to Springfield, Illinois, and offered his services, and after
some delay was given a desk in the adjutant-general's office.  It was
not long before he proved his efficiency, and his advice was sought
more and more by the Governor, in organizing the State Guards.  When
the 21st regiment was mustered into service, he was made its colonel.
He had put his foot on the first rung of the ladder of success.

The 21st, like other bodies of volunteers, was a loosely-knit, unruly
set of men.  They took military life as a huge picnic, but speedily got
over that attitude--under Grant.  On their first long hike, it is said
that their canteens were filled with whiskey, instead of water--until
Grant went through on a personal tour of inspection, and ordered every
canteen emptied out on the ground.  The way he took hold of that
regiment and licked it into shape opened the eyes of Governor Yates and
his staff.  In two months it was the best drilled regiment in the
State; and when President Lincoln wrote to the Governor asking
suggestions for promotions, Grant's name headed the list.  He was made
a Brigadier-General.

The story of the Civil War and Grant's great part therein belong to a
longer chronicle than this.  Step by step this stern, quiet soldier
fought his way up, winning his country's battles and his own as well.
In the full tide of war he found himself--and better still his country
discovered him.  He was never after to prove recreant to his trust.

"We will fight it out along this line if it takes all summer," is one
of his typical remarks, and one most often quoted.  It was toward the
last of the hard-fought war, when the Southern forces under Lee were
doing their utmost to fend off the inevitable.  Grant, now the
commanding General of the Union forces, was still putting into practise
the quiet, bull-dog qualities that had led his armies to victory.

Then came the final dramatic scene at the historic surrender at
Appomattox.  Lee had come to discuss terms with him, and now stood
awaiting his arrival, erect, courtly, handsome--the typical Southern
gentleman that he was.  Down the road came riding a gaunt-looking man,
with the familiar stoop-shoulders, and mud-bespattered trousers and
boots.  It was the general-in-chief on his way to greet his beaten foe!

The two men looked each other in the eye, then clasped hands like old
friends.  Grant recalled the days of the Mexican campaign, and was
surprised that Lee knew so much about him in those days.  He wanted to
talk old times, and Lee himself brought up the subject of surrender.

Grant took his seat at a table and wrote out the simple and generous
terms which allowed officers and men to return to their homes, on
giving their word not to take up arms against the United States
government again.

Lee's fine, dignified features softened as he read the terms--so much
more magnanimous than he had dared to hope.

"My men are nearly starving," he began--

"What do you need?" interrupted Grant; and gave instant orders that the
defeated army should be supplied with rations.

"Tell the boys to go home and go to work," he said.

That was Grant.


  1822.  April 27.  Ulysses Simpson Grant born.
  1839.  Received appointment to U. S. Military Academy, West Point.
  1843.  Graduated.
  1845.  Went as second-lieutenant to join Taylor's forces in Mexico.
  1848.  Brevetted captain for gallantry.
  1848.  Married Julia T. Dent.
  1854.  Resigned his army commission.
  1861.  Re-entered army at outbreak of Civil War.  Commissioned
         colonel, then brigadier-general.
  1863.  Made major-general.
  1864.  Given supreme command of the Union forces, with rank
         of lieutenant-general.
  1866.  The grade of general created for first time, and
         conferred on him.
  1868.  Elected President.
  1885.  July 23.  Died at Mt. McGregor, New York.



A gray-haired college president sat talking kindly with a young
sophomore who had fallen behind in his studies.

"My boy," he said, "you must study if you would succeed.  Only patience
and industry will prevent your failure here and your failure in after

"But, General, you failed," replied the sophomore with an amazing

"I hope that you may be more fortunate than I," was the quiet answer.

Literature contains nothing finer than that by way of the retort

The speaker was Robert E. Lee--the time not many months after the
surrender of the Southern army.  Many were there to brand him as a
"failure," just as this thoughtless sophomore had done, and to all such
critics his reply was silence.  In the seclusion of a small Virginia
college he lived and worked, keeping sedulously out of public affairs,
writing and saying nothing about his campaigns.  He left to history the
final verdict, which has found him, not a failure, but one of the most
brilliant soldiers of this or any land.

In Lee's early life and ancestry his nearest parallel is Washington.
These two greatest Virginians were born within a few miles of each
other, in Westmoreland County.  Lee was born just seventy-five years
after Washington, (January 19, 1807) and like him was descended of
famous lineage.  His father, Light Horse Harry Lee, fought by the side
of Washington in the Revolutionary War; and it was he who in a memorial
address on the great leader coined the immortal phrase: "First in war,
first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen."

Still another ancestor, Richard Henry Lee, had been born many years
earlier in the same old mansion where Robert Edward Lee first saw the
light of day.  Richard Lee it was, who was a boyhood friend and
confidant of George Washington; and who later became one of the signers
of the Declaration of Independence.

It is not strange, therefore, to find that the career of the first
great Virginian profoundly influenced the second.  "One familiar with
the life of Lee," says Thomas Nelson Page, "cannot help noting the
strong resemblance of his character in its strength, its poise, its
rounded completeness, to that of Washington; or fail to mark what
influence the life of Washington had on the life of Lee.  The stamp
appears upon it from his boyhood, and grows more plain as his years

The old homestead in which Lee was born deserves some notice on its own
account.  It was built by Thomas Lee, a grandson of Richard Lee, the
emigrant who came to Virginia about the time that Charles I was losing
both his crown and his head.  While Charles II was still in exile, this
same Thomas Lee offered the king a haven in Virginia, which was not

The original brick structure was destroyed by fire, but the house was
rebuilt on the same site during the time of Queen Anne, and it is said
that she aided in its reconstruction.  This was the ancestral home of
the Lees for several generations.

Robert E. Lee, though naturally proud of his lineage, never showed
great interest in the family tree.  He never had the time or the
inclination to study genealogy, and always said that he knew nothing of
it beyond the fact that Colonel Richard Lee had come to America during
the reign of Charles I.  Upon having a family seal and crest made, he
apologized for the seeming parade by saying, "I have thought, perhaps
foolishly enough, that it might as well be right as wrong."  Later,
however, when approached on the subject of publishing a family history,
he wrote: "I am very much obliged to Mr. ---- for the trouble he has
taken in relation to the Lee genealogy.  I have no desire to have it
published, and do not think it would afford sufficient interest beyond
the immediate family to pay for the expense.  I think the money had
better be appropriated to relieve the poor."

Harry Lee, Robert's father, was not only a soldier, but also a man of
letters.  He loved the classics, and has left memoirs written in
spirited vein.  He had reached middle life, however, before Robert was
born, and passed away when the boy was eleven.  It was the mother's
influence--and here again we have a parallel with Washington--which was
paramount in the early days.  She was a Carter, of an equally old and
distinguished family, and is spoken of as an amiable and gracious lady.

When Robert was still a child, his family moved to Alexandria, and very
shortly his father went away on a trip for his health, from which he
never returned.  Between the boy and his mother the ties became very
close.  He was devoted to her, and on her part she said, after he went
away to school, "You have been both son and daughter to me."

Long afterward, Lee alludes to this period in a letter to his own son,
by way of counsel: "A young gentleman who has read Virgil must surely
be competent to take care of two ladies; for before I had advanced that
far I was my mother's outdoor agent and confidential messenger."

Robert Lee obtained his first schooling at the old academy in
Alexandria, then taught by a Mr. Leary, who remained always his good
friend.  Later he attended a better known school, conducted by a strict
Quaker, Benjamin Hallowell--Brimstone Castle, the boys called it,
solely on account of the color of the brick walls.  Hallowell himself
was rarely if ever brimstone in character, though he could be stern
enough on occasion.  He "thee'd" and "thou'd" in the most orthodox
style, and decried all warfare.  Despite his pacifist teaching,
however, young Lee's earliest ambition was to become a soldier.  It was
in his blood.

He was fond of outdoor sports, especially hunting and horseback riding.
His lifelong fondness for horses brings to mind the same trait in
Grant, his later antagonist.  In his older days Lee would tell with
enthusiasm how as a boy he had followed the hunt, not infrequently on
foot, for hours over hill and valley without tiring.  Again he wrote:
"I know the pleasure of training a handsome horse.  I enjoy it as much
as any one."  His famous steed, "Traveller," was known throughout the
Army of Virginia, during the War, and the sight of him caused many an
eye to grow moist as he followed riderless the remains of his beloved
master to their last resting place.

At the Hallowell school, Lee chiefly excelled in mathematics, a study
which was later to be of great value to him, in the engineers' corps of
the army.  Hallowell paid a tribute to his pupil after the latter
became famous, saying: "He was a most exemplary student in every

One could wish, however, that instead of such idle compliments, the
schoolmaster had really searched his memory and given us some personal
anecdotes of Lee at school.  There is actually very little on record
about his early life.  He seems to have grown into an attractive and
likeable boy, studious, somewhat reserved, and by no means remarkable.
One kinswoman writes:

"I have often said since he entered on his brilliant career that,
although we all admired him for his remarkable beauty and attractive
manners, I did not see anything in him that prepared me for his so far
outstripping all his compeers."

Lee's older brother, Sydney, had already entered the navy, and Lee
himself decided upon the army, as his choice of profession.  At the age
of eighteen he applied for a cadetship at the Military Academy at West
Point, and received it direct from President Andrew Jackson himself.
There is a tradition that when Lee presented himself before the hero of
New Orleans, that doughty Tennessean looked him over from head to foot,
then passed him on with the terse comment, "You'll do!"

And Robert Lee did.  In college he made a record that shines to this
day.  He was given the coveted cadet adjutancy of his corps.  He
graduated second in a class of forty-six.  And he did not receive a
single demerit during his entire college career--for rusty gun, or cap
on the floor, or late at drill, or twisted belt,--or any of the hundred
and one things that are the bane and stumbling block of the West
Pointer's existence.  Such a record seems almost too good to be true,
and one is tempted to wish for at least one escapade to enliven the

Yet Lee was by no means a prig.  Even his detractors of later years
never accused him of that.  He was popular with his fellows and fond of
the give-and-take of the drill ground.  His ability to make and hold
friends was one of the outstanding traits of his whole life.  His men
who followed him through the "Lost Cause" fairly idolized him.

General Joseph E. Johnson, another Southern leader, was a classmate of
his at West Point and gives us this description of him there.  "We had
the same intimate associates, who thought, as I did, that no other
youth or man so united the qualities that win warm friendship and
command high respect.  For he was full of sympathy and kindness, genial
and fond of gay conversation, and even of fun, while his correctness of
demeanor and attention to all duties, personal and official, and a
dignity as much a part of himself as the elegance of his person, gave
him a superiority that every one acknowledged in his heart.  He was the
only one of all the men I have known that could laugh at the faults and
follies of his friends in such a manner as to make them ashamed without
touching their affection for him."

Lee graduated from West Point with the Class of '29, and the rank of
second lieutenant of engineers.  His first important move after leaving
school was to choose for wife Mary Custis, daughter of George
Washington Parke Custis of Arlington, the last branch of the Washington
family.  Here again the fates linked up the names of Washington and
Lee.  The two homes at Arlington and Mt. Vernon were only a few miles
apart on the Potomac, and as a final link in the chain we find, years
after, at the close of his life, Lee giving his last efforts to
building up Washington College, which was to be known thereafter as
Washington and Lee.

When Mary Custis became Mrs. Robert E. Lee there was some disparity in
their fortunes.  She was the heiress of the Custis estate, while he was
drawing only the meager pay of a second lieutenant.  But such was her
pride and confidence in him, that she turned her back on money and
decided to live on her husband's income.  It was harsh training for a
time, but it fitted her to become a real helpmeet for him; and in the
rigorous days of the Civil War she was glad that she had learned early
to "do without."

One of Lieutenant Lee's first assignments in the engineering corps was
the construction of harbor defenses in Hampton Roads.  As he labored to
make these as strong as possible, he little dreamed that it would be
his problem, a quarter of a century later, to study how he might
demolish them.

From Hampton Roads he was transferred to Washington, and made assistant
to the chief engineer--an agreeable change as it brought him close to
his wife's home.  Mounted on a favorite steed he could easily "commute"
back and forth between office and home.  On one occasion it is related
that he invited a brother officer, Captain Macomb, out home for the
night, and as the latter had no mount, Lee took him up behind himself,
and down Pennsylvania Avenue they went, saluting other officers whom
they encountered, with great glee.  That was one time when a
commutation ticket was good for two.

Five years after graduation he had worked up to a first lieutenancy,
and two years more found him a captain.  In 1835 he was appointed on a
commission to fix the boundary line between Michigan and Ohio.  A few
months later he was detailed to make an important study of the
Mississippi River and Valley with a view to determining how to prevent
the annual overflows with their consequent damage to property.  His
researches were chiefly along the upper river at Illinois.  It is said
that while there he was struck with the enormous potential energy of
the current, and reported that if a dam were constructed at a certain
place, a great storehouse of power would be possible.  This was long
before the day of the dynamo, by which such power could be harnessed.
Many years later, however, his dream came true, at the place he had
indicated,--the great power dam nearly a mile long blocking the "Father
of Waters" for the first time in his tumultuous career, at Keokuk, Iowa.

Farther down stream, above St. Louis, he began a system of river
improvements which aroused no little opposition among property owners.
The dispute that arose was one of the first things which brought the
name of Robert E. Lee to public attention.  But despite the
short-sighted protests of some citizens of St. Louis, Lee went quietly
ahead and carried the work through to the permanent betterment of the
city.  "I was sent here to do certain work, and I shall do it," was his
terse comment.

When he had completed his work on the Mississippi, he was sent to New
York to complete the harbor defenses at Fort Hamilton--down at the
gateway of the city.  He had been made captain of engineers by this
time, and was looked upon as one of the ablest men in his line of work,
in the army.

It was not long before his mettle was to be tested in actual warfare.
The trouble with Mexico which had been smouldering for several years at
length burst into flame.  After the first victories along the border
under General Zach. Taylor, a campaign from the sea was undertaken,
under General Winfield Scott, who landed at Vera Cruz.  The purpose was
to march overland to the capital, reducing the country as they went;
and to make this possible the army engineers were in demand.  They
answered the call gladly, for the spirit of adventure ran high, and
every army officer welcomed the chance to see active service.

In the corps of engineers we find several names destined to become
famous--Lee, Beauregard, McClellan, Foster, Tower, Stevens, Totten, and
others; while Grant was attached to the commissary of the same army.
It was in effect a training school for the great drama of a few short
years later.

Captain Lee was placed on the personal staff of General Scott, and
given supervision of important road and bridge building.  In a letter
to his wife, dated Rio Grande, October 11, 1846, he writes: "We have
met with no resistance yet.  The Mexicans who were guarding the passage
retired on our approach.  There has been a great whetting of knives,
grinding of swords, and sharpening of bayonets ever since we reached
the river."

This was written while serving with General Wool in northern Mexico.
He took part in the battle of Buena Vista, his first engagement, and
was then summoned to Vera Cruz by Scott.  That doughty old General and
former commandant at West Point had all along shown a great partiality
for Lee; and in the campaign which was to follow, we find him
constantly writing of his young staff officer in glowing terms.  One
such incident is typical.

Lee had undertaken alone an all-night exploration of a desolate, lava
tract called the Pedregal, which had been shunned by scouts and
troopers alike.  It was treacherous country, difficult to traverse, and
possibly infested by the enemy.  General Scott writes: "I had
despatched several staff officers who had, within the space of two
hours, returned and reported to me that each had found it impracticable
to penetrate far into the Pedregal during the dark. . . .  Captain Lee,
having passed over the difficult ground by daylight, found it just
possible to return to San Augustin in the dark, the greatest feat of
physical and moral courage performed by any individual, in my
knowledge, pending the campaign."

Another General, P. F. Smith, also bears tribute to this and other such
feats: "I wish partially to record my admiration of the conduct of
Captain Lee, of the Engineers.  His reconnaissances, though pushed far
beyond the bounds of prudence, were conducted with so much skill that
their fruits were of the utmost value--the soundness of his judgment
and personal daring being equally conspicuous."

At Vera Cruz Lee had the pleasure of meeting his older brother, from
whom he had long been separated.  This was Lieutenant Sydney Smith Lee,
who had entered the Navy before Robert went to West Point.  Now for the
first time the brothers, sailor and soldier, fought side by side.  But
it was with mixed feelings that Robert Lee passed through this
experience.  He was brave enough on his own account, but he constantly
trembled for Sydney!  He had placed a battery in position to reduce the
town, and thus describes the ensuing action:

"The first day this battery opened Smith served one of the guns.  I had
constructed the battery, and was there to direct its fire.  No matter
where I turned, my eyes reverted to him, and I stood by his gun
whenever I was not wanted elsewhere.  Oh!  I felt awfully, and am at a
loss what I should have done had he been cut down before me.  I thank
God that he was saved.  He preserved his usual cheerfulness, and I
could see his white teeth through all the smoke and din of the fire."

When the soldiers moved inland, after capturing Vera Cruz, the sailors
were left behind, and Lee had to bid his brother farewell.

The records of the six months' campaign in Mexico contain many
references to Lee's skill and bravery.  He was then forty years old, in
the hey-dey of his vigor.  He would remain in the saddle from dawn to
twilight, if necessary, and never shirked a duty.  No wonder that Scott
was proud of him and came to rely upon him more and more.

"At Chapultepec," he writes, "Captain Lee was constantly conspicuous,
bearing important orders till he fainted from a wound and the loss of
two nights' sleep at the batteries."

The campaign certainly showed that Lee was a soldier and the son of a
soldier.  He was repeatedly cited for meritorious conduct, and was
brevetted major, lieutenant colonel, and colonel in rapid succession.
This proved not merely his bravery, but his ability in planning
engagements and discovering the weak points of the enemy--features
which he was to turn to such remarkable account in many famous battles
of the Civil War.

When peace with Mexico was declared, Lee was given a welcome furlough,
and went back to Arlington to visit his wife and children.  He had been
so constantly away from home, that he failed to recognize his youngest
son, whom he had left an infant.  And it is said that he himself was
first recognized by a faithful dog.

His son and namesake, R. E. Lee, in his "Recollections," speaks of his
father's love for animals.  He once rescued a dog that was near
drowning in the "Narrows," and it became his devoted follower through
life.  In a letter home he writes (one of many such references),
"Cannot you cure poor Spec? (his dog).  Cheer him up!  Take him to walk
with you--tell the children to cheer him up."  We have already spoken
of his favorite horse, "Traveller."  After the great War, during which
horse and rider were inseparable, Lee wrote a description and tribute
to his equine friend which must appeal to every true lover of horses.

Lee's two elder sons held true to the family traditions by both
entering West Point.  Lee himself was presently sent there by the
government as Superintendent--just twenty-three years after he had
graduated.  He served in this capacity for three years, then was given
an assignment to the cavalry, with the rank of lieutenant colonel.  For
the next five years his duties took him into several states, chiefly in
the West and Southwest.  It was an unsettled time on the Border, both
from the Mexicans at the South, and the Indians in the West, and
constant police duty was necessary.  It was arduous and lacked the
thrill of a real campaign, but in any event, it kept Lee from growing
rusty as a soldier.  Unconsciously to him and to his Government, it was
shaping him and fitting him for the great drama just ahead.

For slowly but surely the North and the South were drifting apart.  At
first the discussion had been political, but now it was growing more
and more personal and bitter.  The disputed questions were slavery and
States' Rights.  A preliminary cloud in the sky was the fanatical raid
of John Brown, who, in 1859, tried to stir up the negroes of northern
Virginia against their masters.  This raid was promptly crushed at
Harper's Ferry, and Lee with his regiment of cavalry assisted in
restoring order, but though

  "John Brown's body lay a'mouldering in the grave.
  His soul went marching on."

While many Southerners did not own slaves and did not believe in
slavery, the question of States' Rights found them with undivided
front.  Had not this doctrine been expressly implied in the Federal
Constitution?  Had not this right been invoked more than once in the
North--by the staunch State of Massachusetts, for example, as early as
1809, and as lately as 1842?  Thus they reasoned, and when matters at
last reached a breaking point in 1861, the Southern States, following
South Carolina's lead one by one, felt that they were acting only
within their recognized rights.

The actual call to arms brought a heart-breaking time to many homes.
In some it actually parted father and son, or brother and brother.
While it created no such chasm in the Lee family, it brought to Robert
E. Lee the bitterest and most trying decision of his whole life.

Lee had loved his country.  He had served her faithfully for thirty-two
years.  His actions rather than his words had proved his entire
devotion, but the words too were not lacking, as references to his
letters will show.  One such glimpse of his heart is seen in a letter
written from Texas, in 1856.  In telling his wife about his Fourth of
July celebration, he says: "Mine was spent after a march of thirty
miles, on one of the branches of the Brazos, under my blanket, elevated
on four sticks driven in the ground, as a sunshade.  The sun was fiery
hot, the atmosphere like a blast from a hot-air furnace, the water
salt, still my feelings for my country were as ardent, my faith in her
future as true, and my hope for her advancement as unabated, as they
would have been under better circumstances."

When finally the choice had to be made, between State and Nation, Lee
was sore beset.  He had no interest in the perpetuation of slavery.
His views all tended the other way.  "In this enlightened age," he
wrote, "there are few, I believe, but will acknowledge that slavery as
an institution is a moral and political evil."  He had already set free
his own slaves, and was in favor of freeing "all the slaves in the

But when it came a question of deserting his own State, his beloved
Virginia, the problem was far more difficult.  "All night nearly he
paced his chamber," says Thomas Nelson Page, "often seeking on his
knees the guidance of the God he trusted in.  But in the morning light
had come.  His wife's family were strongly Union in their sentiments,
and the writer has heard that powerful family influences were exerted
to prevail on him to adhere to the Union side.  'My husband has wept
tears of blood,' wrote Mrs. Lee to his old commander, Scott, who did
him the justice to declare that he knew he acted under a compelling
sense of duty."

Lee had no illusions as to the sternness of the contest, and the
sacrifices that he with all others would have to make.  His own
beautiful home lay just across the river from Washington.  He must have
seen with prophetic vision how it would be seized by the Federal
Government and held for other purposes--an act of confiscation that was
only partially atoned for half a century later.  He knew also that
Virginia being a border State would bear the brunt of war.

"I can contemplate no greater calamity for the country than a
dissolution of the Union," he wrote in January.  And in April that
dissolution came.

Nor did the fortunes of the War itself swerve him from the belief that
in serving his State, he was doing his highest duty.  After it was over
and he had gone into the retirement of work in Washington College, we
find him writing to General Beauregard as follows:

"I need not tell you that true patriotism sometimes requires men to act
exactly contrary at one period to that which it does at another--and
the motive which impels them--the desire to do right--is precisely the
same.  History is full of illustrations of this.  Washington himself is
an example."  (Here he invokes the example that had been his guiding
star since early boyhood.)  "He fought at one time against the French
under Braddock, in the service of the King of Great Britain.  At
another he fought with the French at Yorktown, under the orders of the
Continental Congress, against him.  He has not been branded by the
world with reproach for this; but his course has been applauded."

While Lee was wrestling with his momentous decision, a further
temptation was placed in his path, which he thrust aside.  He was
offered the high post of commander-in-chief of the Union forces.  This
offer came at a suggestion from Scott that "Colonel Lee would be worth
fifty thousand troops to our side"; and although Lincoln had never met
him, he was glad to accede to the suggestion.  Lee quietly remarked in
declining the honor, "I stated as candidly and courteously as I could,
that, though opposed to secession and deprecating war, I could take no
part in an invasion of the Southern States."

Such was the manner of man who was soon chosen to lead the Confederate
armies.  Let us pause for a final picture of the man himself, from a
composite by men who knew him.

In physique Lee was every inch a man.  He stood five feet eleven inches
in height, weighed 175 pounds, and there was not an ounce of
superfluous flesh on him.  He was "as fine-looking a man as one would
wish to see," said General Hunt, "of perfect figure and strikingly
handsome."  General Meigs added: "Lee was a man then in the vigor of
youthful strength, with a noble and commanding presence, and an
admirable, graceful, and athletic figure."  General Preston remarked
that he had "a countenance which beamed with gentleness and
benevolence."  J. S. Wise said, "I have seen all the great men of our
times, except Mr. Lincoln, and I have no hesitation in saying that
Robert E. Lee was incomparably the greatest looking of them all."  And
Alexander H. Stephens, when he saw Lee for the first time, and talked
of the newly-born Confederacy, was moved in his enthusiasm to say: "As
he stood there, fresh and ruddy as a David from the sheepfold, in the
prime of manly beauty and the embodiment of a line of heroic and
patriotic fathers and worthy mothers, it was thus I first saw Robert E.
Lee. . . .  I had before me the most manly and entire gentleman I ever

Lee's fame as a general of the first rank has survived the
over-enthusiastic eulogies of his friends and the first caustic
comments of his foes.  His strategy has come to be recognized as of the
highest order.  To begin with, he had to build his army "from the
ground up," but ended by having one of the most perfect fighting
machines in the history of warfare.  His men obeyed him with a devotion
that was almost idolatrous.  He suggested the uniform of quiet gray on
account of its protective coloring and against all the army traditions
of ages, that an army should march into action in gaudy and glittering
attire.  It was not until the great World War of a later century, that
wise military leaders followed his example and dressed their troops as
inconspicuously as possible.

It is not the province of this short sketch to trace General Lee's
campaigns step by step to the final meeting with Grant at Appomattox.
Army after army was sent to meet him from the North's far greater
resources, only to be baffled or defeated in the South.  And it was not
until he forsook his successful tactics of the defensive, and assumed
the offensive on his invasion of Pennsylvania, that he encountered
serious defeat at Gettysburg.

But, after all, the great foe to whom his troops had finally to
succumb, was General Starvation.  The resources of the South were
literally exhausted.

"My men are starving," said Lee tersely to Grant; and back of them lay
a suffering land that had literally been "bled white."

It was indeed a bitter lesson that the South had learned, but the
verdict of history is that it was salutary.  The Union was greater than
any State or any group of States.  It had required a War to rectify
that fatal flaw in the Constitution, but out of the fires of that
terrible conflict was fused a Union "strong and great," that should be
far better fitted to withstand the shock of Time.

Since that bygone day when Lee laid aside his sword forever, and his
men went straggling back to their plowshares, America has become
engaged in two other wars.  And among the first to respond to the bugle
call and line up behind "Old Glory" have been the sons and grandsons of
that staunch line of Gray--the men who followed Lee.

If the souls of great soldiers ever come back to earth, we can imagine
no finer picture than the Leader of a Lost Cause again looking up to
the Stars and Stripes and pledging it his silent allegiance.  We can
seem to see him on his familiar gray charger at the head of his forces,
fighting again for his beloved country.  We can seem to hear his voice
ringing in command:

"On, men of Virginia!  On, men of the South!  We are Americans all!"


  1807.  January 19.  Robert Edward Lee born.
  1825.  Entered West Point.
  1829.  Graduated second in his class.  Made second-lieutenant
         in engineers.
  1831.  Married Mary Custis.
  1838.  Appointed captain.
  1845.  Joined General Scott's staff in Mexico.
  1848.  Made colonel for gallant conduct.
  1852.  Appointed superintendent of West Point.
  1855.  Appointed lieutenant-colonel of cavalry, in service
         against Indians.
  1861.  Made general in Confederate Army.
  1865.  Surrendered to Grant.
  1865.  Accepted presidency of Washington College, Virginia.
  1870.  October 12.  Died at this college.



"Hayseed! hayseed!"

Thus mocked a group of schoolboys of a mate who stood moodily by and
glowered upon them.

Although their words were not English, "Hayseed!" was what they meant
by the punning French phrase.  This boy from the South who did not
speak as they did, or act as they did, and wore cheaper clothes, was
the butt of their ridicule.

"He calls himself 'Napoleone,'" they said.  "He means 'La paille au
nez' (straw-nose)."

And the way they rattled it off sounded like his name turned round.  No
wonder the Southerner glared.

How this moody and unpopular schoolboy grew from childhood without
intimate friends--without being understood--into a masterful leader of
men is one of the strange puzzles of history.  It totally upsets that
other paradox, "The child is father of the man," for there was little
to indicate in the child Bonaparte, the man Napoleon.

He was not even born on the land with which his name is forever
associated, France.  He first saw the light of day upon the isle of
Corsica, a rocky point in the blue waters of the Mediterranean, some
fifty miles west of Italy.  By treaty, this island passed from Genoese
into French control in 1769; and it will always be a disputed question
as to which flag Napoleon was born under.  He always claimed the date
of August 15, 1769, as his natal day, which would make him nominally of
French birth.  But the boy Napoleon spoke Italian.

Charles Bonaparte, the future Emperor's father, was not a remarkable
man, although he stood well in his home town of Ajaccio.  He practised
law, and must have worked early and late trying to provide for his
large family.  His wife, Letitia, a woman of great personal beauty and
force of character, was the mother of thirteen children, Napoleon being
the fourth.

In a family of this size, it was a case of every fellow shift for
himself, which rule Napoleon followed out with a vengeance.  He himself
said in later years: "I was self-willed and obstinate, nothing awed me,
nothing disconcerted me.  I was quarrelsome, exasperating; I feared no
one.  I gave a blow here and a scratch there.  Every one was afraid of
me.  My brother Joseph was the one with whom I had the most to do.  He
was beaten, bitten, scolded.  I complained that he did not get over it
soon enough."

His mother alone was able to manage him, but she had other things to do
as well; so it is not strange that he escaped from the leash.  He
relates one amusing incident where he was caught red-handed.

In the garden behind their house was a clump of fig trees, which
Napoleon was fond of climbing.  His mother forbade him to do so, both
for fear of damage to himself and to the fruit, but the self-willed boy
persisted.  "One day when I was idle, and at a loss for something to
do," he relates, "I took it in my head to long for some of those figs.
They were ripe; no one saw me, or could know anything of the matter.  I
made my escape, ran to the tree, and gathered the whole.  My appetite
being satisfied, I was providing for the future by filling my pockets,
when an unlucky gardener came in sight.  I was half-dead with fear, and
remained fixed on the branch of the tree, where he had surprised me.
He wished to seize me and take me to my mother.  Despair made me
eloquent; I represented my distress, promised to keep away from the
figs in future, and he seemed satisfied.  I congratulated myself on
having come off so well, and fancied that the adventure would never be
known; but the traitor told all.  The next day my mother wanted to go
and gather some figs.  I had not left any, there was none to be found.
The gardener came, great reproaches followed, and an exposure."  The
upshot of it was a sound thrashing!

But despite all the trials that the boy gave his mother, there always
existed between them a strong affection.  Napoleon never spoke of her
in after years, except in words of praise.  "It is to my mother, to her
good precepts and upright example, that I owe my success and any great
thing I have accomplished."  And again: "My mother was a superb woman,
a woman of ability and courage."

The boy's first regular schooling was obtained at a small village
school kept by nuns.  We have a picture of him there as a small thin
boy with a shock of unruly hair, a face not always clean, and
"stockings half off."  But how many other boys have been guilty of such
conventional sins--only they do not get immortalized in the sober pages
of history!

He next went to a more advanced day school, and then to a seminary
conducted by the Abbé Recco.  While not a prize student, he was fond of
geography, history, and mathematics, and even as a lad his wonderful
memory for names and dates began to assert itself.  He had what is
known as a photographic mind.  When once it had received an impression,
the record was permanent.

One other bent early asserted itself.  It was for warlike scenes.  The
boy not only read greedily of Caesar and Alexander and other great
conquerors of the past--he drew pictures on the walls, of regiments of
soldiers, which in fancy he commanded.

His brother Joseph would jeer, and then there was more trouble.  Joseph
generally got the worst of it both bodily and mentally.  No sooner was
the fight over, than the conqueror made good his vantage.

"I went to complain before he had time to recover from his confusion.
I had need to be on the alert.  Our mother would have repressed my
warlike humor, she would not have put up with my caprices.  Her
tenderness was allied with severity.  She punished, rewarded all alike;
the good, the bad, nothing escaped her.  My father, a man of sense, but
too fond of pleasure to pay much attention to our infancy, sometimes
attempted to excuse our faults.  'Let them alone,' she replied; 'it is
not your business, it is I who must look after them.'"

The father, a man of happy-go-lucky disposition, would shrug his
shoulders and laugh.  But when it came to choosing a profession for the
two boys, he did not hesitate.  Joseph, the brow-beaten, should become
a priest, he said, while Napoleon must study soldiering--which decision
suited at least one of the boys to a T.

Napoleon was only nine years old when this decision was made, but very
precocious.  He talked and reasoned like a boy five years older.  His
unruly disposition probably hastened the choice as well.  His parents
felt that a school where there was stern discipline would be the best
thing for him.  Accordingly his father obtained for him an appointment
to one of the royal military schools; and on April 23, 1779, he was
formally enrolled at Brienne, France, as a student.  The die was cast.
He was to become a soldier.

The next five years, however, were by no means a joyous period in his
life.  In the first months he felt like "a fish out of water"; nor did
he try very hard to adapt himself to his environment.  It was all
frightfully strange and different.  From the sunny island in the
Mediterranean he found himself transported suddenly to the northern
gloom of the Champagne region.  The very language was different.  He
must unlearn Italian, and learn French.  It always came hard to him.
To the end of his days he never could spell correctly--although he did
learn in time to express himself with clarity and precision.

He found himself, also, thrown into contact with a group of youngsters
who were by no means disposed to put up with his overbearing ways.
Many of them were the sons of wealthy parents, while he at times was in
straitened circumstances.  They were fastidious in dress, while he had
inclined to the slovenly.  Small wonder that they derided him, or that
he withdrew within the shell of his pride--and stayed there.  He had no
intimates.  One schoolmate who perhaps came nearest to making a friend
of this stand-offish chap from the South, and who was to enjoy a large
measure of his confidence in after life was Bourrienne.  The latter
wrote his famous "Memoirs of Napoleon," which give us many interesting
personal glimpses.  Here is one of the earliest:

"At Brienne, Bonaparte was remarkable for the dark color of his
complexion, which the climate of France afterwards very much changed,
as well as for his piercing and scrutinising glance, and for the style
of his conversation, both with his masters and companions.  His
conversation almost always gave one the idea of ill-humor, and he was
certainly not very sociable.  This, I think, may be attributed to the
misfortunes of his family during his childhood, and the impressions
made on his mind by the subjugation of his country."

It is interesting to note that at this time the boy was still far from
reconciled to the idea of being French.  He resented the fact that his
father's sword, at one time, had helped to further the conquest of
Corsica by France.  It was to this fact, indeed, that Napoleon himself
owed his appointment to this military college.  But the boy does not
let this consideration sway him.  "I hope some time to be in a position
to restore her freedom to Corsica!" he exclaimed.

Napoleon's isolation from his fellow cadets was not entirely to his
disadvantage.  Brienne possessed a good library, and here day after day
the boy might be found poring over the stories of great exploits of the
past, and dreaming his own day dreams.  But his sword was not for
France.  He pictured himself as her conqueror!  One of his favorite
books was Plutarch's "Lives of Illustrious Men."  He devoured the
"Iliad" and the "Odyssey" whole.  "With my sword by my side, and Homer
in my pocket, I hope to carve my way through the world," he wrote to
his mother.  Another well-thumbed volume was Caesar's "Gallic Wars."

We read of more than one instance of ill-will showing between Napoleon
and a clique of aristocratic classmates.  But we do not find that he
was ever afraid of them or that he ever acted the sneak or the coward.
Morose he often was, and sullen, but it seemed born of the spirit of
misunderstanding which still lurked within his breast, against the
world at large.  He had simply not found himself.

One anecdote related of these school days reveals him as the potential
leader, and shows that the other boys, despite their ridicule,
recognized his ability.  During one unusually severe winter a heavy
fall of snow visited the school.  Napoleon suggested that they build a
fort, and drew up plans for a complete series of fortifications.  The
others fell in with his scheme, and upon its completion a battle royal
ensued which lasted for several days and put more than one of the
participants into the hospital for repairs.  In charge of one of the
two armies, now attacking the fort, and now playing the part of its
defenders, was Napoleon Bonaparte.  He was in his element at last.

By the time that he had completed his five years at Brienne, he was
made commander of a company of cadets.  His first official report card
is worth reproducing:

"_School of Brienne_: State of the King's scholars eligible from their
age to enter into the service or to pass to the school at Paris; to
wit, M. de Buonaparte (Napoleon) born the 15th August, 1769, in height
4 feet, 10 inches, 10 lines, has finished his fourth season; of good
constitution, health excellent; character submissive, honest and
grateful; conduct very regular; has always distinguished himself by his
application to mathematics; understands history and geography tolerably
well; is indifferently skilled in merely ornamental studies and in
Latin, in which he has only finished his fourth course; would make an
excellent sailor; deserves to be passed on to the school at Paris."

Two points are especially interesting in this report--the first that
Napoleon had a "submissive character"; the second that he would make
"an excellent sailor."  The following year when another inspector
visited the school, he added a note that was more accurate.  "Character
masterful, impetuous and headstrong"; and he decided that Napoleon
should enter the Military School at Paris.

Accordingly, in the Fall of 1784, he bade Brienne farewell without
regrets on either side, and turned his face toward the capital.  No one
seeing this slender, almost dwarfed, figure with the thin face, high
cheekbones and sunken, inquiring eyes, would ever have imagined that
Paris was welcoming her future lord.  History holds strange secrets
within her pages.

At the Military School, he chose the artillery as his particular branch
of service.  To what good use he put his study of the field guns, we
find evidence in his first appearance on the field of actual warfare.
At the outset he made few friends; it seemed to be the bitter
experience of Brienne all over again.  The trouble was that he was one
of the students being educated at the State's expense--a perfectly
proper system, which we ourselves follow at West Point and Annapolis.
But many of these French students came of wealthy families and, like
young prigs, looked down upon the King's scholars as "charity
patients."  Napoleon justly resented this; and even went so far as to
indite a memorial against this condition of affairs at Brienne--which
did not tend to enhance his popularity.

However he did begin to find himself in a social way.  With maturer
years and a broader outlook he began to emerge from his shell.  He made
a few good friends, one or two being among the gentler sex.  One lady
in particular, Madame de Colombier, took a fancy to this gawky country
lad and frequently invited him to her home in the country.  Her
daughter, Caroline, was also a welcome friend, and the memory of those
simple but pleasant hours remained with him all his life as a ray of
sunshine among the all-too-gloomy days of youth.

"We were the most innocent creatures imaginable," he says.  "We
contrived little meetings together.  I well remember one which took
place on a midsummer morning, just as daylight was beginning to dawn.
It will scarcely be believed that all our happiness consisted in eating
cherries together."

The young artillery student--now a lieutenant--also visited the
Permons; and Madame Junot, then a little girl, gives a clever cartoon
of him as he appeared in full regimentals at the age of sixteen.

"There was one part of his dress which had a very droll
appearance--that was his boots.  They were so high and wide that his
thin little legs seemed buried in their amplitude.  Young people are
always ready to observe anything ridiculous, and as soon as my sister
and I saw Napoleon enter the drawing-room, we burst into a loud fit of
laughter.  Bonaparte could not relish a joke; and when he found himself
the object of merriment he grew angry.  My sister, who was some years
older than I, told him that since he wore a sword he ought to be
gallant to ladies, and, instead of being angry, should be happy that
they joked with him.

"'You are nothing but a child, a little school-girl,' said Napoleon, in
a tone of contempt.

"Cecile, who was twelve or thirteen years of age, was highly indignant
at being called a child, and she hastily resented the affront by
replying to Bonaparte, 'And you are nothing but a Puss in Boots!'"

Napoleon at this time was hard put to it to keep up appearances as an
officer, on his slender income.  His father had passed away, and he
could not expect further help from home.  He was now his mother's
oldest adviser, and we find him writing her sage letters which sound
like a man of forty.  Indeed, his brain matured early.  At fourteen he
wrote and spoke like a man.

He was subject to fits of depression and melancholy, and even thoughts
of suicide--but these, fortunately, were passing whims, and gradually
the resolute nature he was to evince in later years began to assert
itself.  A favorite motto with him, as a man, was: "The truest wisdom
is a resolute determination," and already he was putting it into

Soon after obtaining his commission, he left school on his first
assignment of active duty.  Some riots had broken out at Lyons, and his
regiment of artillery was sent there.  But things speedily quieted
down, leaving to him the monotony of garrison life.  In telling about
it afterward he remarked:

"When I entered the service I found garrison life tedious.  I began
reading novels, and that kind of reading proved interesting.  I made an
attempt at writing some; this task gave range to my imagination.  It
took hold of my knowledge of positive facts, and often I found
amusement in giving myself up to dreams in order to test them later by
the standard of my reasoning powers.  I transported myself in thought
to an ideal world, and I sought to discover wherein lay the precise
difference between that and the world in which I lived."

Thus we see in the young soldier the same recluse and dreamer of
Brienne.  In boyhood parlance today, he "flocked by himself," building
air castles which in part were to become reality.

As for his early attempts at authorship, he tried his hand with
indifferent success at fiction, essays, and history, but it is said
that he destroyed all this work, with the exception of a fragment,
"Letters on the History of Corsica," which was to have told the story
of his beloved island.

He returned home on a visit not long after, to help his mother settle
up the family estate.  Her means were very meagre, and her family
unusually large.  In addition, his father's affairs had become
involved.  He had been advanced some money by the French Government to
plant mulberry trees, in connection with the silk-worm industry, and a
part of this advance was as yet unpaid.

On the score of ill health Napoleon prolonged his stay at Ajaccio for
some months, and did not rejoin his regiment until the spring of 1788.
He stayed on the island to aid the family from his own pay, and to get
a further advance on the mulberry grove; and also as a means of getting
away from other people.  He was a pronounced recluse, indulging in long
rambles over the island, and finding his sole pleasure in authorship.
Upon the very threshold of his public career, he still appeared as the
most unlikely object upon which Fortune would bestow her favor.

And as if there were not barriers enough to his success, he was still
an alien in heart, from France.  He wore her uniform and served under
her flag, but he was Corsican through and through--still resenting with
a Southern impetuosity the means by which the French had conquered

But unknown to him and many a wiser head, the hour of destiny was at
hand.  The dark days of the French Revolution were rapidly approaching,
when it seemed as if the whole world would be engulfed in disaster.
With the fateful year of 1789, the hour struck--and Napoleon was then
just twenty years of age.

On the first echoes of Revolution which reached Corsica, Napoleon was
on the alert.  He thought he saw a golden opportunity to throw off the
shackles of the conqueror.  But one of the first acts of the National
Assembly was to recognize the full rights of the island as a part of
the State of France; and Napoleon, who had already made an attempt to
organize a sort of Home Guard, felt himself disarmed.

"France has opened her bosom to us," he said.  "Henceforth we have the
same interests and the same solicitudes.  It is the sea alone which
separates us."

With but one lapse, he became a loyal son of France henceforth.  The
Assembly, builded stronger than it knew, when it recognized Corsica!

After the first mutterings of revolt France became comparatively quiet
for nearly two years.  Napoleon joined his regiment in 1791, and was
promoted to first lieutenant, in the Fourth Artillery, stationed at
Valence.  It was at this time that the ill-starred king, Louis XVI,
tried to flee from the country, but was seized and held a prisoner.
The National Assembly was in complete control, and Bonaparte with other
officers of the army subscribed to a new oath of allegiance.

It was by no means a compulsory act on his part, but in tune with his
own active, impetuous spirit.  He became secretary of a club called the
"Friends of the Constitution," and composed an Address to the National

At the same time occurred an episode which reveals the duplicity of his
nature--for Napoleon could be unscrupulous when he had his own ends to
serve.  Taking advantage of the general state of turmoil he obtained
another leave of absence, and returned to Corsica.  There, although
wearing the French uniform, he again fomented trouble against the
authorities.  He organized a company of Corsican Volunteers, with which
he was to make a bold stroke for liberty.  But the movement failed
ingloriously, and ended only by getting him into disrepute with both
his Government and his neighbors.  He saw that his future safety and
career lay with the army, so he deserted the popular cause.  The
Corsicans were so incensed that they declared him an outlaw and his
family infamous.  In June, 1793, the Bonapartes removed from the
island; and only a few short years found him its conqueror in the name
of France.  The last spark of his Corsican spirit was extinguished.

Only the outbreak of a war with Austria prevented the court-martial
which the recreant officer deserved.  Instead, such was France's need
of trained men, that after a brief interval he was actually promoted to
a captaincy.  As he himself said: "The beginning of a revolution was a
fine time for an enterprising young man!"

His first actual taste of warfare occurred at Toulon, where his
regiment was now stationed.  Many of the inhabitants of this Southern
port were royalists, and they sought to hold the city for the King.
The republican troops were ordered to capture the town, which they did
after a lively siege and assault.  The commander of artillery having
been wounded, Napoleon was ordered to take his place.  His skill,
coolness, and bravery during this engagement are well attested.  A
soldier serving a gun near him was killed.  At once Napoleon took his
place at the gun, and served until relieved.

Aiding the royalists in the harbor was a fleet of ships under the
English and Spanish; and here it was that Napoleon was to strike his
first blow at his life-long antagonist, England.  He submitted a plan
for the bombardment of the fleet, and the capture of a fort which they
had heavily fortified on shore, called, from its strength, "the little
Gibraltar."  As a result of a spirited attack at dawn, the shore
batteries capitulated, and a few hours later the foreign ships sailed
away in haste.

Napoleon's superior officer, Dugommier complimented him highly for his
share in the attack, and mentioned him in the official dispatches to
this effect: "Among those who distinguished themselves most, and who
most aided me to rally the troops and push them forward, are citizens
Buonaparte, commanding the artillery, Arena and Cerconi,

As a direct result of this first taste of battle, he became, in
February, 1794, a General of Brigade, with charge of the artillery and
stores of the "Army of Italy," as the southern expeditionary forces
were called.  But his feet were by no means firmly fixed on the ladder
of fortune.  These were the days of the Reign of Terror when no man's
life or liberty was assured.  At one time, Napoleon was deprived of his
command, and was in imminent danger of losing his head.  He had
incurred the suspicion of the Tribunal, as had many another
unfortunate; but he was finally pardoned, not because of any sentiment
or justice, but because of the "advantages which might be derived from
his military information and knowledge of localities, for the service
of the Republic."

In the swift turn of events, it was not many months before this pardon
of convenience was actually turned to the advantage of the
Tribunal--and of Napoleon himself.  A rival government called the
Central Committee was set up, and the streets of Paris were in uproar.
Something had to be done, and done quickly.  Revolutions rise or fall
overnight.  The command of Republican troops was entrusted to Paul
Barras, and one of his staff officers was Napoleon Bonaparte.  Barras
had the foresight to bring up as much artillery as possible, as his men
were few.  Napoleon saw that these guns were placed so as to enfilade
the principal streets.  His experience at Toulon, as well as his
natural genius for strategy, stood him in good stead.  The "whiff of
grape-shot" which he fired on that October day, in 1795, cleared the
streets of the opposition--and likewise cleared the pathway for him
leading eventually to a throne.

The whole world knows of the later deeds of this slim figure who thus
steps masterfully forward to the center of the most troubled stage in
Europe.  Days of conflict and turmoil were yet to follow for Napoleon,
but never days of uncertainty.  He had found himself.  In six short
years the brooding misanthrope, the gawky young man who shunned his
fellows, became the self-possessed leader of men, wielding a power of
personal magnetism that was almost uncanny.

At twenty-six his larger career may be said to have begun.  This slight
boyish figure takes command of the Army of Italy and leads that
memorable campaign to the conquest of Italy before he was thirty.
Promptly nicknamed "The Little Corporal" by his army, the term was
speedily turned from one of derision to positive affection.  Napoleon
himself accepted it as a compliment.  He learned to understand his men,
to fraternize with them, to bring out the best that was in them.

This was one of the chief secrets of his marvellous career.  He was an
able strategist, a skilled diplomatist, a man of vision and cunning.
But despite all these and other high qualities, he would have fallen
short of success if he had not possessed his ability to read and to
sway the hearts of men.  Whence came this power to one who had been a
lonely and derided boy?  It was as though a magician's wand had touched
him overnight.

We have space to give only one picture from the crowded panorama of
this world-conqueror, emperor, and exile.  It will serve to show the
powerful magnetism of his personality--perhaps serve to explain in some
slight degree the magic of the mere name of Napoleon, throughout the
ranks of his armies.

Napoleon the mighty had fallen.  He had been sent into exile on the
Isle of Elba, but had escaped, and now with a little army of a thousand
men was marching boldly north to reconquer France.  The news spread
rapidly, and the King now on the throne sent Marshal Ney, a former
General under Napoleon, to capture him.  Ney promised his King to bring
the fallen leader bound into his presence, and, determined to make his
promise good, set forth on the road to Marseilles.

It was a gray day in early Spring.  The sky looked forbidding, and a
chill of winter was in the air.  As the King's army moved forward they
descried in the distance a smaller band approaching.  At its head rode
a familiar figure, the Little Corporal, with shoulders stooped, as
though bending toward his horse's mane.  He gave no orders to his men
who marched forward uncertainly.  As the distance narrowed down to a
matter of yards, Napoleon seemed for the first time to note the
presence of the opposing troops.  He saw at a glance that many of the
men now confronting him had formerly followed him.

Dismounting, he walked rapidly toward them, tore open his great coat,
and offered his breast to their rifles.

"Who among you would fire upon his Emperor?" he cried.

Instantly the army, officers and men, lowered their weapons and tossed
their caps high in air.

"Vive l'Empereur!" they shouted; and placing him at their head, they
turned and marched back upon Paris.


  1769.  August 15.  Napoleon Bonaparte born.
  1779.  Entered school at Brienne.
  1784.  Entered military school at Paris.
  1786.  Became junior lieutenant.
  1791.  Made lieutenant.
  1792.  Made captain.
  1794.  Made general of brigade for services against English
         at Toulon.
  1795.  Cleared the streets of Paris with his artillery, and was
         appointed to command of Army of Italy.
  1796.  Married Josephine de Beauharnais.
  1797.  Completed conquest of Italy.
  1798.  Egyptian campaign.
  1799.  Made First Consul of France.
  1804.  Crowned Emperor.
  1807.  Won Battle of Austerlitz.
  1813.  Russian campaign.
  1814.  Abdicated the throne, and was sent to Elba.
  1815.  Returned to France.
  1815.  Defeated at Waterloo, and sent to St. Helena.
  1821.  May 5.  Died at St. Helena.



Of all the curious parallels of history, none is stranger than that of
Napoleon and Wellington, who were to meet as rivals on the fatal field
of Waterloo.

They were born in the same year, 1769, and in each case the exact date
is somewhat uncertain.  Wellington in later life always celebrated the
first of May, but was not sure that it was his rightful birthday.  Both
were born upon islands--the one in Corsica, the other in Ireland--which
islands, by the way, were constantly striving to achieve their

Both were born into large families.  Napoleon was a fourth child and
Wellington a fourth son.  The father of each is described as an
easy-going, indulgent man, without force of character, while the mother
was the moving genius of the family.  But between Napoleon and his
mother existed a lively affection; while Wellington's mother never
seemed to care for this child, and constantly spoke of him in terms of

Both boys attended military schools in France, far away from their own
home and friends, and consequently drew apart from their comrades,
lived their own lives, and carved out their own destinies.  These are
but a few of the early parallels of two famous soldiers who were
afterward to decide the fate of Europe at the points of their swords.

The family name of Wellington, before he received a dukedom, was Wesley
or Wellesley.  As a boy he was known as Arthur Wellesley.  His father
was the Earl of Mornington, his mother a daughter of Lord Dungannon.
The Earl is spoken of as a lover and composer of music.  Arthur had
three brothers who were all destined to do noteworthy things.  His
oldest brother, who bore the title of Lord Wellesley, aided him no
little in choosing his profession of soldier.

The boy's birthplace was Dangon Castle, Dublin.  Almost nothing is
known as to his earliest years, beyond the sorrowful fact that his
mother was not fond of him--almost had an aversion to him--and spoke of
him openly as "the fool of the family."  From this we infer that Arthur
was a silent, reserved lad, who did not shine at his studies, but who
nevertheless did "a heap of thinking."  Being misunderstood at home he
withdrew more and more into his shell--thus forming a crust of reserve
which was to be more or less a handicap to him all through life.  For
the Iron Duke, as he came to be called, never threw off his diffidence
nor won the hearts of his soldiers, as did that other recluse,

Arthur Wellesley's first school away from home was Eton, that great
"prep" school of so many English boys.  The fact that he attended there
helped to give rise to the proverb that "Waterloo was won on the
cricket fields of Eton"--but as a matter of record the boy was not
interested in this sport.  He preferred the fiddle to the racquet, as
he had inherited his father's love of music.

"I was a player of the violin once myself, sir," he remarked in after
years to a friend; "but I soon found that fiddling and soldiering
didn't agree--so I gave it up, sir!  I gave it up!"

Only one other anecdote is recorded of his life at Eton, and this was a
fight!  Nor was it a case of choose your weapons--it was plain fists.
He began with first principles.  A fellow student, Robert Smith, who is
chiefly noted as having been the brother of Sydney Smith, the noted
essayist and preacher, was enjoying a swim in the river, near the
campus.  Arthur could not resist the impulse to throw mud at his bare

"Stop that!" yelled Smith.

"You make me!" taunted Wellesley.

"You just wait till I come out," replied his victim.

"Dare you to come," said Arthur.

Bob promptly waded out, and they "mixed." Just which boy got the better
of it is not clear, but if justice ruled, the future conqueror of
Napoleon should have received his first trouncing.

One other fight is recorded of his early schooldays--and this does not
mean that Arthur was naturally of a pugnacious disposition, for he
wasn't.  It simply means that one's battles, little or big, are always
remembered, rather than the pleasant though colorless ways of peace.
On a visit home he got into an argument with a blacksmith's boy, named
Hughes.  In this instance, might was right.  The smith's muscles were
the brawnier, and the Etonian got soundly licked--that is, if we can
take the word of Hughes who was wont to boast in later years that he
beat the man who beat Napoleon!

At Eton came the usual question which confronts every boy in his
teens--the choice of a business or profession.  His mother did not
think he was good for anything.  In writing of her children, about this
time, she says:

"They are all, I think, endowed with excellent abilities, except
Arthur, and he would probably not be wanting, if only there was more
energy in his nature; but he is so wanting in this respect, that I
really do not know what to do with him."

He took no interest in the law or the Church.  He seems to have moped
along in a lackadaisical sort of way in the classroom.  He had not
given an indication of "shining" in any direction.  Consequently there
was nothing left for a gentleman's son--except the army!  It was a
make-shift choice.

Those were the days of the American Revolution.  The progress of this
struggle must have appealed powerfully to the English boys; and the
final defeat of the trained British troops by the raw Colonials must
have been a bitter blow.  There came an insistent demand for more and
better schools for the officers.  England seems to have been poorly
equipped in this respect.  Wellesley himself, like many another English
boy, was sent across the channel to France.  The chosen school was at
Angers on the Maine, and was conducted by the Marquis of Pignerol, a
celebrated military engineer of the time.  In connection with the
school was a fine riding academy.

It was in 1785 that Arthur entered this school.  He was then sixteen, a
thin gangly-looking boy, who perhaps because he had grown too rapidly
could not be persuaded to take much interest in anything.  He felt out
of his element and ill at ease, although he was not the only English
lad here.  He is described by General Mackenzie, who was a schoolmate,
as "not very attentive to his studies, and constantly occupied with a
little terrier called Vick, which followed him everywhere."

This is about as definite a glimpse of him as we can get, but it does
enable us to picture him as idling about the streets of this
picturesque old town, or climbing the steep cliffs which rise from the
water's edge, at the confluence of the streams which flow by Angers.
At the top of the hill we can see him whistling to Vick, and tossing
down one of the gentler slopes a stone or stick for the faithful
terrier to retrieve.

Did this idle schoolboy dream dreams of future greatness on the
battlefields of the land that was now teaching him to draw the sword?

Who shall say.

Although at Angers only a short time, about twelve months, it was by no
means time wasted.  He perfected his French and learned many things
about manners and customs that were to be of good service.  Likewise,
through his family's influence, he made the acquaintance of several
French noblemen, who must undoubtedly have given him a broader point of
view, and perchance some good advice on the subject of soldiering.

His father had died in 1781, but his oldest brother, who had made his
mark as a soldier and man of letters, took a lively interest in him and
constantly urged him on.  England is indebted no little to this brother
Richard, who, probably more than any other, was the guiding star in the
making of her great soldier.

In the days just after the American War, the British army was not well
organized or officered.  Instead of the fighting machine that it
afterward became, it was a sort of gentleman's training school, so far
as the officers were concerned.  Any one who had good family
connections or money could get a commission.  The skill and experience
were supposed to come later, on the field of action.

This fact explains the early promotion of Arthur Wellesley.  At the age
of seventeen, soon after leaving Angers, he was made an ensign in a
regiment of infantry, and within five years, by the time he was
twenty-two, he had been made a captain.  Nor did his rapid advancement
end here.  In 1793 he became a major, then a lieutenant colonel; and by
1796 he was a full-fledged colonel--at twenty-seven!  The secret "power
at court" was his brother Richard, who was a secretary to Pitt, the
statesman.  But another friend was Lord Westmoreland, Lord Lieutenant
of Ireland, who took a fancy to him and made him a staff officer.

As one historian puts it, regarding army commissions: "Wealth and
interest were nearly all-powerful; it was the palmy day of purchase
which George the Third had tried and had failed to abolish, and, until
the Duke of York became commander-in-chief, infants of both sexes
figured in the army list as the holders of commissions."

It is interesting to note--to resume our parallel--that this was the
stormy time of the French Revolution, when Napoleon was painfully
carving his way upward by the edge of the sword, and by push rather
than "pull" had achieved high command in early life.

But we would do the young Wellington a grave injustice if we pictured
him as leading a life of inactivity, awaiting a promotion through
"pull."  He had qualities which now began to assert themselves and were
to contribute to his larger fame.  For one thing, he was something of a
diplomat.  He remembered names and faces, and turned every acquaintance
to account.  Later, he was credited with a marvellous memory--such as
also had his great French rival.

These qualities, it is true, were slow in ripening.  At the age of
twenty-one, he was elected to the Irish House of Commons, from his home
County.  This was done in order to give him parliamentary training, and
such service was allowed without the necessity of relinquishing his
military rank or duties.  It was merely an extra tail to his kite.  He
is thus described by a colleague, Sir Jonah Barrington:

"Wellesley was then ruddy-faced and juvenile in appearance, and popular
enough among the young men of his age and station.  His address was
unpolished; he occasionally spoke in Parliament, but not successfully,
and never on important subjects; and evinced no promise of that
unparalleled celebrity and splendor which he has since reached, and
whereto intrepidity and decision, good luck, and great military science
have justly combined to elevate him."

Although he made no great mark as a Parliamentarian, he did make
friends at this time, who were destined to influence his life.  One was
the brilliant though somewhat unprincipled Lord Castlereagh, who was to
aid him to obtain the chief military command of the English army in
Spain.  Another was a certain young lady, Charlotte Packenham, who
found his tongue more eloquent than did his colleagues in the House of
Commons.  She was the daughter of Lord Longford, who was not so easily
won over to the young man's suit.  In fact, the nobleman gave him a
curt "no."  He was looking for a more brilliant match for his daughter
than a subaltern.

So the young people had to give each other a sad farewell.  But it was
not to be forever.  Ten years later when the young soldier had won his
spurs, and had returned from his brilliant campaign in India, a Major
General, the parental gates were unbarred.  The Lady Charlotte had
remained constant through all the years of waiting and separation, and
they were happily wedded.

That Wellesley took more than a perfunctory interest in his military
duties is evident even during his earliest years of service.  For
example, he wished to determine for himself just how much weight, in
the way of equipment, a soldier could carry in light marching order.

"I wished," he says, "to have some measure of the power of the
individual man compared with the weight he was to carry, and the work
he was expected to do.  I was not so young as not to know that since I
had undertaken a profession, I had better endeavor to understand it."
And he adds, "It must always be kept in mind that the power of the
greatest armies depends upon what the individual soldier is capable of
doing and bearing."  It is but another way of saying, "A chain is no
stronger than its weakest link," or, as we put it today, "It depends
upon the man behind the gun."  Thus Wellington early discovered and put
into practise that indefinable something we call "morale."

As lieutenant colonel of the Thirty-Third Foot, he took up his work in
earnest, with the result that in a few months it was officially
declared to be the best drilled regiment in Ireland.

But the young commander was not content with this.  He did not want to
remain at home as a mere "drill sergeant" when affairs were so active
abroad.  Due partly to the outbreak of the French Revolution, all
Europe seethed with war.  France was in revolt against the world, and
all the neighboring powers were pitted against her.  England had
maintained a strict neutrality at first, but when Belgium was overrun,
felt compelled to intervene, just as in the similar great war of
aggression begun by Germany in our own time.

Naturally, young Wellesley wanted to be in it.  He wrote to his brother
Richard importuning him to use his influence in this direction.  "I
will serve as major to one of the flank corps," he wrote, as his own
regiment was "the last for service."  The request was not granted,
however, and he had to wait until the Spring of 1794 for his chance to
see active service.

It was a parlous time to go over.  The French had defeated one army
after another, of the Allies, and were in the hey-dey of their first
success.  The trouble seemed to be lack of unity of command, and lack
of able leadership.  The Duke of York was in command of the British
army, but allowed himself to be out-maneuvered repeatedly.  By the Fall
of that year, when Wellesley was with the army, the campaign resembled
a rout.

During a series of rearguard actions in the retreat through Holland and
Flanders, Colonel Wellesley came first into official notice.  It was at
the Meuse, a stream made forever memorable in the recent Great War.  A
retreat had been ordered during the night, to avoid a superior force of
French.  One regiment, however, had mistaken its orders and engaged the
enemy.  The result was a hopeless tangle of infantry and cavalry, with
the enemy taking advantage of the confusion to press the attack.

The Thirty-Third had been ordered to support the rear.  Colonel
Wellesley, seeing the danger, ordered his regiment to halt in a field
alongside of the road, leaving the way clear for the retreat.  As soon
as the stragglers had gotten by, he threw his regiment again in solid
formation across the road, and they advanced upon the charging French
with such coolness and precision that the attackers were forced to
halt.  It was only an incident of warfare, but it showed his promptness
of decision, and the fruits of discipline in his regiment.

All that ensuing winter the French harried their army.  Wellesley was
stationed on the Waal, a branch of the Rhine; and he gives some idea of
their arduous life in a letter dated December 20, 1794:

"At present the French keep us in a perpetual state of alarm.  We turn
out once, sometimes twice, every night.  The officers and men are
harassed to death, and if we are not relieved, I believe there will be
very few of the latter remaining shortly.  I have not had the clothes
off my back for a long time, and generally spend the greatest part of
the night upon the bank of the river, notwithstanding which I have
entirely got rid of that disorder which was near killing me at the
close of the summer campaign.  Although the French annoy us much at
night, they are very entertaining during the daytime.  They are
perpetually chattering with our officers and soldiers, and dance the
_carmagnol_ upon the opposite bank whenever we desire them.  But
occasionally the spectators on our side are interrupted in the middle
of a dance by a cannon ball, from theirs."

In this somewhat humorous recital, Wellesley makes no mention of the
sufferings which they must have undergone from lack of food and
supplies of all kinds.  He purposely puts the best face on it, and
bears his troubles stoically.  But young as he was, he marvelled at the
inefficiency and lack of coordination of the high command.  Once when a
despatch was received by the General during dinner, from their ally,
Austria, he tossed it aside unopened with the remark, "That will keep
till morning."

During three months on the Waal, Wellesley declares that he was in
direct touch with headquarters only once, and adds: "We had letters
from England, and I declare that those letters told us more of what was
passing at headquarters than we learnt from the headquarters ourselves.
It has always been a marvel to me how any of us escaped."

One result, nevertheless, of this isolation was to throw the young
colonel back upon his own resources.  It was the finest possible
training for his later career.

When Colonel Wellesley returned to England the next year, he thought
for a time of resigning his command.  One reason was undoubtedly the
poor state of the army in equipment and discipline.  Another was the
fact that he owed his brother money on account of promotions in the
service, and his officer's pay was not enough to repay it.  He was
always scrupulous in matters of debt.

His application for discharge, however, was not accepted.  England had
need of all her trained men at this time.  In addition to the trouble
in France, there were other affairs demanding attention in Spain and
India.  The whole world seemed to need readjusting at once.

Wellesley's next assignment was to accompany an expedition against the
French settlement in the West Indies, which set sail in October, 1795.
But when only two days out the ships encountered a terrible storm.  One
ship sank with all on board, others were badly crippled, and hundreds
of sailors perished.  The expedition put back to England.

Although Wellesley escaped the full effects of this storm, the exposure
left his health undermined.  His regiment was ordered abroad in the
Spring, this time to the East Indies, and when they set sail, in April,
he was too ill to accompany them.  It was not until February, 1797,
that he joined them in Calcutta.

Arthur Wellesley was now in his twenty-eighth year.  All that had
passed hitherto might be regarded as his schooling.  He had been an
obscure and "foolish" boy at school (to all appearance).  He had failed
to make his mark as a military student on the Maine.  He had been a
dilettante staff officer, and a reticent member of Parliament.  Money
and family had apparently made him what he was--neither better nor
worse than many another young British officer.  In his brief campaign
in France, he had conducted himself creditably, but had come away with
a distaste for the service, as it was then conducted.

To revert to our former parallel--Napoleon at twenty-eight was on the
high road to world mastery.  Wellington at twenty-eight had not yet
found himself.  But now on his trip to India he was on the threshold of
his career.  His deeds there and on other fields were to astonish the
world.  Did they also astonish the silent officer himself?

It would require a detailed account of the Indian campaign to trace
adequately the gradual rise of this officer in the service.  For his
was not a meteoric or spectacular rise.  It was by gradual steps--but
each step found him _fully prepared_.  This, perhaps, is as near the
secret of the great soldier's success as we can get.  He was never a
self-advertiser.  He never talked much.  But he was keenly observant,
and his wonderfully retentive memory aided him at every turn.  He could
go through a countryside once, and then be able to map out an
attack--using every natural advantage to its utmost.

And, best of all, his superiors were beginning to discover his merits.
They soon found, beneath his quiet exterior, a keen intellect and an
indomitable will.  Within two months after reaching Calcutta he was
consulted by General St. Leger on a plan to establish artillery bases,
and was also nominated to command an expedition against the
Philippines, then under Spanish control, but preferred to remain and
fight it out in India.

"I am determined that nothing shall induce me to desire to quit this
country, until its tranquillity is ensured," he said--which recalls to
mind the famous saying of Grant's: "We will fight it out along this
line, if it takes all summer."

Wellesley's next appointment, was as Commander of the Mysore brigade.
His brother Richard, Marquis of Wellesley, had been appointed Governor
General of India, and the two men were destined to exercise a strong
influence on affairs in that disturbed country.  While nominally in
control of the land, the English possessions actually included only the
narrow strip running along the various sea coasts; the interior being
overrun by unruly tribes of Sepoys under Tippoo Sahib.  It required
careful planning and equipping of armies marching from opposite sides
of India to meet and crush this formidable rebellion.

In all this strenuous work of field and garrison, Wellesley took an
active part.  At one time, as Governor of Seringapatam; at another as
Brigadier General, personally directing assaults upon some native
fortress, and, after its capture, restoring order and discipline, and
thus ensuring the respect and confidence of the natives.

"I have been like a man who fights with one hand and defends himself
with the other," he wrote at this period.  "I have made some terrible
marches, but I have been remarkably fortunate; first, in stopping the
enemy when they intended to press to the southward; and afterwards, by
a rapid march to the northward, in stopping Sindhia."

In 1803, he was made Major General, with the title of Sir Arthur
Wellesley; and two years later returned to England as one of her most
trusted and esteemed commanders.  And England had need of just such men
as he.  There were still more stirring years ahead in Spain and
elsewhere, until this strong silent man had emerged into the "Iron"
Duke of Wellington, who should meet that other Man of Destiny on the
plains of Waterloo.

Wellington won his success by his infinite capacity for taking pains.
His life defies the biographer to analyze, whether through the medium
of a lengthy volume or a brief chapter--because it was made up of so
many little things.  They were the duties of each day, but he not only
did them thoroughly, he also learned through them the larger grasp of
the next day's problems.

A contemporary pen picture of "the Sepoy General," on his return to
England in 1805, will serve to show us what manner of man he appeared
to be, to his subordinates.  Captain Sherer, who has left this
portrait, says:

"General Wellesley was a little above the middle height, well limbed
and muscular; with little incumbrance of flesh beyond that which gives
shape and manliness to the outline of the figure; with a firm tread, an
erect carriage, a countenance strongly patrician, both in feature,
profile, and expression, and an appearance remarkable and
distinguished.  Few could approach him on any duty, or, on any subject
requiring his serious attention, without being sensible of a something
strange and penetrating in his clear light eye.  Nothing could be more
simple and straightforward than the matter of what he uttered; nor did
he ever in his life affect any peculiarity or pomp of manner, or rise
to any coarse, weak loudness in his tone of voice.  It was not so that
he gave expression to excited feeling."

His reputation as a great soldier will stand for all time, not because
he defeated Napoleon, but because his whole military career was built
upon duty.  It was not ostentation but merit, that won him the supreme
command.  His ideals were always high.

"We must get the upper hand," he advised, "and if once we have that, we
shall keep it with ease, and shall certainly succeed."


  1769.  May 1.  Arthur Wellesley born.
  1785.  Attended military school at Angers, France.
  1787.  Entered British Army as ensign.
  1793.  Became lieutenant-colonel.
  1794.  Saw his first active service in Flanders.
  1796.  Colonel.  Sent to India.
  1803.  Major-general.
  1805.  Married Charlotte Packenham.
  1808.  Made lieutenant-general, and sent to command Peninsular War.
  1814.  Created Duke of Wellington.
  1815.  Defeated Napoleon at Waterloo.
  1827.  Prime minister.
  1852.  September 14.  Died.



The name, Gordon, brings to mind the warrior--perchance the Highland
laddie who with bagpipes fiercely blowing charges down the rocky slope
against the enemy.

"Chinese" Gordon, as one of this warlike clan will be known for all
time, came indeed of a race of warriors, and was born in martial
surroundings; but the man himself was far from being of that stern
stuff that glories in a fight.  As boy and man, he was quiet, lovable,
and of intensely religious nature.

Gordon means a "spear," and the name was probably given to the clan
several centuries ago.  Its members had always been famous in battle.
Chinese Gordon's great-grandfather led a very eventful life.  He was
taken prisoner in the battle of Prestonpans, and later went to Canada,
on the special expedition which wrested that Dominion from the French.
His son took part in many battles, and served with distinction.

The next in line, the father of Chinese Gordon, was Lieutenant-General
Henry William Gordon, a soldier of the highest type.

General Gordon lived at Woolwich, long noted for its arsenal.  It is
only nine miles out from St. Paul's, and is an object of interest at
any time.  But in times of war it fairly bristles with activity.  Small
wonder, then, that a boy coming from such a line of ancestors and born,
almost, in a gun-carriage should have chosen to become a soldier.  With
any other environment Chinese Gordon would have become a preacher.

Of course, the name "Chinese," was not the way he was christened.
"Charles George" are his baptismal names--but few people know that fact

He was the youngest child in a large family, five sons and six
daughters.  This calls to mind other large families from which sprang
famous soldiers--Napoleon, for example.  Charles was born in 1833,
after his father had reached middle age, and had settled down in the
piping times of peace.  The elder Gordon had won his spurs in the
Napoleonic Wars.

We know very little of the boyhood of Charles Gordon, beyond the fact
that during the first ten years of his life he lived at the Pigeon
House Fort, in Dublin Bay, next in the Fort of Leith, and later on the
Island of Corfu.  All these places are spots of great natural beauty--a
vista of stretching sea or mountain-top which the frowning fortress
only aided in romance and charm.  Many a long ramble must the boy have
had, storing his memory with these quiet, sylvan pictures.

Not far from Leith was the famous battlefield of Prestonpans, where,
nearly a century before, his great-grandfather had been taken prisoner.
From his father or brothers he must have heard many a wild tale of the
Highlanders and their exploits.

As a child, however, this did not appeal to him.  He loved nature in
her quiet moods best.  He was timid and nervous, to such an extent that
the firing off of the cannon, when the colors were lowered at sundown,
would make him jump half out of his boots.  It was only by the sternest
sort of self-control that he obtained the mastery of himself.

Not that Charles Gordon was ever a coward.  Morally he was
ever-unflinching.  He abhorred a lie, and was always ready to stand up
for his convictions.  But his physical frame was made of weaker
stuff--much to his own vexation.

One of the few early stories related of him is that he had difficulty
in learning to swim.  He could not get the stroke and he had a horror
of being in water over his head.  So he made a practise of deliberately
throwing himself into deep water, when out with his mates, knowing that
it was "sink or swim," or a case of getting pulled out.  He was then
only nine.

A few years later, another instance reveals his determination.  A great
circus was advertised in London, a novelty in those days, and the
Gordon boys had been promised the treat.  But just before its arrival,
Charles fell into disgrace.  He was charged with some fault which he
did not think should have been laid to his door.  Later he was
forgiven, and told that he might attend the circus.  But his pride was
aroused, and he refused to go.

When he was ten, the first definite step toward making him a soldier
was taken--for of course, being a Gordon, he must be a soldier.  He was
sent to school at Taunton, preparatory to entering, as a cadet, the
Royal Military Academy, at Woolwich.  At that time, its commandant was
a veteran of Waterloo, a peppery old chap who had left one of his legs
on the soil of France, as a souvenir.  He was a martinet as to
discipline, and Charles, who had become accustomed to doing a good deal
of thinking for himself, came into frequent clashes with him.

One day, the old man said, "Gordon, I am tired of fooling with you.
You are incompetent; you will never make an officer."

The young cadet, a boy of sixteen, gave him look for look, without
quailing--then by way of reply tore his epaulettes from his shoulders,
turned on his heel, and strode out of the room.

Naturally, the guardhouse was next in order, where the culprit could
cool his heels and meditate upon the sinfulness of superior officers.
In this particular case he seems to have blamed it upon the missing
leg, for he remarked, long afterwards: "Never employ any one minus a
limb to be in authority over boys.  They are apt to be irritable and

He remained in the Military Academy four years, having been put back
six months by way of discipline, and left it without any regrets.  At
this time, indeed, he had a positive distaste for the army.  It was all
drill and monotony.  One day was too much like another.  What was the
good of it all?  Why did men have to learn to kill each other anyhow?
Were we not put on earth for a higher mission?

Thus reasoned the young man, who, all his life, was subject to moods of
introspection and intense religious thought--surely strange material
out of which to build a soldier!  He sensed this fact himself and was
not at all anxious to enter the army; and frequently in later life
expressed a lively dissatisfaction for the service.  He was an
exemplification of the poet's line:

"I feel two natures struggling within me."

When he entered the service, as a second lieutenant of the Engineers,
at the age of nineteen, there was little to attract one in the army
life.  The long peace of Europe, which had followed the defeat of
Napoleon, seemed likely to last forever.  Except for a relatively small
outbreak in France, in 1848, all Europe was quiet.  Consequently, the
army held little attraction to an active young man.  It was all drill
and the petty details of garrison life.  But underneath the placid
surface, the political pot of Europe was really boiling furiously--only
waiting a chance to bubble over.  That chance soon came.

Gordon's first assignment was to Pembroke, where plans were required
for the forts at Milford Haven.  Here with other engineers he worked
for a few months, when he was ordered to the Island of Corfu.  This was
not altogether to his liking.  He had spent a part of his boyhood there
in the Ionian Islands, but felt that they were "off the map" so far as
real activity was concerned.

Then the bubbling pot at last boiled over.  Russia, impatient of
bounds, had begun her march southward, past the Black Sea, and toward
the coveted lands of Turkey.  The "balance of power," that precarious
something that has always kept Europe on edge--and particularly in the
Balkans--was upset.  Whether England wanted to or not, she must get
into the breach.

Thus began the Crimean War, a desperate struggle that was to bear some
glorious pages in England's history, and some dark ones as well.  It
was to see the "Charge of the Light Brigade"--splendid in itself, but
brought about because "some one had blundered."  It was to produce a
Florence Nightingale--but also the hideous sufferings which she helped
to assuage.

For England was unprepared.  Her years of idleness had broken down her
military organization.  Splendid fighting men she still had, but the
fighting machine itself was rusty.

Young Gordon, perhaps through his father's influence, obtained a
transfer from Corfu to the Crimea.  The father did not much like his
new billet.  He may have sensed something of what was coming.  But he
did not fear for his son.

"Get him into real action, _I_ say," he would remark.  "That will show
whether there's any stuff in him.  I guess there is," he added grimly,
thinking of Charles's troubles in college.  "All the time he was in the
Academy, I felt like I was sitting on a powder barrel."

In mid-December, of 1854, Gordon set sail from England, on his first
real job as a soldier.  He was going with the task of building some
wooden huts for the soldiers, and lumber was being shipped at the same
time.  But the soldiers for whom these shelters were intended were even
then dying from exposure on the plains of Sebastopol.  It was the first
lesson of unpreparedness.

Of this, however, the young engineer was then ignorant.  He was in high
spirits over the prospect of action and seeing the world.  He arrived
at Marseilles "very tired," as he writes to his mother, but not too
tired to give her a detailed description of what he has seen thus
far--"the pretty towns and villages, vineyards and rivers, with
glimpses of snowy mountains beyond."

On New Year's Day he reached his destination, Balaklava.  It was the
depth of winter, and disaster stared the British in the face.  The
Russians were having the best of it.  They were out-generalling the
enemy at every turn.  The British could do little more than dig in and
hang on, with the bull-dog stubbornness which has always marked them.

At first, the young lieutenant heard little of this.  His duties as
construction engineer kept him busy six miles back of the battle line.

"I have not yet seen Sebastopol," he writes on January 3, "and do not
hear anything of the siege.  We hear a gun now and then.  No one seems
to interest himself about the siege, but all appear to be engaged in
foraging for grub."  Two days later he writes: "We have only put up two
huts as yet, but hope to do better soon."

The army was suffering from both cold and hunger, and was in pitiable
plight.  Again he writes: "Lieutenant Daunt, Ninth Regiment, and
another officer of some Sixtieth Regiment, were frozen to death last
night, and two officers of the Ninety-Third Regiment were smothered by
charcoal.  The streets of Balaklava are a sight, with swell English
cavalry and horse-artillery carrying rations, and officers in every
conceivable costume foraging for eatables."

There was little military glamor in such sights as this.  No wonder,
young Gordon felt sick of it all.  But he never gave the slightest
indication of quitting.  He only worked all the harder to help do his
bit.  As Spring advanced, he had an opportunity to work closer to the
lines.  He received orders to construct trenches and rifle pits, which
at times was extremely hazardous and brought him under fire.  On one
occasion a Russian bullet missed his head by a scant inch.

At last, in the month of June, came his first chance to do some real
fighting.  Every branch of the service was marshalled by the commanding
general, Lord Raglan, for a massed attack.  What happened can best be
described in Gordon's own words:

"About three a. m. the French advanced on the Malakoff tower in three
columns, and ten minutes after this our signal was given.  The Russians
then opened with a fire of grape that was terrific."  And again: "They
mowed down our men in dozens, and the trenches, being confined, were
crowded with men who foolishly kept in them instead of rushing over the
parapet, and, by coming forward in a mass, trusting to some of them at
least being able to pass through untouched to the Redan, where, of
course, once they arrived, the artillery could not reach them, and
every yard nearer would have diminished the effect of the grape by
giving it less space for spreading.  We could thus have moved up the
supports and carried the place.  Unfortunately, however, our men
dribbled out of the ends of the trenches ten and twenty at a time, and
as soon as they appeared they were cleared away."

Thus ended the first engagement in which Gordon took part.  The Allies
suffered defeat, and Lord Raglan died a few days later of a broken
heart.  It was not an auspicious baptism of fire.

In August another assault was made, which also met defeat.  Gordon ends
his account with the remark: "We should have carried everything before
us, if the men had only advanced."

Perchance one reason why the men failed to advance was that their
morale had been lowered, by reason of the privations they had
undergone.  This was before the days of the Red Cross, the army
canteen, or the Y. M. C. A. with its homely comfort.  The men had had
to shift for themselves.  Nursing the sick and wounded was almost
unknown, until the white-clad figure of Florence Nightingale showed the
world its dereliction.  Listen to what this devoted pioneer among
nurses has to say:

"Fancy working five nights out of seven in the trenches.  Fancy being
thirty-six hours in them at a stretch, as they sometimes were, lying
down, or half-lying down often forty-eight hours with no food but raw
salt pork, sprinkled with sugar, rum, and biscuit; nothing hot, because
the exhausted soldier could not collect his own fuel, as he was
expected to do, to cook his own rations; and fancy through all this,
the army preserving their courage and patience, as they have done, and
being now eager (the old ones as well as the young ones) to be led into
the trenches.  There was something sublime in the spectacle."

Sublime?  Granted.  But no soldier fights well on an empty stomach.

Despite their hardships and reverses, however, the Allies were at last
successful in the capture of Sebastopol.  But it was a barren victory,
as the Russians had set fire to the town and destroyed practically
everything of value.  The war soon afterwards ceased, and with it the
first hard lesson in Charles Gordon's military training.  He had
entered it a somewhat careless youth.  He came out of it a seasoned

That his government had learned to appreciate his services is shown by
the fact that he was soon afterward placed on a joint commission of the
English, French, Russians, and Austrians, to lay down a boundary line
between Russia and her neighbors at the southwest.  It was only one of
many later attempts to define the Balkans.

"The newly-ceded territory is in great disorder," writes Gordon.  "The
inhabitants refuse to obey the Moldaves and own nobody's authority.
This is caused, I suspect, by Russian intrigues."

Already cracks were beginning to show in the new boundary wall.

After three years of steady but interesting work following up the
ravages of war, Gordon returned home.  It was a rest well earned, and
likewise needed, for there were still more strenuous days ahead.  Then
back he went, in the Spring of 1858, to complete his work in the

"I am pretty tired of my post as peacemaker," he writes; "for which I
am naturally not well adapted. . . .  I am quite in the dark as to how
my mission has been fulfilled, but it is really immaterial to me, for I
will not accept other work of such an anomalous character."

The "other work" that was being stored up for him was of quite
different nature.  He might have called it "anomalous," but it was to
tax and bring out every resource in him.

China, that land of distance and mystery, was undergoing a period of
upheaval.  A usurper had tried to seize the reins of government, and
the French and British ships had been attacked.  The British sent a
force of reprisal, somewhat like that sent against the Boxer rebellion
in recent years.  This was in 1860; and Gordon was sent out with the
rank of captain.

The first work of this expeditionary force was scarcely worthy of a
civilized country.  They set fire to a summer palace and gardens of a
prince who had mistreated some English prisoners.  It was a piece of
vandalism that went against the grain with Gordon.

"You can scarcely imagine the beauty and magnificence of the palaces we
burnt," he writes.  "It made one's heart sore to destroy them.  It was
wretchedly demoralizing work."

In the Spring of 1862, Gordon had become a major, and was ordered, with
a Lieutenant Carden, to explore the Great Wall of China.  This was more
to his liking.  The two men were congenial and well fitted by
temperament and experience for the task.  They penetrated provinces in
the interior never before entered by a white man, and had a variety of
adventures, some amusing, others exciting.

During the winter it grew extremely cold, high up in the mountains.  He
relates that eggs were frozen as hard as if they had been boiled.  At
another time they are caught in a terrific dust storm, which he thus

"The sky was as dark as night; huge columns of dust came sweeping down,
and it blew a regular hurricane, the blue sky appearing now and then
through the breaks.  The quantity of dust was indescribable.  A canal,
about fifty miles long and eighteen feet wide, and seven deep, was
completely filled up."

From these more or less peaceful incidents, Gordon was presently called
to more exciting events.  The great Tai-ping rebellion had been raging
for some months.  It was the work of a Chinese schoolmaster, who said
that Heaven had sent him to rescue China.  He chose for title "The
Heavenly King," and with some thousands of fanatical followers, overran
a large part of the interior.  His seat of government was in Nanking.

In his first clashes with the small British army, in 1862, his troops
had the better of the argument.  They spoke with open contempt of the
foreigners, and all English, whether soldiers or missionaries, were in
imminent danger.  Things came to such a pass that an American, named
Ward, obtained permission to organize a band of volunteers for mutual
protection.  This band did remarkable work, and soon grew from a force
of two hundred, to two thousand--every man of them ready to die in his

They met the fanatical followers of "The Heavenly King" more than
half-way, and gave them such thorough doses of hot shot and cold steel,
that the rebels finally ran at sight of them.  It is said that Ward's
men fought seventy engagements in one year, and won every fight.  The
Imperial Chinese Government was very grateful for their aid, and
conferred upon them a high-sounding name which meant, "Ever-Victorious

Unluckily, Ward lost his life in leading an assault, and left his army
without a general.  Li Hung Chang, the statesman, who was later known
as the Grand Old Man of China, came to the British commander General
Stavely, and asked him to appoint a British officer to lead the
Ever-Victorious Army.

Stavely cast about him, and his eye fell upon Major Gordon, who was
then engaged upon a survey of the defenses of Shanghai.  He had known
Gordon and admired him.  He believed that here was the man for the task.

"What he was before Sebastopol he has been since--faithful, trusty, and
successful," reasoned the General.  "Before Pekin and Shanghai he has
evinced just the qualities that are needed now.  Although he has never
been in command, he will rise to this occasion, to which he is more
fitted than any other man whom I know."

Gordon at first declined the honor, perhaps through false modesty, and
the command was given to a Captain Holland, with bad results.  Holland
traded too much on the invincibility of the Ever-Victorious Army, and
attacked a strongly fortified position at Taitsan.  His forces were
driven off with a loss of three hundred men.  It was a grievous loss,
but the moral loss was far deeper.  His men lost spirit, while the
rebels were extravagant in their glee.

Something had to be done at once.  Again they came to Gordon with the
offer of leadership, and this time, he accepted--but not without some
misgiving.  In a letter home, dated March 24, 1863, he writes:

"I am afraid you will be much vexed at my having taken the command of
the Sung-kiang force, and that I am now a Mandarin.  I have taken the
step on consideration.  I think that any one who contributes to putting
down this rebellion fulfils a humane task, and I also think tends a
great deal to open China to civilization."

Gordon soon proved that he had both courage and resourcefulness.  He
did not risk another assault upon Taitsan, as the rebels expected, but
decided to attack them in another quarter.  He took one thousand men by
river to an inland town, Chanzu.  Here was a loyal Chinese garrison
which had been besieged by the rebels and was in sore straits.

The coming of Gordon was a bold and unexpected move, as the rebels must
have outnumbered his force five to one.  But Gordon had brought two
field pieces along, and at once opened fire.  By night-fall the enemy
had enough of it, and retreated.  The next morning the Ever-Victorious
Army marched triumphantly into Chanzu, where they received a great
welcome.  Gordon thus received reinforcements not only from this
garrison, but also from some of the rebel forces who had begun to
"smell a mouse" and decided to come over while the coming was good.

Gordon was much interested in some of these young rebel chiefs.  He
says that they were very intelligent, and were splendidly dressed in
their silks, and had big pearls in their caps.  The head man was about
thirty-five years old, and was ill and worn with anxiety.

"He was so very glad to see me, and chin-chinned most violently,
regretting his inability to give me a present, which I told him was not
the custom of our people."

This rapid victory was productive of several good results.  It once
more put the rebels "on the run," it restored the morale of his troops
and gave them confidence in their new leader, and it brought him many
recruits.  One especially gratifying result was that several British
officers asked leave to serve under him.

Gordon had made a firm friend of Li Hung Chang, who aided him in every
possible way.  He introduced much-needed discipline into his troops,
who had been at first mere adventurers, and also established regular
grades of pay.  The Chinese Government was glad to assume these
payments; while the English authorities were well content with the
unique arrangement.  Whether or not, Gordon would have called it
"anomalous"--it was working, and that was the main thing.

Gordon saw to it that his men were well armed, well paid, well dressed,
and well fed.  Always he had the horrible example of the Crimean
campaign before his eyes, and he was resolved that never again, if he
could help it, should such conditions recur.  He was thus one of the
first of our generals to meet the need of a modern army in a modern
way.  As he wrote, at the destruction of Sebastopol, "The old army is

After Gordon had got his new army in readiness--and not until then--he
launched his systematic campaign against the rebels.  First he moved
against Quinsan, an important stronghold.  It was a large city, some
four or five miles in circumference, and clustered about a commanding
hill.  This city and its approaches were held by a force of about
twelve thousand.  Against them Gordon brought a force of two thousand
infantry and six hundred artillery.

On the east side of the city was a considerable body of water, Lake
Yansing, and on the other side of the lake, the village of Soochow,
also occupied by the rebels.  Gordon brought up his fleet of small
ships and one steamboat on which he had placed guns, and, running in
between the two towns, cut the enemy in two, throwing them into such
confusion that both towns were soon taken by assault.

Gordon wrote home an amusing account of this battle.  It seems that the
rebels inland were unused to steamboats, and when this vessel charged
up with whistle going, they thought it some sort of wrathful god or

"The horror of the rebels at the steamer is very great.  When she
whistles they cannot make it out," he says; and adds that because of
this victory he has been given the rank of Tsung-ping, or Red Button
Mandarin--about equivalent to brigadier general.

These engagements were but the forerunner of many similar ones.  His
army took town after town until order was once more restored, and
"broke the back of the rebellion."

The grateful Chinese Government showered him with titles.  He was made
a "Ti-tu," which gave him the highest rank in the Chinese army.  The
Emperor himself commanded that he should be rewarded with "a yellow
riding jacket, to be worn on his person, and a peacock's feather to be
carried on his cap; also, that there be bestowed on him four suits of
the uniform proper to his rank of Ti-tu, in token of our favor and
desire to do him honor."

It must not be inferred that Gordon came into his high honors in China
easily.  He was constantly beset by difficulties.  His own men on more
than one occasion tried to start a mutiny, and it was only by a display
of his highest and sternest qualities of leadership, that he restored
order.  The Chinese officials, also, had to be handled with diplomacy.
They were accustomed to bargaining, and could not believe at first that
Gordon was not working for selfish ends.  It was only when they
realized the true character of the man, that their esteem and affection
were fully enlisted.

The Emperor wished to bestow on him a large sum of money, but this was
refused.  The Chinese were nonplussed.  Prince Kung reported to a
British official as follows:

"We do not know what to do.  He will not receive money from us, and we
have already given him every honor which it is in the power of the
Emperor to bestow.  But as these can be of little value in his eyes, I
have brought you this letter, and ask you to give it to the Queen of
England, that she may bestow on him some reward which would be more
valuable in his eyes."

The love of this strange race of people for a foreign officer was not
idly bestowed.  They were the first to recognize his highest qualities,
and though he later won high rank under the Union Jack, it is as
Chinese Gordon that his name will most frequently appear in history.

A fellow campaigner in China writes: "What is perhaps most striking in
Gordon's career in China, is the entire devotion with which the native
soldiers served him, and the implicit faith they had in the result of
operations in which he was personally present.  In their eyes General
Gordon was literally a magician to whom all things were possible.  They
believed him to bear a charmed life; and a short stick or rattan cane
which he invariably carried about, and with which he always pointed in
directing the fire of artillery or other operations, was firmly looked
on as a wand or talisman.  These notions, especially the men's idea
that their general had a charmed existence, were substantially aided by
Gordon's constant habit, when the troops were under fire, of appearing
suddenly, usually unattended, and calmly standing in the very hottest
part of the fire."

As to Gordon's personal appearance, a pen picture by a comrade-in-arms,
Colonel Butler, deserves place:

"In figure Gordon, at forty years of age, stood somewhat under middle
height, slight but strong, active, and muscular.  A profusion of thick
brown hair clustered above a broad open forehead.  His features were
regular, his mouth firm, and his expression when silent had a certain
undertone of sadness, which instantly vanished when he spoke.  But it
was the clear, blue-gray eye and the low, soft, and very distinct voice
that left the most lasting impression on the memory of the man who had
seen and spoken with Charles Gordon--an eye that seemed to have looked
at great distances and seen the load of life carried on many shoulders,
and a voice that, like the clear chime of some Flemish belfry, had in
it fresh music to welcome the newest hour, even though it had rung out
the note of many a vanished day."


  1833.  January 28.  Charles George Gordon born.
  1849.  Entered Royal Military Academy, Woolwich.
  1852.  Commissioned second lieutenant of engineers.
  1854.  Sent to the Crimea, to construct huts and trenches.
  1862.  Sent as major to explore Great Wall of China.
  1863.  Took command of "Ever-Victorious Army" in China.
  1864.  Crushed native rebellion and given highest rank in
         Chinese army.
  1874.  Sent on first expedition to Egypt and the Soudan, as colonel.
  1881.  Made major-general.
  1884.  Sent in command of expedition to the Soudan.
  1885.  January 24.  Lost his life in the massacre at Khartoum.



When one is picking out soldiers, one usually chooses big men.  You see a
strapping fellow going by in regimentals, and you say, "My, what a dandy

Well, there have been some big men in stature who have been big
soldiers--such as Washington--but it is interesting to note that many of
our great generals have been undersized.  Such were Grant, Wellington,
and Napoleon.  Such was Lord Roberts who became Earl and Marshal, and was
one of the best-loved leaders that England has produced.  He was
associated with two great campaigns to extend the British Empire--in
India and South Africa--and passed away in the midst of the great World
War, within a few months of Kitchener.

And yet, as a boy, no one would have picked him out as destined to become
a famous soldier.  One recent biographer (Wheeler) calls him "a weak boy
with a strong will," and we cannot do better than repeat this as giving
some sort of key to his career.  Roberts himself has left an entertaining
story of his life in "Forty-One Years in India," which shows that a
soldier's life is not tinsel and parade, but is made up of infinite
hardship.  The weak boy must indeed have to have a strong will in order
to pull through.

Frederick Roberts was born in India at a time when his father, Abraham
Roberts, was lieutenant colonel of infantry at Cawnpore.  This fine old
soldier gave a life-time of service to the crown, and was active in the
border raids in India.  His son lived to complete the task which he
began, of helping to open India to the civilized world.  For his
services, Abraham Roberts became a general and was knighted.  The son,
who was destined to win still higher honors, began his career, September
30, 1832.

Although the boy was born amid the smell of gunpowder, he must have been
a disappointment to his soldier father.  He was puny and sickly, and for
a time it did not seem likely that he would live at all.  So when he was
only a few months old, he was taken from the uncongenial air of India and
brought by his parents to England.  Here he spent his boyhood, away from
the father and mother who were forced by official duties to return to the

His home was a charming country house at Clifton near Bristol, where for
the first years he had private tutors.  One interesting experience was in
a small school at Carrickmacross in Ireland; then, at eleven, he attended
public school at Hampton.  But almost nothing is set down in detail as to
these early years, which would show that besides being a weakling, he was
in no sense remarkable.  He was merely another of those small, backward
urchins that one may see at any recess, on any public school playground.

Still his father was set upon his receiving a military education.  "It
will do no harm, anyway, and may straighten his shoulders a bit," he
doubtless said.  And so at thirteen, young Roberts was entered at Eton,
that training ground of so many of England's soldiers.  He made his first
mark in this famous school by winning a prize in mathematics.  The
obscure lad was beginning to assert himself.

To the end of his days, Roberts held a warm regard for Eton.  Once when
at the end of a great campaign, he was presented with a sword of honor,
on this boyhood's drill ground, he said to a younger generation then
assembled: "To you boys who intend to enter the army, the studies and
sports of this place are your best training.  England's greatest general,
himself an Etonian, is reported to have said that the battle of Waterloo
was won in the Eton playing-fields.  In thus expressing himself, the Duke
(Wellington) meant that bodily vigor, power of endurance, courage, and
rapidity of decision are produced by the manly games which are fostered

Undoubtedly there was a personal touch to these remarks, as Roberts
recalled how he himself had begun to gain these sterling qualities on the
cricket field and gridiron.

When fifteen, he entered the Military College at Sandhurst, but remained
there only two terms.  By nature he was a studious chap, doing especially
well in German and mathematics.  So easily did he solve problems in
algebra and geometry, that his mates promptly nicknamed him "Deductions."

Leaving Sandhurst, he put in a few months at a preparatory military
school at Wimbledon, but his father's return to England, in 1849, marked
the first definite step in his plans.  Colonel Roberts, after several
years away from his son, was delighted to see that the thin chest was
indeed filling out, and the shoulders throwing back.

"Do you think you can stand India, now, my lad?" he asked.

"Why not, sir?" replied the boy briefly.

"Then I think that the East India Company's service is the place for you."

Colonel Roberts himself had been connected with this great company, which
was the forerunner of the Government in India--and he was right in
thinking that its service offered many chances of advancement.

Accordingly the boy was entered in the Company's own military school, at
Addiscombe; and in less than two years had become a second lieutenant in
the Bengal Artillery--a military company maintained as part of this huge
commercial enterprise.

In 1852, in his twentieth year, he received his first marching orders.
They were to report for duty.  He set sail by way of Suez, but there was
no canal in those days to make possible an all-water journey.  Instead,
at Alexandria he changed to a small inland steamer going by canal and
river to Cairo.  Thence a hot dusty trek across the desert was necessary,
in order to reach Suez.

Once in Calcutta, the young subaltern lost no time in proving that he was
not a mollycoddle.  He began by riding every horse in the battery, or
"troop," as it was called in those days.

"Thus," he tells us, "I learned to understand the amount of nerve,
patience and skill necessary to the making of a good Horse Artillery
driver, with the additional advantage that I was brought into constant
contact with the men."

Roberts was early learning the secret of more than one great general's
success--to know his men.  In later life he could call many a man by
name, and knew just what each could do.  While they responded with a
close affection and the nickname by which he will be known to

It is said that Napoleon expected his officers to know the names and
personal histories of every man in their command.  As another result of
Roberts' fellowship with the rank and file he became a crack shot and
expert horseman.  During the fighting in the mutiny of Indian sepoys, he
proved himself a good swordsman as well; and even when he became
Commander-in-chief, he would ride with a tent-pegging team of his own

It was a long and thorough service that he was destined to receive.  He
joined the Quartermaster-General's office before the mutiny broke out,
and remained in it for more than twenty years.  During this period he
gradually worked his way up from one post of responsibility to another,
doing it so gradually that even he himself hardly noticed the advance.
On one occasion, for example, he superintended all the arrangements for
embarking the Bengal Division, which sailed from Calcutta to take part in
an expedition against Abyssinia.

But how he must have chafed at the long delay in getting into the field.
He asked his father more than once to get him transferred to Burma, where
war had broken out and there was a chance for active service.  The
transfer was not granted.

The only thing that came to break up the humdrum of those first years was
a cyclone.  It was actually welcomed; anything for a change!  Roberts
gives a detailed account of it in his autobiography.  He and a native
servant were caught out in the open, when the storm descended with little

"I shouted to him (the servant) as loudly as I could," he relates, "but
the uproar was so terrific that he could not hear a word, and there was
nothing for it but to try and make my own way home.  The darkness was
profound.  As I was walking carefully along, I suddenly came in contact
with an object, which a timely flash of lightning showed me was a column,
standing in exactly the opposite direction from my own house.  I could
now locate myself correctly, and the lightning becoming every moment more
vivid, I was enabled to grope my way by slow degrees to the mess, where I
expected to find some one to show me my way home; but the servants, who
knew from experience the probable effects of a cyclone, had already
closed the outside Venetian shutters and barred all the doors.  In vain I
banged at the door and called at the top of my voice--they heard nothing."

In desperation he had to make his way as best he could back to his own
bungalow, about half a mile away, only to find that also barred against
him.  "I had to continue hammering for a long time before they heard and
admitted me, thankful to be comparatively safe inside a house."

Another disappointment to Roberts lay in the fact that he was still away
from his father, who seemed destined all his life to remain a stranger to
him.  The junior officer was stationed at Dum Dum, famous as the
birthplace of the soft-nosed bullets, now proscribed in civilized
warfare.  His father had been appointed to the command of the troops at
Peshawar, and now wrote him a welcome note bidding him come to join him.

This was easier said than done, but was finally accomplished after three
months of toilsome and dangerous travel.  He used every sort of native
conveyance--barge, post-chaise, palanquin, pony, and "shank's mares"--but
it was interesting and full of novelty to the barracks-bound soldier.  He
went by way of Benares, Allahabad, Cawnpore, and Meerut--places destined
to win unpleasant fame in the Mutiny.

Peshawar, his destination, proved no less fascinating than the way
stations.  It commanded the caravan route between India and Afghanistan,
and guarded the entrance to Khyber Pass.  Lord Dalhousie described it as
"the outpost of the Indian Empire"--a very accurate title.

At Peshawar at last Frederick Roberts became acquainted with his father,
who proved a good comrade.  The junior officer served as aide-de-camp on
the general's staff, and went with him on several expeditions, outwardly
peaceful, but inwardly full of danger.  India then was a seething caldron
of trouble.

Nevertheless, this period with his father is described by Frederick
Roberts as "one of the brightest and happiest of my early life."
Unfortunately the senior officer's health showed signs of breaking--and
again father and son had to part.  General Roberts resigned his command
and returned to England, at the end of the year 1853.

Peshawar was a notoriously unhealthy station, and young Roberts also soon
began to feel the effects of the climate.  He was still far from robust,
and traded continually on his will and nerve.  The native fever sapped
his energy, and he was sent to recuperate, to Kashmir.  He was
enthusiastic about the scenery here, and his tramping and shooting trips
in the bracing climate soon gave back his strength and vim.

It was about this time that he realized his pet ambition of joining the
Horse Artillery.  He also set himself with a will to the study of
Hindustani, as he realized that his usefulness in the
Quartermaster-General's office would be vastly increased if he could deal
directly with the natives.

This was a turning point in Roberts' career.  It was to be his first
stepping stone upward, and it illustrates the point that even though
Opportunity may knock at the door--one must be ready for her.  That
Roberts finally won his larger success was due not so much to his genius
as to his industry.  Edison says that genius is made up of two per cent
inspiration and ninety-eight per cent perspiration.

The great Mutiny, in which Roberts and many another British soldier was
to be plunged, had its immediate cause in a strange thing--greased
cartridges!  How so insignificant a thing could have started so great a
trouble is one of the strange, true stories of history.  There were, of
course, other contributory factors, but this was the match that touched
off the magazine.

At this time England employed a great many native troops.  To be exact,
there were about 257,000; while the British regulars numbered only
36,000.  The latter were outnumbered seven to one.

The Ordnance Department adopted a new rifle, the Enfield, at this
juncture, and sent a consignment to India.  The cartridges for the rifle
were greased, for easy loading, and were to be bitten by the soldiers.
This last act at once set the sepoy soldiers in an uproar.  It was
against their religious scruples to touch meat of any kind, and they
heard it stated that the objectionable cartridges were greased with pig's
and cow's fat.

As soon as the commanding officers saw the trouble, they ordered that the
cartridges be withdrawn--but the mischief was done.

The Mutiny which flared up here among the native soldiers spread quickly
from city to city.  Runners went from camp to camp, urging that they
throw off the hated British yoke.  In some places no written or verbal
message was exchanged.  A basket of unleavened cakes was brought in and
broken, by way of prearranged signal.

After the first outbreaks, councils of war were hurriedly held on the
part of the British officers, and field expeditions organized.  One of
the officers, Colonel Neville Chamberlain, was assigned to the command of
what was called the "Movable Column," or chief army of pursuit.

Roberts was made one of his staff officers--"the most wonderful piece of
good fortune that could come to me," he says.  Shortly afterward,
Chamberlain was made Adjutant General to the Army before Delhi, and then
came orders for all the artillery officers to join in this attack.
Roberts was to see active service at last.

He found himself under fire at Delhi for the first time on June 30, 1857.
While it was only a skirmish it was a lively one while it lasted.

With some 1,100 men and a dozen guns, Major Coke went on an expedition
against a troublesome group of rebels, and Roberts accompanied him as a
staff officer.  When the enemy appeared the only way to reach them in
time was by crossing a swamp.  Another troop of rebels unexpectedly
appeared in force, but were put to rout.

A few days later, a similar skirmish occurred, which for a time looked
more serious.  Roberts was posted across a road with a squad of men and
two guns.  The enemy attacked them with a cross-fire.  How he and his
band escaped is a mystery.

During their enforced retreat, Roberts felt a stinging sensation in his
back, but managed to keep going.  It was found afterwards that his life
had been saved by the slipping of his knapsack down from his shoulders.
This had been penetrated by a bullet, which had entered his body close to
his spine.  Its force had been broken, but the wound was still so severe
as to lay him up for several weeks.

The almost superhuman difficulties which lay in the path of this handful
of Englishmen scattered throughout India, are summed up in a letter by
another officer, Hodson, as follows:

"The whole country is a steaming bog.  I keep my health wonderfully,
thank God! in spite of heat, hard work and exposure; and the men bear up
like Britons.  We all feel that the Government ought to allow every
officer and man before Delhi to count every month spent here as a year of
service in India.  There is much that is disappointing and disgusting to
a man who feels that more might have been done, but I comfort myself with
the thought that history will do justice to the constancy and fortitude
of the handful of Englishmen who have for so many weeks--months, I may
say--of desperate weather, amid the greatest toil and hardship, resisted
and finally defeated the worst and most strenuous exertions of an entire
army and a whole nation in arms--an army trained by ourselves, and
supplied with all but exhaustless munitions of war, laid up by ourselves
for the maintenance of the Empire.  I venture to aver that no other
nation in the world would have remained here, or have avoided defeat had
they attempted to do so."

The story of the rise and fall of the Indian Mutiny is the story of the
life of Roberts--in so far as the rise is concerned.  His was an
inconspicuous but well played part.  Acting as staff officer and
lieutenant of a gunners' company by turns, he was always in the thick of
it.  If it were the command of guns at a difficult salient before Delhi,
it was "Send Roberts."  If it were an urgent message for more ammunition,
at Agra, "Send Roberts."  If it were an escort for the rescued women and
children at the historic relief of Lucknow, "Send Roberts."

This slender, undersized officer, in spite of his physique, seemed
indefatigable.  He had several narrow escapes from death, in hand-to-hand
encounters with sepoys.  Once, a mutineer fired point-blank at him at
twelve yards away, but for some providential reason Roberts' horse reared
just at the moment of firing and received the bullet in his own head.

At another time, a fanatic danced out in front of his horse waving a
turban to frighten it, and at the same time whirling a wicked looking
scimitar around his head.  Roberts drew his pistol but the weapon missed
fire.  The fanatic sprang forward, and it is probable that the career of
a future Field Marshal would have ended then and there, had not a lancer
spurred his horse in between and run the fellow down.

On still another occasion, his presence of mind saved the flag from
capture and brought him the first of his many honors, the Victoria Cross.
An assault had been made on the village of Khudaganj, and the pursuit was
being followed up in brave style, when some of the rebels suddenly faced
around and took steady aim at those who were charging them.  Roberts was
of the party and had gone to the rescue of a man who was on the verge of
being run through by a bayonet, when he saw two sepoys running off with
the Union Jack.  He spurred his horse in pursuit, and, leaning over,
wrenched the standard out of the hands of one of the men, at the same
time sabering him.  The other sepoy took advantage of the opportunity to
take steady aim at Roberts, point-blank, but the weapon missed fire.
Roberts returned with the flag, and for reward of his gallant action was
given the V. C., that most coveted of British decorations.

Another officer in writing of the event says: "Roberts is one of those
rare men who, to uncommon daring and bravery in the field, and
unflinching, hard-working discharge of duty in the camp, adds the charm
of cheery and unaffected kindness and hospitality in the tent, and his
acquaintance and friendship are high prizes to those who obtain them."

With the end of the Mutiny, Roberts was sent to England on sick leave for
a much-needed rest.  In April, 1858, exactly six years after his arrival
at Calcutta, he turned over his duties of Deputy-Assistant
Quartermaster-General to his successor--though much against his will.  He
felt that again he was in danger of being put upon the shelf, and his
intensely active nature longed for still further field service.

In a little over a year, however, he was recalled to India, and there
given a unique task.  The first Viceroy to India, Canning, determined to
impress the natives by a pomp and display dear to their own hearts, and
show the majesty of England, by holding a series of Durbars, or triumphal
processions.  These extended right across India, from city to city, for a
thousand miles.  To Roberts was assigned the important task of arranging
all the details of the tour, and he did it with characteristic
thoroughness.  It was like moving a mammoth circus, what with elephants,
tents, supplies of all kinds, and gorgeous trappings to be handled.

These Durbars lasted for six months, and the Viceroy not only
complimented Roberts for his work, but gazetted him for the rank of
Brevet Major.

The next few years were much of a piece--a routine of office and field
work which, if it brought nothing sensational to the conscientious young
officer, still kept his feet in the path of glory.  It was not until the
year 1875, that he reached the goal for which he had long
striven--Quartermaster-General of the Army in India, which carried with
it the rank of Major General.

With this title his larger work in India may be said to have fairly
begun.  For nearly twenty years longer his military career was to be
continued there, and in the neighboring country of Afghanistan.  It is
all recounted in his "Forty-One Years in India"--a recital of constant
adventure and interest.  For his services, he was made a peer of England,
receiving the title of Baron Roberts of Kandahar.  An address presented
to him by the native and English residents, on his leaving India, is
worth repeating.

"The history of the British Empire in India has not, at least in the last
thirty years, produced a hero like Your Lordship, whose soldier-like
qualities are fully known to the world.  The country which has been the
cradle of Indian invasions came to realize the extent of your power and
recognized your generalship. . . .  The occupation of Kabul and the
glorious battle of Kandahar are amongst the brightest jewels in the
diadem of Your Lordship's Baronage. . . .  Terrible in war and merciful
in peace, Your Excellency's name has become a dread to the enemies of
England and lovely to your friends."

That last phrase, "lovely to your friends," is a true though Oriental
summing-up of one great secret of Roberts' renown.  He has been called
the "best-loved soldier of England."  And he possessed in an especial
degree the power of attracting and holding the love and respect of the
East Indians.  They felt that he would always deal fairly by them.

When he went to Mandalay, in 1886, he saw that if he wished to win the
confidence of the people of Upper Burmah, he must win over the Buddhist
priests.  This he did, and even persuaded his Government to pension the
three head priests.

"They showed their gratitude," he says, "by doing all they could to help
me, and when I was leaving the country, the old Thathana bain accompanied
me as far as Rangoon.  We corresponded till his death, and I still hear
occasionally from one or other of my Phoonghi friends."

As for his own soldiers, they came fairly to worship him.  To them he was
not a Lord, or General, or Field Marshal, but just "Bobs" and "Our Bobs."
Wellington commanded the respect of his men, but Roberts their love.

"Lord Roberts!  Well, he's just a father," is the testimony of one gunner
in the South African War.  "Often goes around hospital in Bloemfontein,
and it's 'Well, my lad, how are you today?  Anything I can do for you?
Anything you want?'--and never forgets to see that the man has what he
asks for.  Goes to the hospital train--'Are you comfortable?  Are you
sure you're comfortable?'  Then it's 'Buck up!  Buck up!' to those who
need it.  But when he sees a man dying, it's 'Can I pray with you, my
lad?'  I've seen him many a time praying, with not a dry eye near--tears
in his eyes and ours.  He is a lord!"

A favorite story about him relates to an audience with Queen Victoria.
The famous veteran was then sixty-eight and for several years had been
living in retirement.  Now his sovereign asked him to buckle on his sword
again, and go to retrieve the fallen British fortunes in South Africa.

"You do not think that you are too old for this arduous task?" asked the
Queen.  "You are not afraid of your health breaking down?"

"I have kept myself fit," replied the old soldier, "for the past twenty
years, in the hope that I might command in such a campaign as this."

The remark, "I have kept myself fit," is a keynote of his life.  The puny
boy of the long ago was to survive this campaign with flying colors, and
to lend his counsel in the Great War of our own time.  It was a long life
and full of service.  In an address to a children's school, when a man of
eighty, he summed up his creed by saying:

"In the first place, don't be slack in anything that you are doing.
Whether it be work or play, do it with all your might.  You will find
that this great Empire can only be maintained by the exercise of
self-denial, by training, by discipline, and by courage."


  1832.  September 30.  Frederick Roberts born.
  1845.  Entered Eton School.
  1847.  Entered military college at Sandhurst.
  1852.  Went as second-lieutenant of Bengal Artillery to India.
  1857.  Fought in the Mutiny, and won Victoria Cross.
  1858.  Returned to England on leave.
  1859.  Sent back to India, major.
  1875.  Quartermaster-general of Army of India.
  1885.  Commander-in-chief in India.
  1891.  Created a peer.
  1895.  Created field marshal.
  1900.  South African campaign.
  1901.  Commander-in-chief of British army.
  1914.  November 14.  Died in France.



When Chinese Gordon lost his life in Khartoum, Egypt, in 1884, because
the British relief force reached him two days too late, a young officer
accompanying the expedition was getting his first glimpse of a land
that was destined to make him famous.  "Kitchener of Khartoum" was to
become as widely known in a later generation as Chinese Gordon was in
his own.  Each won his spurs in a foreign land.

Kitchener was then a cavalry officer of thirty-five, and did not seem
destined to get much higher in army circles.  Yet he had never lost
faith in himself.  After this first expedition to Egypt, when he was
still only a major, he remarked drolly to a fellow officer:

"Never mind, my dear fellow, a few years hence you and I will be
generals, and these people who annoy us now (meaning the red-tape
departmental clerks) will be looking out of their club windows, with
all their teeth falling out of their heads!"

During this same expedition, he spoke of the fact that their commanding
officer had missed the key-point, by saying:

"It's the same with everybody.  We must stop floundering, or people
will forget that Khartoum is our objective and always will be."

Prophetic words for Kitchener of Khartoum.

Who was this strong, stern, silent soldier whose career linked up past
wars with the great World War of our own day?

Like Wellington and Roberts, Kitchener came of Irish stock.  He was
born near Listowel, June 24, 1850, his father, Colonel Henry Kitchener,
having bought a considerable estate in the counties of Kerry and

Colonel Kitchener had seen a good deal of active service himself, and
still more of garrison life.  He determined to retire, and after buying
some 2,000 acres of land in Ireland, at a bankrupt sale, he built a
hunting lodge, called Gunsborough House.  This was Herbert Horatio
Kitchener's birthplace.  Whether the name of the house had anything to
do with his warlike career, history does not state.  But certain it is,
that he was a born soldier--a man of iron almost from his boyhood.

"Yes," said his old nurse, in talking about him only a few years ago,
"I know that he is a great man; and they tell me that he has no heart,
and that everybody is afraid of him; but they are wrong.  He is really
one of the most tender-hearted men in the world; and whenever he comes
to see me, he is 'my boy' just as he was in the old days in Ireland,
when he used to run to me in all his troubles, and fling his arms
around me and hug me.  Ah, there is nobody left who knows the real
Master Herbert as I know him."

As a boy at school, Herbert Kitchener was not very brilliant.  Like
Wellington, whose mother called him "the fool of the family," Kitchener
did too much day-dreaming to make much headway with his studies.  His
first teacher was a governess, who gave him up in despair.  Then he was
sent to a private school where he did not do any better.

His father lost his patience.  Just before an examination, he made a
dire threat.

"Young man," said the Colonel, "if you fail I'll make you toe the mark.
I'll send you to a girl's school."

Apparently the threat did not have the desired effect.  He flunked and
was transferred to the other school.  This time he was told that
failure meant that he would be taken out of school entirely and
apprenticed to a hatter.

The warning had the desired effect.  Herbert buckled down to work and
not only passed his examinations, but even began to show a decided
liking for mathematics--which study was to be of good service in later

By this time the family had moved into a more pretentious home, known
as the Crotta House.  Little is related of his boyhood life there.  It
was quiet and uneventful.  The boy was of reserved nature, preferring
to sit quietly in the corner and listen while others did the talking.
Yet when drawn out, he could talk well, preferring to reason rather
than argue.  His chief outdoor sport was swimming.  The home was only a
few miles inland from the Atlantic coast, and he and his brothers often
rode over for a dip.

His father was of industrious and thorough-going type.  The family
motto was "Thorough," and the Colonel lived up to it.  "K. of K." also
became a master of detail; and here on his father's estate he learned
his first lessons in it.  Colonel Kitchener constantly preached the
value of time--and practised what he preached.  Instead of settling
down to a life of ease, he was always at work on the estate.  He
reclaimed large tracts of bogs, turning them into fertile land.  He
raised breed horses and cattle.  He set up his own factory for making
bricks, tiles, and drain-pipes.  His own life of energy and
organization was the best possible example to his boys.  That Herbert,
with all his apparent indolence, was profiting by it, became evident
years afterward.

When the boy was fifteen, his father determined on a complete change of
environment for him.  "I want you to see something else besides
Ireland," he said.  Herbert was accordingly sent to Switzerland, to a
French school conducted by a Mr. Bennett.  It was in Villeneuve, at the
eastern end of Lake Geneva.  In this scenic spot of Europe he remained
for some four years, paying occasional visits home, but becoming more
and more a cosmopolitan, instead of merely a shy Irish lad.  He learned
to speak French like a native, and got a start in German and Italian.
Languages always came easy to him.

Meanwhile he trudged about the mountain country on many a long
excursion, with a camera slung across his shoulders, learning an art
that he was soon to put to good use.  Thanks to this outdoor life he
grew up into a strong, well-built fellow, with a physique that was to
stand the test of many hard days to come.

His father wanted him to follow in his own footsteps and become a
soldier.  He used his influence to place him in the Royal Military
Academy, at Woolwich.  Herbert entered there as a cadet, in his
nineteenth year.

Two years later, while still a cadet, we find him getting his foretaste
of actual warfare.  It was the summer of 1870.  War had been declared
by France against Prussia--the short but terrible war so skilfully
engineered by Bismarck.  Herbert Kitchener had gone to spend a summer
vacation with his father, at Dinan in the north of France, and promptly
got imbued with the war fever.  He enlisted in a battalion, in the
Second Army of the Loire, commanded by General Chanzy.  This army, like
other well-intentioned but poorly organized troops of the French, was
driven steadily back by the superior German forces, until the enemy
bombarded and captured Paris.

It is interesting to note that Kitchener's first and last military
service was on behalf of the French against their hereditary
enemies--and that history came dangerously near to repeating itself in
the German drive of 1914 against Paris.  That it did not do so, was due
in no small measure to the grim veteran who was now Secretary of War,
and to his wonderful army of volunteers, dubbed "Kitchener's Mob."

Whether or not Kitchener did any actual close-up fighting in these
early days we do not know.  One novel experience, however, is placed to
his credit.  He made an ascent in an observation balloon, with two
French officers.  In those days, the big bags were risky and unknown
quantities, and an ascent was something to talk about.

The ill-starred war over, young Kitchener returned to Woolwich, and his
school duties as though nothing special had happened.

"Why did you go off and join the French army?" he was asked by the

"Please, sir," came the straightforward answer, "I understood that I
should not be wanted for some time, and I could not be idle.  I thought
I might learn something."

He had indeed--if nothing more than the power of a thoroughly prepared
enemy against an unready land.

The next stage in Kitchener's career was picturesque but full of
hardship.  It was in connection with an exploring expedition to the
Holy Land.

In 1865, a society called the Palestine Exploration Fund had been
founded, its object being to study the history and geography of the
country.  Seven years later it had entered on the gigantic task of
surveying a tract of about 6,000 square miles, much of it desert or
mountainous country.

Kitchener was just graduating from the Military Academy, with the usual
rank of lieutenant, and was casting about for active service.  He could
not brook the idea of settling down to garrison life.  The post of
assistant to the leader of this Palestine Expedition was offered him,
and he accepted with alacrity.  While a private enterprise, it had the
sanction of the War Department, and promised to provide thrills as well
as work.  The fact that it was the Holy Land of Bible story also
appealed to Kitchener.  Witness one of the first entries in his Journal:

"Looking down on the broad plain of Esdraelon . . . it is impossible
not to remember that this is the greatest battlefield of the world,
from the days of Joshua and the defeat of the mighty hosts of Sisera,
till, almost in our own days, Napoleon the Great fought the battle of
Mount Tabor; and here also is the ancient Megiddo, where the last great
battle of Armageddon is to be fought."

Lieutenant Kitchener reported for duty in Palestine, in the Fall of
1874.  The exploration party was then working in the hill country south
of Judah, which was still a sealed book to the rest of the world.
Their job was "to search in every hole and corner of the country and
see what is there, and classify everything in proper form"--to quote
the words of their prospectus.  For this work they required both the
surveyor's instrument and the camera.

In the use of the latter, Kitchener had shown aptitude at school; and
it is said that this fact had something to do with his appointment.  It
is evident from the first official report that he "made good."  His
chief, Lieutenant Conder, states that he succeeded in securing some
excellent photographs "under peculiarly unfavorable circumstances."

The climate did not set well with him at first, and after two attacks
of fever he recovered his health sufficiently to take part in the Dead
Sea work of 1875.

At Wady Seiyal, reports Conder, "we were caught in the most tremendous
gale which we have yet experienced in tents; and our next march of
nineteen miles in a perfect hurricane of bitter wind, with showers of
sleet and hail, necessitated by the fact that all our barley and other
stores were consumed, was the hardest bit of experience we have yet
encountered.  Our dogs and two muleteers were unable to face the storm,
and took refuge in caves.  Old Sheikh Hamzeh fell off his pony twice,
and had to be tied on.  The brave beasts struggled for eleven hours,
and crossed more than one torrent of cold water up nearly to the
girths, but by eight at night they were in a warm stable, and we had
found refuge in Hebron in the house of a German Karaite Jew, whose
hospitality was as great as his subsequent charge was high."

At times the ground was so uneven and devoid of trails, that they could
not march much faster than one mile an hour.  The only human beings
they encountered were the Bedouin Arabs--sly, furtive fellows who were
always ready for a trade, but who would kill a man just as readily for
his shirt.

The slow progress, however, did not worry Kitchener particularly.  He
made good use of the time in photographing old walls, caves, and
natural strongholds.  For instance, five days were spent in getting
data and records of the ruins of a fortress erected at Ascalon by
Richard Coeur-de-Lion, during his famous Crusade.

Here it was that Kitchener's skill in swimming and presence of mind
were put to the test.  Lieutenant Conder was swept off his horse while
fording the stream, and was in imminent danger of drowning, when
Kitchener sprang to his aid and towed him ashore.

Despite the danger and hardships, Kitchener revelled in this wild life.
One of the party says of him: "He was as good company as a man could
wish to have, full of life and good spirits.  We none of us thought
much about our toilets, and he least of all.  Why, after a few months'
travelling about in Palestine, he looked more like a tramp than an
officer in Her Majesty's Army.  His clothes wouldn't have fetched a
three penny-bit at any 'old do' shop in Whitechapel."

It was in this first field service that he won a reputation which clung
to him through his whole career.  They said that his chief amusement
was work, and his relaxation, more work.  He was of seemingly tireless
energy, and never could understand the let-downs of others.  The
boyhood trait of silence was also marked in the man.  Although he
picked up languages easily, he used them sparingly.  It was said of him
later that he could keep silent in ten languages.

In a letter home, from Palestine, he throws a sidelight on this working
phase of his nature.  "The non-commissioned officers," he says, "though
ready to go through any amount of work or danger, are much discouraged
at the prospect of an indefinite delay without employment, which, in my
opinion, is more trying in this climate than work."

Not long after, the round of work and routine duty was varied by a
first-class fight.  A Moslem sheikh had become so impertinent one day,
that Lieut. Conder ordered him out of his tent.  The sheikh drew a
knife and was promptly disarmed and made prisoner by the British.
Instantly he lifted up his voice, calling for his men.  The response
was prompt.  They seemed to spring up out of the very rocks, and soon
there were two hundred of them howling and dancing around the handful
of Englishmen.  Conder thus relates the happening:

"Lieut. Kitchener and I were immediately surrounded.  Three came to me
and asked me with curses what I was doing.  An old man thrust his
battle-axe violently into my side, but I did not like to strike him,
though I had now a hunting-crop in my hand.  I told them they were mad
and would be severely punished if they struck an Englishman.  About
this time other members of the party saw a gun levelled at me five
yards off, but fortunately the man's hand was caught before he fired.
A man now came into the crowd which surrounded me, and dealt me a blow
on the head with a large club with great violence, causing two wounds
on the side of my head, covering my face with blood.  A second blow,
directed with full force at the top of my head, must inevitably have
brained me, had I not put my head down to his chest.  My servants gave
me up for dead.  The blow fell on my neck, which ever since has been so
stiff and swollen that it is impossible to turn it round.  The rest of
the party saw me fall.

"As soon as I got up, I dealt this man a blow in the face with the
handle of my whip which staggered him, but my whip flew out of my hand
and left me entirely unarmed.  I must inevitably have been murdered but
for the cool and prompt assistance of Lieut. Kitchener, who managed to
get to me and engaged one of the clubmen, covering my retreat.

"A blow descending on the top of his head he parried with a cane, which
was broken by the force of the blow.  A second wounded his arm.  His
escape is unaccountable.  Having retired a few paces from the thick of
the fray, I saw that the Moslems were gradually surrounding us,
stealing behind trees and through vineyards, and I well understood that
in such a case, unless the soldiers arrived at once, we must all die.
Many of the servants had indeed already given up hope, though no one
fled.  I gave the order to leave the tents and fly round the hill.

"Lieut. Kitchener was the last to obey this order, being engaged in
front.  He retreated to his tent, and whilst running he was fired at,
and heard the bullet whistle by his head.  He was also followed for
some short distance by a man with a huge scimitar, who subsequently
wounded with it more than one of our people."

The timely arrival of the regular soldiers undoubtedly saved the little
party from massacre.

Another enemy, the Eastern fever, was more successful in attack.  Both
Conder and Kitchener had to return to England to recuperate.  In 1877,
Kitchener went back, this time in command of the expedition, and by
midsummer had completed his survey of northern Palestine.  He had
covered all told one thousand miles of country, making photographs and
maps which added immeasurably to the general knowledge.

On his way back to England, Kitchener stopped in Turkey, which was then
at war with Bulgaria.  His observations on the qualities of soldiers in
the two peoples, as recorded in an article written for _Blackwood's
Magazine_, are interesting in the light of later wars.

The publication of the results of the Palestine exploration first
brought Kitchener to public notice.  He was officially thanked and
began to be regarded as a marked man.  He had won his first spurs.

His next task was along similar lines.  The Island of Cyprus occupied a
strategic position in the Mediterranean, and moreover had been the
scene of much turmoil.  The British Government desired to set up a
stable regime there, and to this end decided to make a careful survey
of the Island and its resources.  They naturally turned to Kitchener to
do the work.  The satisfactory way in which he carried it through
earned for him the warm approval of Lord Derby, then Secretary of State
for the Colonies.  One of his associates in Cyprus says of him there:
"We saw little of Kitchener at the club or anywhere else where
Englishmen mostly congregated, although he sometimes turned up at the
gymkhana meetings to contribute his share to their success.  Kitchener
was always a hard worker, a gentleman with a long head who thought much
but said little.  It is, of course, easy enough to prophesy when you
know, but honestly, to my mind, he looked a man who would go far if he
only had his chance."

As an immediate result of this work, Kitchener was given the rank of
Major, and sent with Lord Wolseley's expedition into Egypt--then in the
throes of civil war.  One reason for his promotion was his ability to
speak Arabic.  His several years in the East had not only taught him
the languages, but valuable insight into manners and customs.

The campaign was short and summary.  The rebel forces were routed and
order established in northern Egypt.  Kitchener's ability to organize,
and his knowledge of the people soon made him indispensable.  His name
occurred so frequently in the official reports, that Lord Cromer, in
the home office, remarked: "This Kitchener seems to have a finger in
every pie.  I must see him and find out what he is like."  Later, after
seeing him, Cromer said: "That man's got a lot in him.  He should prove
one of our best assets in Egypt."

The next event--and a dramatic one--in Kitchener's life was concerned
with the attempted rescue of Gordon, some three years later.  This
famous General had been sent to subdue the Soudan, which literally
means "Land of the Blacks," and had not received sufficient
reinforcements.  It was a blunder on the part of the home Government
for which Gordon was to pay with his life.  A relief force under
Wolseley was sent too late.

Kitchener was fully alive to the peril of the situation, but being only
a subordinate could not do much to hasten affairs.  He did know,
however, that a widespread conspiracy was being hatched which
threatened the safety of Wolseley's forces as well.  How he got at the
bottom of this conspiracy is related by Charles Shaw, a Canadian
journalist who accompanied the expedition.

A group of Arabs who had been in a brawl were lying tied hand and foot
in the guardhouse, when a tall man, also securely tied, was thrown in
with them.  Although dressed like a native, Shaw relates, "he looked a
different brand of Arab than I had been accustomed to.  He was
Kitchener.  He was after the conspiracy.

"I didn't know much Arabic in those days, but we could hear the
Dongolese talk and talk in excited tones the whole night, the tall man
occasionally saying a few words.

"When we paraded before the large open-faced orderly tent next morning,
we were almost paralyzed to see Lord Wolseley himself seated at the
little table with Kitchener beside him, both in full staff uniform.  A
tall, fine-looking Arab was being examined through the interpreter.  He
didn't seem impressed by the glittering uniforms or the presence of the
Commander-in-chief, or embarrassed by their questions.  Once or twice
an expression of surprise flitted over his face, but his eyes were
always fixed on Kitchener, who would now and again stoop and whisper
something in Lord Wolseley's ear.  Once he raised his voice.  The
prisoner heard its intonation and recognized him.  With a fierce bound
the long, lithe Arab made a spring and was over the table, and had
seized Kitchener by the throat.  There was a short, swift struggle,
Wolseley's eye glistened, and he half drew his sword.  Kitchener,
athletic as he was, was being overpowered, and the Arab was throttling
him to death.

"There was a rush of the guard--and within ten minutes a cordon of
sentries surrounded the Mudir of Dongola's tent.  Within three days he
was a prisoner in his palace at Dongola, guarded by half a battalion of
British soldiers.  The conspiracy was broken.

"How widespread it was, only half a dozen white men knew at the
time. . . .  To it the treachery of the Egyptian garrison at Khartoum
and the death of Gordon was due, and the preservation of the Desert
Column (the relief force), can be placed to its discovery."

The next few years in Kitchener's life, which we can but summarize,
show him wielding a masterful hand in the pacification of Egypt.  After
Gordon's death, the command was reorganized, and Kitchener became a
Lieutenant Colonel of Cavalry.  His duties took him to the extreme

Halfway down the Red Sea, over against Mecca, is Suakim, the southern
outpost of Egypt.  Suakim has the distinction of being one of the
hottest stations on earth, and one of the most desolate, comparable to
Central Arizona in the hot season.  Here Kitchener served as Governor
from 1886 to 1888, with distinction.  The following year found him
fighting on the frontier of the Soudan, the wild, vast back-country to
the south and west.

From 1889 to 1892 he served as Adjutant-General of the Egyptian Army,
nominally as an officer of the Sultan's viceroy, the Khedive; but in
reality the visible presence of England's protecting power.  He
received several high decorations, which would show that he won the
esteem and confidence of his Egyptian patrons.  Finally in 1893 the
Khedive made him Sirdar, or Commander-in-chief.

South of the Egyptian frontier, on the Upper Nile among the cataracts,
the three cities, Dongola, Berber, and Khartoum form a triangle of
trading centers.  Kitchener saw that these were the strategic points in
the control of Upper Egypt, and in 1896 led an expedition thither.

Ever since the death of Gordon, the country had been unsettled.  It
remained to Kitchener to wield the avenging sword.  He laid a light
railroad southward along the Nile, and marched swiftly, taking his
supplies with him.  At Omdurman he finally met the enemy and inflicted
a crushing defeat.  At Khartoum, where Gordon had been slain, he set up
a stable government.

He came back to civilization a Major General in the British army, a
peer of England--and "Kitchener of Khartoum."  This popular title was
speedily shortened to "K of K," and was as well known wherever English
Tommies assembled as "Bobs," the affectionate nickname of Lord Roberts.

But Kitchener never won the deep affection of the rank and file, that
Roberts inspired.  He was taciturn, aloof, and a stern disciplinarian.
His name evoked fear and respect, but never love.  And yet, his men
would follow him through fire and water, for they had unbounded
confidence in his ability.  It was his name that was placarded through
London, when the recruiting began for the Great War--and not the King's.

"Will you serve with Kitchener?" the posters said.  And they responded,
three million strong--"Kitchener's Mob," which was to become so soon a
skilled army under his guidance.

They tell of him that when he took the post of Secretary of War, on his
first visit of inspection to the office he looked around and said, "Is
there a bed here?"  When answered in the negative, he gave the brief
order, "Have one brought in."

Thereafter for several weeks he literally lived in his office night and
day.  He had at last found a job that measured up to his fullest
requirements for hard work, and he revelled in it.  Incidentally, he
"delivered the goods"--but nobody marvelled at that; it was nothing
more than was expected of him!

Says an anonymous writer in _The Living Age_: "England never fully
understood Lord Kitchener, and perhaps he never fully understood his
countrymen.  They weaved innumerable myths around this shy and solitary
man, who revealed himself to few.  To them his figure loomed gigantic
and mysterious through the sandstorms of African deserts and the mists
of the Himalayas.  In their hour of trial he came among them for a
space, and then vanished forever in the wild Northern seas.  He was a
good man to fight for or to fight against, and he found a worthy end."


  1850.  June 24.  Herbert Horatio Kitchener born.
  1865.  Sent to Switzerland to school.
  1868.  Entered Royal Military Academy, at Woolwich.
  1870.  Volunteered in French army against Prussia.
  1874.  Sent as second-lieutenant to Palestine, with exploration party.
  1878.  Surveyed Island of Cyprus, for British Government.
  1885.  Lieutenant-colonel of cavalry in Egypt.
  1893.  Sirdar, or commander-in-chief, of Egyptian army.
  1898.  Created a baron.
  1900.  Chief of staff to Roberts in South Africa.
  1902.  Made general, and commander-in-chief in India.
  1911.  Consul-general in Egypt.
  1914.  Secretary of War.  Field marshal.
  1916.  June 5.  Lost his life at sea.



"There goes young Haig.  He says he intends to be a soldier."

The speaker was a young student at Oxford University, as he jerked his
thumb in the direction of a slight but well-set-up fellow, a classmate,
who went cantering past.

The chance remark, made more than once during the college days of Field
Marshal Haig, struck the keynote of his career.  From early boyhood
Douglas Haig was going to be a soldier; and he stuck to his guns in a
quiet, systematic way until he won out.

The story of Haig's life until the time of the Great War, was the
opposite of spectacular, and even in it, his personal prowess was kept
studiously in the background.  With him it has always been: "My men did
thus and so."  Yet in his quiet way he has always made his presence
felt with telling effect.  He has been the man behind the man behind
the gun.

By birth Haig was a "Fifer," which sounds military without being so.
He was a native of Cameronbridge, County of Fife, and came of the
strictest Presbyterian Scotch.  If he had lived a few centuries back he
would have been a Covenanter--the kind that carried a Bible in one hand
and a gun in the other.  He was born, June 19, 1861, the youngest son
of John Haig, a local Justice of the Peace.  His mother was a Veitch of

The family, while not wealthy, was comfortably situated.  The Haig
children grew up as countrywise rather than townbred, having many a
romp over the rolling country leading to the Highlands.  But more than
once on such a jaunt would come the inquiry: "Where's Douglas?"  (We
doubt whether they ever shortened it to "Doug," as they would have done
in America.)  And back would come the answer: "Oh, he stayed by the
house, the morn.  He got a new book frae the library, ye ken."

Douglas was, indeed, bookish and was inclined to favor the inglenook
rather than the heather.  As he grew older he discovered a strong
liking for books on theology.  It was the old Presbyterian streak
cropping out.

The last thing one would expect from such a boy, was to become a
soldier.  A divinity student, yes,--perhaps a college professor--but a
soldier, never!  Yet it was to soldiering that this quiet boy turned.

The one thing which linked him up with the field was horsemanship.  He
was always a devotee of riding, and soon learned to ride well, with a
natural ease and grace.

He received a general education at Clifton, then entered Brasenose
College, Oxford, at the age of twenty.  He was never a
"hail-fellow-well-met" sort of person.  Reserve was his hallmark.  But
the longer he stayed in college, the more of an outdoorsman he became.
Every afternoon would find him mounted on his big gray horse for a
gallop across the moors, or perhaps an exciting canter behind the
hounds on the scent of a fox.  It was then that his habitual reserve
would melt away, and he would wave his hat and cheer like a high-school

The record of his classes is in no sense remarkable.  He turned in neat
and precise papers, without making shining marks in any particular
study.  Literature and science were his best subjects.

"Well, son, how goes it now?" his father would ask.  "Ready to make a
lawyer out of yourself?"

Douglas would shake his head.  He could never share his father's
enthusiasm for the law.  "I guess not, father," he would reply quietly.
"Somehow, I am not built that way.  I want a try at soldier life."

So his father let him follow his bent, and procured for him a position
in the Seventh Regiment of Hussars.  His career as a soldier was
threatened at the outset by the refusal of the medical board to admit
him to the Staff College on the ground that he was color-blind; but
this decision was over-ruled by the Duke of Cambridge, then
commander-in-chief, who nominated him personally.  This was in 1885.
England was then as nearly at peace as she ever became, and it seemed
that young Haig was destined to become a feather-bed soldier.

But it was not for long.  They presently began to stir up trouble down
in Egypt, and England found, as on many previous occasions, that she
didn't have half enough regulars for the job in hand.  The revolt of
the Mahdi had occurred, Khartoum had fallen, and the brave Gordon had
lost his life.

A relief expedition into the Soudan was organized under the command of
a tall, stern soldier named Kitchener, who began his first preparations
to march into the interior about the time that Haig was putting on his
first Hussar uniform.

The campaign in Egypt dragged, despite the zeal of the leader.  In
disgust, Kitchener returned to England to demand more men.  The request
was at last granted, and by December, 1888, he was in command of a
force of over 4,000 troops, of which number 750 were British regulars!
Those were indeed the days of the "Little Contemptibles," but right
manfully they measured up to their tasks.  And in the British force was
the Seventh Hussars, including Haig.  He was about to achieve his
life's ambition, at last--to see real service as a British soldier.

Haig was then a well-knit young man of twenty-seven.  His outdoor
exercise had browned and hardened him, until he looked thoroughly fit
for the exacting job ahead.  He was slightly under medium size, but
tough and wiry to the last degree.  His shoulders were broad, his head
well set, and the bulging calves of his legs showed the born
cavalryman.  He had fair, almost sandy hair, a close-cropped mustache,
and steel-blue eyes which met honestly and unflinchingly the gaze of
any with whom he talked.  He looked then, as in later years, "every
inch a soldier," and speedily won the confidence of his superiors.

The silent Kitchener, who was a keen judge of men, soon took a fancy to
this quiet young lieutenant.  A friendship sprang up between them, that
was destined to bear far-reaching fruit.  The two men were both
reserved in demeanor, but in a different sort of way.  Kitchener was
taciturn and often inclined to growl.  Haig was a man of few words and
no intimates, but greeted all with a pleasant smile.  To this young
Scotsman Kitchener unbent more than was his wont, and was actually seen
shaking hands with him, at parting, on a later occasion; which all goes
to show that even commanding officers can be human.

On the march into the Soudan, Kitchener was in command of the Egyptian
Cavalry also.  The Khedive was exceedingly anxious that the rebellion
be crushed speedily, and had made Kitchener the "sirdar."  One of the
first actions in this campaign was the Battle of Gemaizeh.  Three
brigades were sent to storm the forts held by the dervishes, and a
heavy and sustained fire from three sides soon drove the enemy out in
disorder.  Some 500 dervishes were slain, and the remainder numbering
several thousand fled across the desert toward Handub--closely pursued
by the British Hussars and the Egyptian cavalry.

This was only the first of many such actions.  Further and further
south the rebels were driven.  Kitchener pushed a light railroad across
the desert as he advanced, so that he would not suffer from the same
mistake which had ended Gordon--getting cut off from his base of

And in the thick of it was Haig--learning the actual trade of war in
these frequent brushes on the desert--riding hard by day, sleeping the
sleep of exhaustion at night.  On more than one occasion the Chief sent
him on a special quest with important messages, and always Haig got
through.  He seemed to bear a charmed life.  "Lucky Haig," the men
began to call him, and the title stuck.

Entering the desert as a Lieutenant, he was promoted to Captain, then
brevetted a Major.  He was mentioned in the despatches for bravery, and
won a medal from the Khedive.

All this was not done in a few short months.  The Egyptian campaign
stretched into years, and at times must have seemed fearfully
monotonous to these soldiers so far removed from home comforts.  Here
is the way one writer describes the Soudan:

"The scenery, it must be owned, was monotonous, and yet not without
haunting beauty.  Mile on mile, hour on hour, we glided through sheer
desert.  Yellow sand to right and left--now stretching away endlessly,
now a valley between small broken hills.  Sometimes the hills sloped
away from us, then they closed in again.  Now they were diaphanous blue
on the horizon, now soft purple as we ran under their flanks.  But
always they were steeped through and through with sun--hazy, immobile,

One of the culminating battles of the campaign was that of Atbara,
where the backbone of the dervish rebellion was broken.  It is
estimated that here 8,000 dervishes were killed, 2,000 wounded, and
2,000 made prisoners.  The battle began with a bombardment by the field
guns.  Then came the British cavalry at a gallop--the Camerons in
front, and columns of Warwicks, Seaforths, and Lincolns behind.
Bugles, bagpipes, and the instruments of the native regiments made
strange music as the army pressed forward intent on reaching the river

The native stockades were reinforced with thorn bushes, but these were
torn away by the men, with their bare hands, in their eagerness to
advance.  Haig's regiment was one of the first to penetrate, but once
past the stockade they encountered many of the defenders who put up a
fierce fight.  Several British officers lost their lives, and it was
due to Haig's agility and presence of mind that he was not at the least
severely wounded.  Two dervishes attacked him at once from opposite
sides.  One aimed a slashing blow at his head with a scimitar.  Haig
quickly ducked and the scimitar went crashing against the weapon of the
other dervish.  Haig's luck again!

Others were not so fortunate.  "Never mind me, lads, go on," said Major
Urquhart with his dying breath.  "Go on, my company, and give it to
them," gasped Captain Findlay as he fell.  At the head of the attacking
party strode Piper Stewart, playing "The March of the Cameron Men,"
until five bullets laid him low.  Truly the spirit of the fiery old
Covenanters was there!

The final battle of the Soudanese campaign, Khartoum, put the finishing
touches to the rebellion, and gave to Kitchener the title "K. of
K."--Kitchener of Khartoum.  This battle was noteworthy in employing
the cavalry in an open charge across the plains against the dervish
infantry.  It was just such a charge as a skilled horseman such as Haig
would keenly enjoy, despite the danger.  Winston Churchill, the British
Minister, thus describes it:

"The heads of the squadrons wheeled slowly to the left, and the
Lancers, breaking into a trot, began to cross the dervish front in
column of troops.  Thereupon and with one accord the blue-clad men
dropped on their knees, and there burst out a loud, crackling fire of
musketry.  It was hardly possible to miss such a target at such a
range.  Horses and men fell at once.  The only course was plain and
welcome to all.  The Colonel, nearer than his regiment, already saw
what lay behind the skirmishers.  He ordered 'Right wheel into line' to
be sounded.  The trumpet jerked out a shrill note, heard faintly above
the trampling of the horses and the noise of the rifles.  On the
instant the troops swung round and locked up into a long, galloping

"Two hundred and fifty yards away, the dark blue men were firing madly
in a thin film of light-blue smoke.  Their bullets struck the hard
gravel into the air, and the troopers, to shield their faces from the
stinging dust, bowed their helmets forward, like the Cuirassiers at
Waterloo.  The pace was fast and the distance short.  Yet before it was
half covered the whole aspect of the affair changed.  A deep crease in
the ground--a dry watercourse, a _khor_--appeared where all had seemed
smooth, level plain; and from it there sprang, with the suddenness of a
pantomime effect and a high-pitched yell, a dense white mass of men
nearly as long as our front and about twelve deep.  A score of horsemen
and a dozen bright flags rose as if by magic from the earth.  The
Lancers acknowledged the apparition only by an increase of pace."

In such a mêlée as then followed, that trooper was lucky indeed who
escaped without a scratch.

As a result of his bravery at Atbara and Khartoum, Haig's name was
mentioned in the official despatches.  He returned to England wearing
the Khedive's medal and the honorary title of Major.

It is probable, however, that little more would have been heard of him,
had not the South African War broken out, soon after.  It is the lot of
military men to vegetate in days of peace.  They live upon action.
Haig was no exception to this rule.  He welcomed new fields.  He went
to South Africa as aide and right-hand man to Sir John French--the
general whom he was to succeed in later years on the battlefields of

In this war, Haig is not credited with many personal exploits.  His was
essentially a thinking part.  Yet he served as chief of staff in a
series of minor but important operations about Colesburg, which
prepared the way for Roberts's advance.  As usual Haig pinned his faith
upon the cavalry.  All his life he had made a close study of this arm
of the service, and was of opinion that it was not utilized in modern
warfare nearly so much as it should be.  He was a warm admirer of the
American officer, J. E. B. Stuart, the Confederate General whose
dashing tactics turned the scale in so many encounters.

Now he tried the same strategy in the operations around Colesburg--and
paved the way for later victory.

Haig somewhat resembled another Southern leader, Stonewall Jackson, in
his piety.  It was not ostentatious, but simply part and parcel of the
man, due to his Presbyterian training.  Haig did not swear or gamble or
dance all night.  He was more apt to be found in his tent, when off
duty, either reading or writing.

They tell of him that, one day at the officers' mess, after a
particularly lively brush with the Boers, the quartermaster asked him
if he had lost anything.

"Yes," replied Haig solemnly, "my Bible!"

Not once did his countenance relax its gravity, as he met the grinning
faces across the table.

But despite their chaffing, there was not a man there who did not
respect the courage of his convictions, no less than the bravery of the
man himself.  Almost daily he risked his life in these cavalry
operations--until the "Haig luck" became a watchword.

The end of the South African War found Haig promoted to acting Adjutant
General of the Cavalry, and soon after his return home he was made
Lieutenant Colonel, in command of the Seventeenth Lancers.  This was in

About this time he paid a visit to Germany, then at peace and
professing a warm affection for England.  One result of this visit was
a letter which showed him possessed with wonderful powers of analysis
and foresight.  He practically predicted the war that was to come.  He
summed up his observations in a long letter to a friend which, in the
light of events of the War, is little short of uncanny.  It gave the
German plan with a mastery of detail, shrewd prophecy, and earnest
warning.  The future commander-in-chief of the British armies in France
was convinced of the certainty of the conflict and besought the
authorities to make better preparation--but his warnings fell upon deaf

It required thirteen years to demonstrate the truth of Haig's
predictions, and then the blow fell.  The Kaiser viewed his strong
hosts and boasted that he would soon wipe out England's "contemptible
little army."  He very nearly did so, and would certainly have
succeeded, had it not been for the fighting spirit of such men as Haig.

During the intervening years since the South African campaign he had
risen by fairly rapid stages to Inspector-General of the Cavalry in
India--a situation which he handled with great skill for three
years--then Major General, and Lieutenant General.

At the outbreak of the World War, he was hurriedly sent to France,
under the command of Sir John French, his old leader in Africa.  French
was generosity itself in his praise of Haig in these early days of

In the retreat from Mons it was "the skilful manner in which Sir
Douglas Haig extricated his corps from an exceptionally difficult
position in the darkness of the night," that won his laudation.  At the
Aisne, on September 14, 1914, "the action of the First Corps on this
day, under the direction and command of Sir Douglas Haig, was of so
skilful, bold, and decisive a character, that he gained positions which
alone have enabled me to maintain my position for more than three weeks
of very severe fighting on the north bank of the river."

In the first battle of Ypres, the chief honors of victory were again
awarded to him:

"Throughout this trying period, Sir Douglas Haig, aided by his
divisional commanders and his brigade commanders, held the line with
marvelous tenacity and undaunted courage."

Again and again, the generous French pays tribute to his friend, which
while deserved reflects no less honor upon the speaker.  He was big
enough to share honor.

It is not strange, therefore, when French was superseded, for strategic
reasons, that Haig should have been given the chief command.  The
appointment, however, left most of the world frankly amazed.  Haig had
come forward so quietly that few save those in official circles knew
anything about him.  It was nevertheless but a matter of weeks,
possibly days, before a quiet confidence born of the man himself was
manifest everywhere.

One war correspondent who visited headquarters in the midst of the
War's turmoil, thus describes his visit:

"The environment of the Commander-in-chief is strongly suggestive of
his conduct of the war.  Before war became a thing of precise science,
the headquarters of an army head seethed with all the picturesque
details so common to pictures of martial life.  Couriers mounted on
foam-flecked horses dashed to and fro.  The air was vibrant with
action; the fate of battle showed on the face of the humblest orderly.
But today 'G. H. Q.'--as headquarters are familiarly known--are totally
different.  Although army units have risen from thousands to millions
of men, and fields of operations stretch from sea to sea, and more
ammunition is expended in a single engagement than was employed in
entire wars of other days, absolute serenity prevails.  It is only when
your imagination conjures up the picture of flame and fury that lies
beyond the horizon line that you get a thrill.

"An occasional motorcar driven by a soldier-chauffeur chugs up the
gravel road to the chateau and from it emerge earnest-faced officers
whose visits are usually brief.  Neither time nor words are wasted when
myriad lives hang in the balance and an empire is at stake.  Inside and
out there is an atmosphere of quiet confidence, born of unobtrusive

The same writer on meeting Haig says: "I found myself in a presence
that, even without the slightest clue to its profession, would have
unconsciously impressed itself as military.  Dignity, distinction, and
a gracious reserve mingle in his bearing.  I have rarely seen a
masculine face so handsome and yet so strong.  His hair and mustache
are fair, and his clear, almost steely-blue eyes search you, but not
unkindly.  His chest is broad and deep, yet scarcely broad enough for
the rows of service and order ribbons that plant a mass of color
against the background of khaki. . . .

"Into every detail of daily life at General Headquarters the
Commander's character is impressed.  After lunch, for example, he
spends an hour alone, and in this period of meditation the whole
fateful panorama of the war passes before him.  When it is over the
wires splutter and the fierce life of the coming night--the Army does
not begin to fight until most people go to sleep--is ordained.

"This finished, the brief period of respite begins.  Rain or shine, his
favorite horse is brought up to the door, and he goes for a ride,
usually accompanied by one or two young staff-officers.  I have seen
Sir Douglas Haig galloping along those smooth French roads, head up,
eyes ahead--a memorable figure of grace and motion.  He rides like
those latter-day centaurs--the Australian ranger and the American
cowboy.  He seems part of his horse."

Such was the man who did his full share in turning the German tide.
Throughout the four long years of war, he faced the enemy with a calm
courage which if it ever wavered gave no outward sign.  And that is one
reason why the Little Contemptibles grew and grew until they became a
mighty barrier stretching across the pathway of the invader from sea to
sea, and saying with their Allies:

"You shall not pass!"


  1861.  June 19.  Douglas Haig born.
  1880.  Entered Brasenose College, Oxford.
  1885.  Joined 7th Hussars, British army.
  1898.  Served in Soudan, mentioned in despatches, and
         brevetted major.
  1899.  Served in South Africa.  D. A. A. G. for cavalry;
         then staff officer to General French.
  1901.  Lieutenant-colonel commanding 17th Lancers.
  1903.  Inspector-general, cavalry, India.
  1904.  Major-general.
  1910.  Lieutenant-general.
  1914.  General, commanding First Army in France.
  1915.  Commander-in-chief of British forces.
  1917.  Field marshal.
  1919.  Created an earl.
  1928.  January 30.  Died in England.



"Let's name him Joseph," said Gilles Joffre to his wife, as they viewed
their first child with much pride.

"That doesn't seem to be enough," responded Mme. Joffre.  So unusual a
baby deserved better treatment, she thought.

"Then how about Joseph Jacques?  That's a good, sensible sounding name."

"That sounds well," she admitted, "but still it lacks something.  I'll
tell you.  Let's call him Joseph Jacques Césaire."

"Sounds like a soldier," said the father.

"Well, who knows?  Perhaps he will be a general some day," Mme. Joffre

So the infant who lay quietly blinking on his natal day, January 12,
1852, was to be known as Joseph to his friends; but tucked away in his
name for future reference was Césaire--as the French folk pronounced the
name of the great Roman conqueror.

Truly there was nothing very auspicious in the start of Joseph Joffre.
His father was merely a cooper in a straggling hillside town of the
Pyrenees in Southern France, Rivesaltas--but he was a good cooper.  His
neighbors had a saying that is preserved to this day: "Barrels as good as
those made by old Gilles Joffre."

The town itself had some six thousand inhabitants, and was situated on
the River Agly, about nine miles from the city of Perpignan.  The Joffre
home was a very plain and humble dwelling set alongside of the cooper
shop, and neither better nor worse than its neighbors--but the well-to-do
workman of today would turn up his nose at it.  Nevertheless in this home
were born eleven children, the oldest of whom was the future Marshal of
France.  And the father continued to live there for thirty years or more.

It is related of him that even as a baby Joseph never cried, but endured
his various troubles with silent stoicism.  As he grew older, this trait
of silence became ingrown; it was alluded to as "Joffre's taciturnity."
But as a matter of fact the gift of silence in him as both boy and man
did not indicate a sullen or unfriendly disposition.  It was merely that
he had his head in the clouds.  He made a life job of _thinking_--like
the seated statue by Rodin.

As one result of this trait, little is reported concerning his childhood.
No anecdotes are related of him at all, except one doubtful story about a
fight which he had with a schoolmate.  The latter wanted him to stop and
take part in some game.  Joffre replied that he didn't have time.  The
other fellow came back with a taunt--and then Joseph "waded in."

He did not have any chums for the same reason, lack of time, and
doubtless he missed a great deal out of boyhood from this fact.  It is
said that in the study hall he would erect a great pile of books between
himself and the next boy, so as not to be disturbed.  Yet he didn't shine
particularly as a student.  He was simply busy--thinking.

It was not until he was sent to college at Perpignan, that he really
began to take an interest in books, and his favorites were the more solid
studies--algebra, descriptive geometry, surveying, and draftsmanship.
His bent even at this early day seemed to be civil engineering.

The ambition of every middle-class French home, in those days, was to
send a son to the army--have him study to become an officer.  Mamma
Joffre had not forgotten the Caesar in her oldest son's name; and in a
family conclave it was decided that he should be sent to Paris, to try
for the entrance examinations in the École Polytechnique.

Gilles Joffre accompanied his son to the capital, and left him in a
private school.  Like his son, the cooper was a man of few words; but
what he must have done at parting was to clap the boy on the shoulder,
and say: "Now, go to it!"

Joseph Joffre did.  When he returned to his boyhood's home, only four
years later, he was wearing the shoulder straps of a lieutenant, and had
seen active service.  But this is getting ahead of our story.

There was really nothing else for him to do but to "go to it" here in
Paris.  He was a big, hulking lad of fifteen, with a bullet head set upon
a thick neck and broad shoulders--an awkward figure dressed in
ill-fitting clothes.  All his life Joffre paid little attention to dress.
Here at the awkward age he looked out of place with the well-dressed city
boys.  They tried to have fun at his expense, but he withdrew into his
shell more than ever, and they soon learned to let him alone.

It must have been a lonely life that young Joffre led--but we have no
direct evidence that he ever felt lonely.  His books and his day dreams
seem always to have made up for a lack of human companionship.  The other
fellows contented themselves with saying of him: "He is too slow, and
methodical to amount to much."

He did not, indeed, make a specially brilliant record in his entrance
examinations to the Polytechnique; but his stumbling block was not
mathematics or science, it was--German!  He never could abide the

Joseph Joffre entered this famous military training school in 1869, at
the age of seventeen.  Within a few months the school course was broken
up by the German invasion, and Joffre with other cadets promptly
volunteered for service.  Much to the delight of his family, he was made
a second lieutenant, attached to the Engineering Corps.  His first
practical field work was in throwing up fortifications in defence of
Paris.  But the Germans were not to be stopped by Joffre in their march
on the French capital at this time.  That was reserved for a later day
and another war.

The short but terrible conflict of 1870 over, Joffre returned to college,
and graduated therefrom in 1872, with the rank of full lieutenant.  One
of his classmates of this time was Ferdinand Foch, but if the two future
Marshals there became acquainted no story of their meeting has come down
to us.

Joffre's first work at fort building had been so well done that
immediately upon graduation the government set him to work.  The memory
of the stinging German defeat was with them stirring them to action.
They wanted defenses everywhere.  Joffre was employed upon them at Paris,
Versailles, Montpellier, and even in faraway Brittany--until he was
disposed to grumble at his fate.

"This is all very fine," he said; "but I don't want to spend the rest of
my days building forts.  I want to command troops and see some real

It was the Caesar cropping up in him again.

Without question he was a born builder of fortifications.  One day the
great Marshal MacMahon came by on a tour of inspection, and was much
delighted with a series of defenses he had built near Paris.

"I congratulate you, Monsieur le Capitaine!" he said.

By one sentence he had promoted the young lieutenant to a captaincy.

It was about this time that a fall from his horse very nearly cut short
his military career.  He was so severely injured that the doctors feared
that his mind was affected, and he was sent home for a complete rest.

At home he did not complain--that was not his nature--but he spent
several days pacing back and forth in his little upper room.  Then came a
day when he burst in to the downstairs room where sat his parents, his
face beaming--showing the strain which he had overcome.

"It's all right, mon père!" he cried joyfully.  "I have solved it.  I
will get well!"

What he had been doing was to set himself an abstruse and difficult
problem in mathematics, in order to see if his brain would respond.  It
did so, he solved it and thus had no more fears as to his own ultimate

Another story told by his sister, of these early army days, shows further
his power of mental abstraction.

"My brother was always lost in thought," says Mme. Artus.  "No matter
what he did, his thoughts never left him.  Once they caused his arrest as
a spy."

It seems that at Vauban, not far away from his home town of Rivesaltas,
they were constructing a fort.  Joffre sauntered over to inspect it.  He
was clad in civilian dress and he evinced so much interest in what was
going on that the commanding officer promptly seized him for a suspicious

"Did my brother protest?  Not he.  But when they brought him before the
military court, his Catalonian brogue was enough to convince anybody as
to where he was born.

"'Why didn't you tell them who you were?' I asked him.

"'Too busy thinking about the fort,' was his reply."

One other anecdote of this time has come down to us and is worth
repeating.  His father had bought a piece of farm land that was badly in
need of ditching, in order to drain it properly during the wet season,
and irrigate it during the dry.  The son sketched out a scheme of cross
trenches, but his father demurred--then Joseph exploded:

"Trenches!  What the devil!  I know all about trenches; trenches are my

The Great War of later years was to show whether or not this confidence
in his own abilities was misplaced.

By the year 1884, his reputation as a builder of trenches and forts was
firmly established, although official promotion had come slowly.  When
Admiral Courbet telegraphed to the Home Office from the Isle of Formosa
for a reliable officer to place in charge of this work, Joffre was sent.
He spent nearly a year there and it was a year of the hardest kind of
work.  He could get only indifferent help, so he worked early and late to
make up the deficit.

From there he was sent on similar work to the province of Tonkin,
Indo-China.  Here he practically rebuilt the town of Hanoi, clearing and
guttering the streets, draining the neighboring marshes which had made
the settlement a pest-hole, and building permanent roads.  The town of
Vietri was similarly cleaned up.

For these important labors he received the first recognition in nearly
ten years.  He was given official thanks, and decorated with the cross of
the Legion of Honor.

A fellow officer who knew him at this time says: "Captain Joffre was a
solidly-built Pyrenean, calm and clear-headed, with a firm walk and a
hard blue eye.  He seldom smiled and he spoke still more rarely.  He
never punished except in extreme cases, and then hard.  Natives feared
him for his silence, but loved him for his justice."

This portrait of him about a quarter of a century before the Great War is
easily recognizable in the commander of the later day.

In 1891 he paralleled the career of General Foch somewhat by taking a
professor's chair.  He was appointed instructor in fortifications at the
Military School at Fontainebleau, where he remained for two years.  The
work did not appeal to him particularly and he is spoken of there as a
thorough teacher, but not popular.  He had not mingled enough with others
to get their point of view.

A welcome change from this was a summons from headquarters to go to
Timbuctoo, and help suppress a native rebellion.  It was all the more
welcome as here, for the first time, he was promised a chance to do some
real fighting.

Timbuctoo was then being overrun by the Tuaregs, a tribe of terrible
brigands called "the veiled men" of Western Soudan.  They had massacred
the European settlers, and ended by killing two French officers, Colonel
Bonnier and Lieutenant Boiteux, who had recently headed expeditions
against them.  It was a wild and treacherous land, and the relief
expedition would scarcely have child's play of it.

Joffre went at it without the slightest misgiving.  Like many another
soldier he was a firm believer in "Luck," and here certainly the fates
were propitious.  He set forth on his journey from Segou, on Christmas
Day, 1893, commanding a force of thirty French and three hundred natives.
They crossed deadly swamps and dry, trackless deserts.  There were some
deaths by the wayside, but Joffre pushed on.  His progress was slow, as
he stopped to make friends with native chiefs, and enlist their aid where

At last they reached Timbuctoo, only to find orders awaiting them to
"prepare for evacuation," in the face of a threatening Tuareg army.
Joffre for once disobeyed orders, and decided, instead, to attack.  He
did so, and administered a crushing defeat to the brigands.  He followed
this up so thoroughly, that the whole district was restored to peace.

Then the soldier gave place to the engineer.  He cleaned up the town (in
another sense) and returned home.

"Luck was on my side," he said briefly after receiving official
congratulations, and the rank of lieutenant colonel.  "I might have met
the fate of Bonnier and Boiteux, had the Goddess of Good Fortune not
attended me."

But those who knew him believed that it was something more than luck.

That Joffre was a fatalist is evinced by another incident of this march
in Soudan.  An insect's sting had poisoned his left eye so severely that
the sight was threatened.  The doctor of the force advised him to wear a
bandage.  Joffre would not agree.

"I could not command my troops if I were blindfolded," he said.

"Then it must be blue glasses," said the doctor.

But eyeglass shops are not found in the desert, and Joffre went on
without protection.  A few days later a soldier received a packet from
home and brought it to him.  It was a pair of blue glasses!

"I told you that I was in luck," said Joffre.

However, he narrowly escaped blindness, and ever afterward a thin
veil-like film covered the injured eye.

One result of the Timbuctoo campaign was an official report written by
Joffre, and afterwards published in book form under the title
(translated) "Operations of the Joffre Column before and after the
Capture of Timbuctoo."  The story is a straightforward soldierly
narrative.  One French critic recently said of it, apropos of Joffre's
election to the French Academy, a rather unique honor: "I defy anybody
who knows the pleasure which words can give us in evoking things, to deny
that this report is a piece of most effective writing. . . .  With Joffre
who has no idea or desire to give us 'fine writing,' the effect produced
is that of reality itself.  The names of the tribes he meets or describes
take on a strange virtue, as if we heard them on the spot.  Even the
French officers' names scattered over a narrative from which all attempt
at picturesqueness is banished, produce picturesqueness. . . .  On the
whole he is a primitive, and with all the primitive's simple charm and

After the Soudanese adventure, came a trip to Madagascar--this time, more
fort constructing, from which it seemed that he could never escape.  The
problem down there was a vexatious one, due to a do-nothing policy of a
predecessor.  Things were in bad shape.  Joffre arrived, after a long sea
voyage, gave one look around, and then things began to happen.

"If men are responsible for this disorder," he said sententiously, "it is
easy to suppose that men can restore the needed order."

And the forts and barracks went up in record time.

"We never expected to see that job done," reports one soldier.  "The
thing was so old that it had cobwebs over it.  When Joffre took hold it
went up by magic."

They concocted another saying about him, down in that distant island,
which was:

"There goes old man System!"

At another time an officer remarked: "Joffre wants what he wants when he
wants it--and furthermore he knows why he wants it!"

In 1901, at the century's turn, and when he was rounding out his half
century, his long-delayed promotions began to arrive.  He was made
Brigadier General, and thenceforth began to forge rapidly to the front.
One reason for his slow advancement was that he was no politician or
time-server.  He never pushed himself forward.  And so much of his work
was done in remote provinces that the General Staff hardly knew him at
all.  We remember, too, that he had made no friends at school, who would
follow his career, or speak a good word for him in official ears.

When he did at last receive recognition it was upon absolute merit.  But
when he reached the General Staff, the remark was frequently heard: "Who
is this Joffre?  We never heard of him."

It was not long, however, before he made his presence felt in Paris
official circles.  They came to depend more and more upon this stocky,
hard-headed Gascon and his opinions.  He never minced words and he went
to the root of the matter.

In 1911, when the need was universally felt, of a thorough reorganization
of the French army--a much-needed house-cleaning--they cast about for
some man big enough for the job.  In a conference General Pau, a warm
adherent of Joffre, shook his single good fist in the faces of the Staff
officers, and exclaimed: "There is only one man who can do the job!"

So they sent for Joffre and made him chief of the General Staff, with
full power to reorganize.  It was well for France that they did so, and
fortunate that he had three full years to work before the blow fell, and
the invaders were again at their gates.

"No German could be more thorough than Joffre," said one officer.  "For
him no lasting results can be obtained without the utmost care.  He has
limitless patience, joined with a wonderful breadth of view.  His methods
resemble the head of a great business."

In his intricate work of reconstructing the army, he revealed another,
and surprising side to his nature.  From being cold and aloof, he showed
a human sympathy for his men, down to the last private.  It was as though
the man who had held himself aloof from intimates wanted to take the
whole French army into his heart.  And the men responded with an
affection and a confidence which were later to produce the fine results
of leadership in the War.  He was no longer "Joffre the Silent," but
"Papa Joffre."

Says one writer: "Joffre is the soldier of democracy.  That is why he
sets America aflame with enthusiasm, as he did France.  His thickset
frame, firmly knit and vigorous, his clear eyes, which observe you from
beneath bushy eyebrows, his firm and kindly mouth, his bristling
mustache, the simplicity of his manners, his clean-cut, reserved
language,--all that goes to show that there is nothing in him of bluster
and affectation.  He is truly 'Papa Joffre,' the father and even the
grandfather of the _poilus_.  It is the _poilu_ himself beneath the white
_panache_ of this unique Marshal of France."

When in 1914 the Germans struck, they anticipated an easy march upon
Paris--such as that of forty odd years before.  But this time a different
Joffre stood in their path.  In place of the young lieutenant not yet out
of his 'teens, they found a grizzled veteran who matched them with
methods as thorough-going as their own, but who preferred to control his
men by love rather than fear.

"Your French soldiers are brave," said one German officer contemptuously,
"but as for discipline--bah!  Our legions will brush you aside."

"Our men may not have the machine-like discipline that you affect," was
the French officer's reply.  "But we replace it with something far
better--a love of country that will cause us to sacrifice the last drop
of blood."

"But your great Generals--where are they?" asked the other.

"They will make themselves felt in due time.  At their head stands one
who is yet to fight his first great battle--yet I advise you not to
arouse him!"

The world knows the rest of the story of that mighty invasion--how the
black, invading line curved onward and inward until it threw its shadow
upon Paris.  Then when the final blow was about to be struck--the
coup-de-grace as the Germans firmly believed--up from the South came the
army of Joffre.  It had retreated and retreated, until the moment for its

Now with the precision of a sledge-hammer it struck, and struck
again--until the surprised enemy turned and fell back.  Paris was saved.

In the gallery of the world's great soldiers, the homely, kindly figure
of Joffre may well find place.  He seems to occupy a niche quite by
himself.  He is not spectacular, nor a "hero," but a simple man among
men, whose results are built upon a lifetime of patient endeavor.

He is Rodin's statue of "The Thinker" come to life.


  1852.  January 12.  Joseph Jacques Césaire Joffre born.
  1867.  Entered preparatory military school, Paris.
  1869.  Entered Polytechnic Academy.
  1870.  Volunteered in army to defend Paris against Prussians.
  1870.  Commissioned second-lieutenant.
  1876.  Commissioned captain for work on fortifications.
  1884.  Sent to Formosa to construct barracks and trenches.
  1885.  Decorated, Legion of Honor, Tonkin.
  1891.  Professor in military school, Fontainebleau.
  1893.  Sent to Madagascar on construction work.
  1894.  Headed expedition to Timbuctoo.
  1901.  Brigadier-general.
  1911.  Chief of general staff.
  1914.  Commander-in-chief, French army.
  1916.  Marshal of France.



To wait until one is sixty-three years old before even smelling
powder--and then to find oneself in command of the greatest allied army
that the world has ever seen--such is the remarkable story of the
French General, Ferdinand Foch.  His life, like that of more than one
famous soldier is a bundle of paradoxes, or contradictions, but prove
once again that "truth is stranger than fiction."

Those of us who know and love Dumas's swashbuckling hero, D'Artagnan,
will remember that he was a Gascon and always spoiling for a fight.
Foch was another Gascon who passed threescore years of his life
peacefully enough--but when he did get into the fight at last, it was a

The Gascony of France and Spain--for it is in the Pyrenees separating
the two countries--has produced some famous men, other than Foch--and
D'Artagnan.  In the fighting days of the Republic and the First Empire,
it gave to France Murat, Marbot, and Bessières.  From Gascony at a
later day came "Papa" Joffre to do his sturdy bit in saving France.

The ancestral home of the Foch family is on the Garonne River, among
the foothills of the Pyrenees.  Here the river is hardly more than a
trout stream threading its way down the wooded slopes or murmuring
through the valleys.  It is just such a spot as any boy would like to
call "home."

The father of Ferdinand Foch had been born here during the days of the
First Empire, when the fame of the Corsican was ringing around the
world--and had consequently been christened Napoleon.  He married the
daughter of one of Bonaparte's officers, Colonel Dupré, and the family
were naturally ardent loyalists.  To Napoleon Foch and Sophie Dupré
were born four children, a daughter and three sons, and the second son
was christened Ferdinand.  The father at this time had entered the
French civil service, and in 1851, when Ferdinand was born, was at
Tarbes in the Upper Pyrenees, as secretary of the prefecture.

The family name of Foch does not sound French, and as pronounced in
Gascony with a hard guttural sound it is more like German.  It would
seem to indicate that in an earlier day the ancestors had lived on the
Rhine.  Up in northern France they have softened the name to sound like
"Fush."  The meaning of the name is said to be "Fire"--and certainly
the Germans kindled a greater fire than they could quench, when their
invasion produced the quiet leader with this flaming name.

Napoleon Foch did not rise very high in his official positions.  His
work was chiefly clerical and caused him to remove from one town to
another.  He did not want to lose sight of his boys, by placing them in
an academy, but kept them with him, placing them in first one public
school and then another, as he was compelled to move.  The first school
that Ferdinand attended was the old college at Tarbes, where he
remained until ten or eleven years old.  The family home at Valentine,
in the country, was always visited in the summer and other holiday
seasons, and here the youngsters had many a romp.  Their father on his
infrequent visits home would enter into the sport like one of them.

A favorite excursion was up one of the neighboring hills to a cliff
known as the Bout du Puig, which commanded a wonderful view up and down
the valley.  Here they would take their lunch and feel like true

From Tarbes, the family moved to Polignac, where Napoleon Foch was
Public Treasurer.  After Ferdinand and his brothers had attended the
school at this place for a time, they removed to the town of Rodez--and
another school.

In these early days Foch was on a par with the average schoolboy,
neither better nor worse, if local records are to be believed.  He did,
however, win an honorable mention at Tarbes for good work in the
general course, consisting of geography, history, Latin, and theology.

At twelve he began to show a decided bent for mathematics, that _sine
qua non_ of the successful soldier.  He had also developed into a great
reader, but preferred history to works of fiction.  One of his chief
military heroes was, quite naturally, Napoleon, and he must have taken
part in imagination with the charge of the Old Guard at Waterloo, or
thrilled at the tale of Austerlitz.  But never in the wildest flights
of his imagination could he have dreamed of commanding a far greater
army than was ever assembled under the eagles of Napoleon.

In 1867, at the age of sixteen, another change came in his schooling.
His father was stationed at St. Étienne near Lyons, and Ferdinand was
entered at St. Michel, a Jesuit college near by.  Here he studied for
his university examinations, and made his choice of a life
profession--and it is not strange to note that he decided to be a
soldier.  The choice made, his future studies, as is the way in French
colleges, were planned to follow specialized lines.  It was not alone
necessary to choose the army, for example,--one must select a certain
branch of the army.  Foch's aptitude at mathematics led him to take up
the artillery.

The principal school of this branch of the service was the École
Polytechnique, at Paris, but a stiff entrance examination was required
here.  So Foch decided to do preliminary work at St. Clement's College,
Metz, a training school with a high reputation.

In those days the city and fortress of Metz were on French soil.  This
was just before the short but memorable Franco-Prussian War, but
already the air was rife with rumors of an impending conflict.  The
French, however, were undisturbed.  They thought, and expressed the
open opinion that it would be fought out on the other side of the
Rhine, and that the peace terms would be dictated in Berlin.

Metz!  How much history does the name suggest in the light of the Great
War!  If the young artillery student could have foreseen the backward
and forward swing of the pendulum, as exemplified in that ancient city,
how his blood would have quickened!

The summer of 1870 arrived.  Ferdinand Foch, a well-grown lad of
nineteen, went home to St. Étienne on his first vacation.  It had been
his first year away from home, and there must have been a joyful
reunion.  But over the vacation season hung a war cloud.  In the middle
of July, France was persuaded to declare war.  Her first great clash
with Germany was on.

The news, however, was not displeasing to Ferdinand.  He had supreme
confidence in the ability of the trained French army to subdue the
"Prussian militia."  All France had been soundly fooled as to the
extent of the German preparedness.  Foch thought of Metz as the
starting point of the war which was to wage its victorious course
eastward.  But the reverse soon proved to be the case.  From Metz the
Germans drove westward into France.  The school at St. Clement was
transformed into a military hospital.  Ferdinand remained at home
watching the turn of events with surprised eyes.  When the defeat at
Sedan came, in September, it seemed to him like the end of the world.

Then came the frantic call from Paris for new troops.  Young Foch was
one of the first to respond to this appeal.  He could do his bit, at
any rate, and once the Second Army was assembled, the invader would
see!  But alas! he was destined to do no fighting.  For four months he
remained with his regiment, a high private in the rear ranks, doing
drill and garrison duty until peace was declared.

The war was over.  France had concluded a shameful peace but one that
was forced upon her.  This sort of war had brought bitter
disillusionment to a host of French boys, and they always thought in
their hearts of the day of reckoning which must come later on--and
hoped that they would be alive to see it.  Such must have been the
dream of Foch, the "sleeping firebrand."

For the present, there was nothing for it, but to doff his uniform and
take up his studies again.  The college of St. Clement had ceased to be
a hospital and was again full of classrooms.  But over the old fort
floated a strange flag--the black, white and red emblem of Germany, and
German officers strutted everywhere on the streets.  The French signs
over the shops and on the street corners were rapidly disappearing.
Soon came an official order from Berlin forbidding the teaching of
French in the schools of Alsace and Lorraine.  The work of benevolent
assimilation was begun.

Foch privately shook his fist at the broad backs of the swaggering
conquerors, and set to work at his studies with renewed vim.  French or
German, the old Jesuit college was going to aid him in his task of
becoming a soldier--and then his country would have one more recruit at
any rate!

We are not surprised to find, therefore, that he passed his entrance
examinations with flying colors, and in November, 1871, donned his
uniform as a cadet in the École Polytechnique.  This building, like the
one at Metz, still bore evidences of the recent war.  During the siege
of Paris it had been used as a hospital; and in the civil war which
followed the peace, when the Empire was overthrown, it had been through
severe fighting.  Shell holes were still to be seen in its roofs and
walls.  But such scars seemed to make it still more what it was in
name, a military school.  Foch already felt like a soldier.

Among Foch's fellow students were two others who were destined to play
a part in the World War.  One was a cadet named Ruffey, who was
destined to become a General, in command of the Third Army of France,
during 1914.  The other was a short, stocky fellow, who came from the
Gascon country near Foch's home, and who had been more fortunate than
he in seeing some actual fighting during the recent war.  He had been
in command of a battery of guns during the siege of Paris, and had also
taken a physical part in the fighting.  Foch looked at this strapping
cadet, and then at his own much slighter frame, and a feeling akin to
envy came over him, as he may have said to himself:

"If only I could have got into it like that fellow Joffre!"

During the second year of his work here, in 1873, it was announced
that, as the army was short of officers, the course would be shortened
for the more advanced students, so that they could receive their
commissions as soon as possible.  Among the students who were granted
this honor were Joffre and Foch--the former choosing the engineers, and
the latter the artillery.  As a special aid in completing his course,
Foch secured a transfer to the Artillery School at Fontainebleau.

Here he felt more at home and in more congenial surroundings.  He was
out of the city with its clamor and clang.  Always a country boy at
heart, he recalled his beloved St. Étienne in these parks and hills.
He had always been fond of horseback riding, and now he had full
opportunity of perfecting himself in this art.  The daily canters kept
his body sound, his brain clear.  He came out third in his classes, a
highly creditable mark, and received his commission as a
sub-lieutenant.  He was a soldier at last.

As a reward for his scholarship he was informed that he might choose
any post where he would prefer to be stationed.  He selected Tarbes,
his birthplace, and the town nearest his home.  Truly, the fates were

Two years were spent with the garrison at Tarbes, in a round of
regimental duties.  Then the routine began to pall upon him.  He wanted
something approaching active service.  He had perfected himself in
artillery maneuvers; and during his four months as a volunteer in the
War, he had drilled in the infantry.  So he now applied for transfer to
the third branch, the cavalry.  His love of horses may also have
influenced this desire.

He received the transfer and spent a year in the Cavalry School at
Saumur.  On completing this course he was given a commission as
Captain, and placed in command of a field battery, in Brittany.  This
transfer marked the beginning of a new era in his life.  From being a
Gascon, he was now about to become a Breton.  He spent so many years of
his life in Brittany, that in later years he called his soldiers "my
brother Bretons."

Another reason for his change of sentiment was his fortunate marriage
to a lady whom he met at Rennes, where his regiment was
stationed--Mademoiselle Julie Bienvenue.  Her name means "Welcome," and
to the lonely and possibly homesick soldier, her advent must have been
welcome indeed.

He bought a home in Finisterre, that wild, rocky, well-wooded cape
which juts out into the Atlantic.  It was an old manor house set in the
midst of an estate which from the outset spelled the word "home" for
him.  There were long sloping meadow lands flanked by stately trees and
hills beyond.  The old house itself with its somber gray walls and
quaint dormer windows seemed always to have nestled here.

Such an idyllic setting, away out on the most sheltered spot of
France--far removed from the tramp of an invader, or the other changes
which came to the central provinces of France--while pleasant in the
extreme was hardly the fitting environment to produce a soldier, a real
fighting man.  It might produce a fine preacher, or artist, or poet, or
farmer--but not likely a famous general.

But Foch did not yield to the blandishments of his new home to the
extent of vegetating here.  His active mind was looking continually
forward.  He could not rest content with mediocrity, or a merely
comfortable living.  "Do what you ought, come what may" was his guiding
motto.  He applied for admission to the École de Guerre, a higher
school recently established for staff officers, but admission to its
walls came by favoritism or political pull, and it was many months
(1885) before he gained admission.

The course which he took required two years to complete--years which
kept him away from home, but were worth while.  He graduated as fourth
in a large class, and better still had made some valuable acquaintances
here.  His professors and classmates soon recognized in this quiet,
studious Artillery Captain a man worth watching--one who would do in an

The next eight or ten years were filled with the usual routine of an
army officer in peace times.  He was transferred from one post to
another for periods of two or three years, but always it was active
field service which he liked, rather than the routine of office duty.
He established a brilliant reputation for horsemanship and cavalry
tactics which later were to be of advantage.

But still he had never seen actual warfare, nor heard the bullets whizz
about his head.  He was an academic soldier, and seemed destined to
remain one for the rest of his natural life when, in 1895, he was
appointed Assistant Professor of Military History and Strategy, in the
École de Guerre, the college from which he had last graduated, a few
years before.  The faculty had not forgotten him.  It was an honor in a
way, but Foch doubtless debated long before he accepted it.  It meant
the giving up of the freedom of his broad outdoors.

He was a major by this time; and after a few years of lecturing, he was
made full professor, with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.  The work in
his classes was highly important.  This being a post-graduate school,
the men to whom he lectured were not cadets but trained soldiers, many
of them seasoned veterans.  They would have instantly detected any flaw
in his teaching.  The impress which this college professor then made
upon the future heads of the French army was destined to have a
profound and far-reaching effect.  In the years to come, when France
and the civilized world was in search of a leader big enough to measure
up to the crisis--they turned to this quiet college professor!

Foch won his position as "the most gifted and original of the
professors in the École de Guerre" by no trick or sensational methods.
He spoke in an even, almost monotonous voice, using few gestures.  But
his speech was clear-cut and precise.  He reminded his hearers of a
scientist dissecting a foreign body, as he expounded the clash of
armies or the turning points of battle.  He had, in fact, precise
knowledge of an event in which he had never actually participated.  He
had analyzed war and resolved it into its component parts, as though it
were heated in a test-tube.  And how exact were his theories, later
events were to show.

In 1901, Foch returned for a time to active service, being given
command of the 29th Regiment at Laon.  After the classroom routine, the
change was indeed welcome.  A few months later we find him stationed
again in his beloved Brittany, with the rank of Colonel.  But promotion
had come slowly.  During these years he prepared his class lectures for
book publication, forming two volumes, the first being his
since-celebrated "Principles of War," and the second "The Conduct of
War."  In these books he proved himself a master of terse, epigrammatic
statement.  There did not seem to be a superfluous word in them.  They
were favorably received by military critics everywhere, and still
further established his reputation.

But it was not until 1907, when Foch was fifty-six, that he at last
received the rank of Brigadier General, with an assignment to the
General Staff at Paris.  With this belated appointment it seemed that
the tale of his military career was told.  Fate had more than one
surprise in store, even then, however.

The position as head or Director General of the École de Guerre was
vacant.  A keen rivalry arose among several Generals for the
appointment, but Foch did not present his name.  He belonged to the
wrong party, the Clerical, or Church Party, and the Anti-Clericals were
then in power.  Clemenceau was Premier, this being his first term.

One day Foch was surprised by being invited to dine with the Premier.
When he arrived he was still further surprised to note that he was the
only guest.  The "Tiger" did not broach the subject of the invitation
until the coffee cups were cleared away.  Then he said abruptly, and
apropos of nothing that had gone before:

"I have some news for you, General.  You are appointed Director of the
École de Guerre."

"But I am not a candidate, sir," replied Foch, taken completely by

"Possibly not," replied the Premier drily, "but you are appointed
nevertheless, and I am sure you will do good work there."

"I thank you for the honor," said Foch with some embarrassment, "but
aren't there--difficulties?  I am a Churchman, you know."

Clemenceau laughed.

"Probably you are not aware," continued Foch, finding it difficult to
proceed, "that one of my brothers is a Jesuit."

Clemenceau laughed again.

"I know all about it, and I don't care a rap," he answered.  "Mon
Général, or rather, Monsieur le Directeur, you may consider yourself
appointed, Jesuit or no Jesuit.  We need men of your stamp to train up
officers in our army."

Foch held this responsible position for several years just preceding
the Great War.  Whether he saw it or not, lowering upon the horizon, he
bent every effort to making the command of the French army fit, ready
for any emergency.  He had never forgotten the dreadful invasion of his
boyhood days.  With him the teaching of preparedness was almost as
sacred as religion.

And when the Great War at last descended, Foch was like a shining sword
in its path, one that had never been allowed to rust in its scabbard.
The story of his dogged perseverance and his brilliant strategy has
been fully told in the annals of war.  Two or three strongly
characteristic points yet demand mention.  He was a firm believer in
the element of surprise; he outguessed the enemy.  And he never knew
when he was beaten.

"The weaker we are, the more important it is for us to attack," is one
of his famous sayings.

At the Battle of the Marne, when his corps was hard pressed at a
critical salient, he telegraphed Joffre:

"My left flank has been driven in.  My right flank has been driven in.
Consequently nothing remains but for me to attack with my center."

And attack he did, hurling back the surprised Teutons and aiding Joffre
to turn the invader, and save Paris.

Foch, in brief, is a soldier of the intellectual type.  His
headquarters when at last he was made Marshal of France and
Generalissimo of the Allied forces, resembled a classroom more nearly
than the center of a vast and far-reaching activity.  There was no
bustle, no confusion.  Orderlies pored over papers and presented
reports quietly.  The commander looked them over with keen appraising
glance, then issued orders without raising his voice.  But that very
quietness and precision pronounced the doom of Germany.  It was a
triumph of science over brute force.

If in America we have had a "schoolmaster in politics," the French have
had a "schoolmaster in war"--one who taught the Hun a lesson!


  1851.  October 2.  Ferdinand Foch born.
  1862.  Entered school, Tarbes, France.
  1867.  Entered Jesuit College of St. Michel.
  1870.  Volunteered in the Franco-Prussian War, but saw no service.
  1871.  Entered the Polytechnic Academy.
  1873.  Second-lieutenant in artillery.
  1878.  Captain.  Married Julie Bienvenue.
  1885.  Entered École de Guerre, a college for staff officers.
  1891.  Major in artillery.
  1900.  Lieutenant-colonel.  Professor in École de Guerre.
  1905.  Director of École de Guerre.
  1914.  General, in command 20th corps.
  1917.  Chief of general staff.
  1918.  Commander-in-chief of Allied forces.
  1918.  Marshal of France.



It was a historic moment, on that June day, in the third year of the
World War.  On the landing stage at the French harbor of Boulogne was
drawn up a company of French soldiers, who looked eagerly at the
approaching steamer.  They were not dress parade soldiers nor smart
cadets--only battle-scarred veterans home from the trenches, with the
tired look of war in their eyes.  For three years they had been hoping
and praying that the Americans would come--and here they were at last!

As the steamer slowly approached the dock, a small group of officers
might be discerned, looking as eagerly landward as the men on shore had
sought them out.  In the center of this group stood a man in the
uniform of a General in the United States Army.  There was, however,
little to distinguish his dress from that of his staff, except the
marks of rank on his collar, and the service ribbons across his breast.
To those who could read the insignia, they spelled many days of arduous
duty in places far removed.  America was sending a seasoned soldier,
one tried out as by fire.

The man's face was seamed from exposure to the suns of the tropics and
the sands of the desert.  But his dark eyes glowed with the untamable
fire of youth.  He was full six feet in height, straight,
broad-shouldered, and muscular.  The well-formed legs betrayed the
old-time calvalryman.  The alert poise of the man showed a nature
constantly on guard against surprise--the typical soldier in action.

Such was General Pershing when he set foot on foreign shore at the head
of an American army--the first time in history that our soldiers had
ever served on European soil.  America was at last repaying to France
her debt of gratitude, for aid received nearly a century and a half
earlier.  And it was an Alsatian by descent who could now say:

"Lafayette, we come!"

Who was this man who had been selected for so important a task?  The
eyes of the whole world were upon him, when he reached France.  His was
a task of tremendous difficulties, and a single slip on his part would
have brought shame upon his country, no less than upon himself.  That
he was to succeed, and to win the official thanks of Congress are now
matters of history.  The story of his wonderful campaign against the
best that Germany could send against him is also an oft-told story.
But the rise of the man himself to such commanding position is a tale
not so familiar, yet none the less interesting.

The great-grandfather of General Pershing was an emigrant from
Alsace--fleeing as a boy from the military service of the Teutons.  He
worked his way across to Baltimore, and not long thereafter volunteered
to fight in the American Revolution.  His was the spirit of freedom.
He fled to escape a service that was hateful, because it represented
tyranny; but was glad to serve in the cause of liberty.

The original family name was Pfirsching, but was soon shortened to its
present form.  The Pershings got land grants in Pennsylvania, and began
to prosper.  As the clan multiplied the sons and grandsons began to
scatter.  They had the pioneer spirit of their ancestors.

At length, John F. Pershing, a grandson of Daniel, the first immigrant,
went to the Middle West, to work on building railroads.  These were the
days, just before the Civil War, when railroads were being thrown
forward everywhere.  Young Pershing had early caught the fever, and had
worked with construction gangs in Kentucky and Tennessee.  Now as the
railroads pushed still further West, he went with them as section
foreman--after first persuading an attractive Nashville girl, Ann
Thompson, to go with him as his wife.

Their honeymoon was spent among the hardships of a construction camp in
Missouri; and here at Laclede, in a very primitive house, John Joseph
Pershing was born, September 13, 1860.

The boy inherited a sturdy frame and a love of freedom from both sides
of the family.  His mother had come of a race quite as good as that of
his father.  They were honest, law-abiding, God-fearing people, who saw
to it that John and the other eight children who followed were reared
soberly and strictly.  The Bible lay on the center table and the willow
switch hung conveniently behind the door.

After the line of railroad was completed upon which the father had
worked, he came to Laclede and invested his savings in a small general
store.  It proved a profitable venture.  It was the only one in town,
and Pershing's reputation for square-dealing brought him many
customers.  A neighbor pays him this tribute:

"John F. Pershing was a man of commanding presence.  He was a great
family man and loved his family devotedly.  He was not lax, and ruled
his family well.

"The Pershing family were zealous church people.  John F. Pershing was
the Sunday School superintendent of the Methodist Church all the years
he lived here.  Every Sunday you could see him making his way to church
with John on one side and Jim on the other, Mrs. Pershing and the girls
following along."

John F. Pershing was a strong Union man, and although local feeling ran
high between the North and the South, he retained the esteem of his
neighbors.  He had one or two close calls from the "bushwhackers," as
roving rangers were called, but his family escaped harm.

At times during the War, he was entrusted with funds by various other
families, and acted as a sort of local bank.  After the War he was

The close of the War found the younger John a stocky boy of five.  He
began to attend the village school and take an active part in the
boyish sports of a small town.  There was always plenty to do, whether
of work or play.  One of his boyhood chums writes:

"John Pershing was a clean, straight, well-behaved young fellow.  He
never was permitted to loaf around on the streets.  Nobody jumped on
him, and he didn't jump on anybody.  He attended strictly to his own
business.  He had his lessons when he went to class.  He was not a big
talker.  He said a lot in a few words, and didn't try to cut any swell.
He was a hard student.  He was not brilliant, but firm, solid, and
would hang on to the very last.  We used to study our lessons together
evenings.  About nine-thirty or ten o'clock, I'd say:

"'John, how are you coming?'

"'Pretty stubborn.'

"'Better go to bed, hadn't we?'

"'No, Charley, I'm going to work this out.'"

Another schoolmate gives us a more human picture:

"As a boy, Pershing was not unlike thousands of other boys of his age,
enjoying the same pleasures and games as his other boyhood companions.
He knew the best places to shoot squirrels or quail, and knew where to
find the hazel or hickory nuts.  He knew, too, where the coolest and
deepest swimming pools in the Locust, Muddy, or Turkey creeks were.
Many a time we went swimming together in Pratt's Pond."

About this time Pershing's father added to his other ventures the
purchase of a farm near Laclede, and the family moved out there.  Then
there was indeed plenty of work to do.  The chores often began before
sun-up, and lasted till after dark; and the children were lucky to find
time for schooling during the late Fall and Winter months.  John,
however, kept doggedly at it, and managed to get a fair, common-school

When he was barely in his 'teens, his first set task was given him--to
teach in a negro school.  This school had been established after the
War ended, but the teacher had gone, and no one else seemed available
for the job.  John was sober and studious, and besides was so well
grown for his age that they banked on his ability to "lick" any negro
boy that got obstreperous.

He succeeded sufficiently in this venture, to cause him to take up
teaching regularly, in white schools, with a view to paying for his
education.  He wanted to study law, and his parents encouraged the
idea.  His work in these country schools was invaluable to him in
teaching him how to govern others.  A former pupil of his writes:

"Though he never sought a quarrel, young Pershing was known as 'a game
fighter,' who never acknowledged defeat.  One day, at Prairie Mound, at
the noon hour a big farmer with red sideburns rode up to the
schoolhouse with a revolver in his hand.  Pershing had whipped one of
the farmer's children, and the enraged parent intended to give the
young schoolmaster a flogging.

"I remember how he rode up cursing before all the children in the
schoolyard, and how another boy and I ran down a gully because we were
afraid.  We peeked over the edge, though, and heard Pershing tell the
farmer to put up his gun, get down off his horse, and fight like a man.

"The farmer got down and John stripped off his coat.  He was only a boy
of seventeen or eighteen and slender, but he thrashed the old farmer
soundly.  And I have hated red sideburns ever since."

After several terms of country school teaching, young Pershing saved up
enough money to enter the State Normal School, at Kirksville, Mo.  One
of his sisters went with him.  He remained there for two terms, doing
his usual good steady work, but was still dissatisfied.  He wanted to
get a better education.

About this time he happened to notice an announcement of a competitive
examination in his district for an entrance to West Point.  The
soldiering side did not appeal to him, but the school side did.

"I wouldn't stay in the army," he remarked to a friend.  "There won't
be a gun fired in the world for a hundred years, I guess.  If there
isn't, I'll study law, but I want an education, and now I see how I can
get it."

His mother was by no means "sold" on the idea of his becoming a soldier
either, and it was only when he assured her that there wouldn't be a
gun fired in a hundred years, that she finally consented.  If she could
have looked ahead to his future career, and final part in the greatest
war the world has ever known--one wonders what her emotions would have

Pershing passed his entrance examination by a narrow margin, and then
entered a training school at Highland Falls, N. Y., for tutoring in
certain deficient branches.  At last in June, 1882, when he was just
rounding his twenty-second year, he became a freshman in the great
Academy on the Hudson.

The young plebe from the West speedily fell in love with the
institution and all that it represented.  He found the soldier life
awakening in him, along with his desire for a good education.  Four
happy years were spent there--and while he didn't shine, being number
thirty in a class of seventy-seven, his all-around qualities made him
many friends among both faculty and students.  He was made ranking
cadet captain in his senior year, and chosen class president.

Twenty-five years later, writing from clear around the world, at
Manila, to his class, at a reunion, he gives a long, breezy account of
his experience there, from which we have space to quote only a few

"This brings up a period of West Point life whose vivid impressions
will be the last to fade.  Marching into camp, piling bedding, policing
company streets for logs or wood carelessly dropped by upper classmen,
pillow fights at tattoo with Marcus Miller, sabre drawn, marching up
and down superintending the plebe class, policing up feathers from the
general parade; light artillery drills, double-timing around old Fort
Clinton at morning squad drill; Wiley Bean and the sad fate of his
seersucker coat; midnight dragging, and the whole summer full of events
can only be mentioned in passing.

"No one can ever forget his first guard tour with all its preparation
and perspiration.  I got along all right during the day, but at night
on the color line my troubles began.  Of course, I was scared beyond
the point of properly applying any of my orders.  A few minutes after
taps, ghosts of all sorts began to appear from all directions.  I
selected a particularly bold one and challenged according to orders:
'Halt, who comes there?'  At that the ghost stood still in its tracks.
I then said: 'Halt, who stands there?'  Whereupon the ghost, who was
carrying a chair, sat down.  When I promptly said: 'Halt, who sits
there?' . . .

"The career of '86 at West Point was in many respects remarkable.
There were no cliques, no dissensions, and personal prejudices or
selfishness, if any existed, never came to the surface.  From the very
day we entered, the class as a unit has always stood for the very best
traditions of West Point."

While Pershing was still in West Point, the Indian chief Geronimo was
making trouble in the Southwest.  For several years he led a band of
outlaw braves, who terrorized the Southern border.  General Crook was
sent in pursuit of him, and afterwards General Miles took up the chase.
Finally in August, 1886, the chief and his followers were rounded up.

Pershing graduated in the spring of this year, with the usual rank
given to graduates, second lieutenant, and was immediately assigned to
duty under Miles.  He had an inconspicuous part in the capture.  But
the next year in the special maneuvers he was personally complimented
by the General for "marching his troops with a pack train of 140 mules
in 46 hours and bringing in every animal in good condition."  Doubtless
his early experience with the Missouri brand of mule aided him.

Thereafter, for the next five years, Pershing's life was that of a
plainsman.  He was successively at Fort Bayard, Fort Stanton, and Fort
Wingate, all in New Mexico, in the center of troubled country.  In 1890
he was shifted north to take the field against the Sioux Indians, in
South Dakota, and in the Battle of Wounded Knee he had a considerable
taste of burnt powder, where the tribe that had massacred General
Custer and his band was practically wiped out.  The next year he was
stationed at Fort Niobrara, in Nebraska, in command of the Sioux Indian

This rapid summary of a busy and adventurous life on the plains does
not convey any idea of its many activities.  But it was an exceedingly
valuable period of training to the young officer.  He was finding
himself, and learning something of the inner art of military science
that he was later to put to such good use.

Here is the opinion of an officer who was Pershing's senior in the
Sixth Cavalry by six years--all of them spent in the Apache country:

"In those days, when a youngster joined a regiment, he was not expected
to express himself on military matters until he had some little
experience.  But there was a certain something in Pershing's appearance
and manner which made him an exception to the rule.  Within a very
short time after he came to the post, a senior officer would turn to
him, and say: 'Pershing, what do you think of this?' and his opinion
was such that we always listened to it.  He was quiet, unobtrusive in
his opinions, but when asked he always went to the meat of a question
in a few words.  From the first he had responsible duties thrown on
him.  We all learned to respect and like him.  He was genial and full
of fun.  No matter what the work or what the play, he always took a
willing and leading part.  He worked hard and he played hard; but
whenever he had work to do, he never let play interfere with it."

His experiences in the Wild West (and it was the Wild West in those
days) cannot be passed over without relating one typical anecdote.
Three cattle rustlers, white men, had gotten into a fight with the Zuni
Indians, who caught them driving off some cattle.  Three of the red men
were killed before the outlaws were finally surrounded in a lonely

Word was sent of their predicament to the nearest fort, and Lieutenant
Pershing was sent with a small detachment to their rescue.  He rode
straight up to the Zuni chief, who was now on the warpath, and told him
he must call off his braves--that the United States Government would
punish these men.  The chief finally grunted assent, and Pershing
strode forward alone into the clearing and approached the cabin.  At
any time a shot might have come out, but disregarding his own danger he
went on, pushed open the door, and found himself looking into the
muzzles of three guns.

A single false move on his part would probably have ended him, but he
did not waver.  He folded his arms and said quietly:

"Well, boys, I've come to get you."

The outlaws laughed noisily and swore by way of reply.

"You might as well come along," he went on, without raising his voice.
"My men are posted all around this cabin."

More profanity, but the men at last consented to go, if they could
carry their guns.  They wouldn't budge otherwise.

"You'll come as I say, and you'll be quick about it," said Pershing, a
note of command coming into his voice.

And they did.

The next duty which fell to Lieutenant Pershing was quite different.
From chasing Indians and outlaws on the plains, he was assigned to the
task of putting some "half baked" cadets through their paces.  In
September, 1891, he became Professor of Military Science and Tactics at
the University of Nebraska.

The discipline at this school was of a piece with that of other State
colleges, where a certain amount of drilling was demanded, but beyond
this the students were allowed to go their own gait.  At Nebraska it
had become pretty lax--but the arrival of the new instructor changed
all that.  A student of this time, in a recent article in _The Red
Cross Magazine_, gives a humorous account of what happened.

It was the general belief that the students in these Western colleges,
many of them farmers' sons, could never be taught the West Point idea.
"But the Lieutenant who had just arrived from Lincoln received an
impression startlingly in contrast to the general one.  He looked over
the big crowd of powerful young men, and, himself a storehouse and
radiating center of energy and forcefulness, recognized the same
qualities when he saw them.

"'By George!  I've got the finest material in the world,'" he told the
Chancellor, his steel-like eyes alight with enthusiasm.  'You could do
anything with those boys.  They've got the stuff in them!  Watch me get
it out!'

"And he proceeded to do so.

"By the middle of the first winter the battalion was in shape to drill
together.  Moreover, the boys had made a nickname for their leader, and
nicknames mean a great deal in student life.  He was universally called
'the Lieut.' (pronounced 'Loot,' of course, in the real American
accent), as though there were but one lieutenant in the world.  This he
was called behind his back, of course.  To his face they called him
'sir,' a title of respect which they had never thought to give to any
man alive.

"By the end of that first academic year every man under him would have
followed 'the Lieut.' straight into a prairie fire, and would have kept
step while doing it."

As he gradually got his group of officers licked into shape, he found
less to do personally.  So he promptly complained to the Chancellor, to
this effect, and asked, like Oliver Twist, for more.

"After a moment's stupefaction (the Lieut. was then doing five times
the work that any officer before him had ever done) the Chancellor
burst into a great laugh and suggested that the Lieut. should take the
law course in the law school of the University.  He added that if two
men's work was not enough for him, he might do three men's, and teach
some of the classes in the Department of Mathematics.  Without changing
his stride in the least, the young officer swept these two occupations
along with him, bought some civilian clothes and a derby hat, and
became both professor and student in the University, where he was also
military attaché.

"During the next two years he ate up the law course with a fiery haste
which raised the degree of class work to fever heat.  Those who were
fellow students with him, _and survived_, found the experience
immensely stimulating."

Of course he graduated, and was thus entitled to write another title
after his name--that of Bachelor of Arts.  About this time, also, he
was promoted to a first lieutenancy, the first official recognition for
his many long months of work.  Then he was sent back to the field
again, to join the Tenth Cavalry at Fort Assiniboine, Montana.

Next came a welcome command to take the position of Assistant
Instructor of Tactics, at West Point.  It was almost like getting back
home, to see these loved hills, the mighty river, and the familiar
barracks again.

But after a few months here, the Spanish War broke out.  Eager to get
into the action, he resigned his position at the Military Academy, and
was transferred to his former regiment, the Tenth Cavalry.  This
regiment was sent immediately to Santiago, and took part in the short
but spirited fighting at El Caney and San Juan hill--where a certain
Colonel of the Rough Riders was in evidence.  Side by side these two
crack regiments charged up the slope, dominated by the Spanish fort,
and here Roosevelt and Pershing first met.

We would like to fancy these two intrepid soldiers as recognizing each
other here in the din of battle.  But the truth is sometimes more
prosaic than fiction; and the truth compels us to reprint this little
anecdote from _The World's Work_.

Five years after the Spanish War, when Roosevelt was President and
Pershing was a mere Captain, he was invited to luncheon at the White

"Captain Pershing," said the President, when the party was seated at
the table, "did I ever meet you in the Santiago campaign?"

"Yes, Mr. President, just once."

"When was that?  What did I say?"

"Since there are ladies here, I can't repeat just what you said, Mr.

There was a general laugh in which Roosevelt joined.

"Tell me the circumstances, then."

"Why, I had gone back with a mule team to Siboney, to get supplies for
the men.  The night was pitch black and it was raining torrents.  The
road was a streak of mud.  On the way back to the front, I heard noise
and confusion ahead.  I knew it was a mired mule team.  An officer in
the uniform of a Rough Rider was trying to get the mules out of the
mud, and his remarks, as I said a moment ago, should not be quoted
before the ladies.  I suggested that the best thing to do, was to take
my mules and pull your wagon out, and then get your mules out.  This
was done, and we saluted and parted."

"Well," said Roosevelt, "if there ever was a time when a man would be
justified in using bad language, it would be in the middle of a rainy
night, with his mules down in the mud and his wagon loaded with things
soldiers at the front needed."

Pershing, as a result of the Cuban campaign, was twice recommended for
brevet commissions, for "personal bravery and untiring energy and
faithfulness."  General Baldwin said of him: "Pershing is the coolest
man under fire I ever saw."

But it was not until 1901 that he became Captain.  He had now been
transferred at his own request to the Philippines.  Whether or not he
won promotion through the slow-moving machinery of the war office, his
energetic spirit demanded action.

"The soldier's duty is to go wherever there is fighting," he said, and
vigorously opposed the idea that he be given a swivel-chair job.

His first term of service in the Philippines was from 1899 to 1903.  In
the interval between his first and second assignments, the latter being
as Governor of the Moros, he returned to America to serve on the
General Staff, and also to act as special military observer in the
Russo-Japanese War.

His duties during the years, while arduous and often filled with
danger, were not of the sort to bring him to public notice.  But they
_were_ being followed by the authorities at Washington, who have a way
of ticketing every man in the service, as to his future value to the
army.  And Pershing was "making good."  He had turned forty, before he
was Captain.  Out in the Philippines he worked up to a Major.  Now
advancement was to follow with a startling jump.

It all hinged upon that luncheon with Roosevelt, about which we have
already told, and the fact that Roosevelt had a characteristic way of
doing things.  The step he now took was not a piece of favoritism
toward Pershing--it arose from a desire to have the most efficient men
at the head of the army.

Pershing was nominated for Brigadier General, and the nomination was
confirmed.  Of course it created a tremendous sensation in army
circles.  The President, by his action, had "jumped" the new General
eight hundred and sixty-two orders.

On his return to the Philippines, as Governor of the Moro Province, he
performed an invaluable service in bringing peace to this troubled
district.  He accomplished this, partly by force of arms, partly by
persuasion.  The little brown men found in this big Americano a man
with whom they could not trifle, and also one on whose word they could

It was not until 1914 that he was recalled from the Philippines, and
then very shortly was sent across the Mexican border in the pursuit of
Villa.  It would seem as though this strong soldier was to have no
rest--that his muscles were to be kept constantly inured to
hardship--so that, in the event of a greater call to arms, here would
be one commander trained to the minute.

The Fates had indeed been shaping Pershing from boyhood for a supreme
task.  Each step had been along the path to a definite goal.

The punitive expedition into Mexico was a case in point.  It was a
thankless job at best, and full of hardship and danger.  A day's march
of thirty miles across an alkali desert, under a blazing sun, is hardly
a pleasure jaunt.  And there were many such during those troubled
months of 1916.

Then, one day, came a quiet message from Washington, asking General
Pershing to report to the President.  The results of that interview
were momentous.  The Great War in Europe was demanding the intervention
of America.  Our troops were to be sent across the seas to Europe for
the first time in history.  The Government needed a man upon whom it
could absolutely rely to be Commander-in-chief of the Expeditionary
Forces.  Would General Pershing hold himself in readiness for this
supreme task?

The veteran of thirty years of constant campaigning stiffened to
attention.  The eager look of battle--battle for the right--shone in
his eye.  Every line of his upstanding figure denoted confidence--a
confidence that was to inspire all America, and then the world itself,
in this choice of leader.  He saluted.

"I will do my duty, sir," he said.


  1860.  September 13.  John Joseph Pershing born.
  1881.  Entered Highland Military Academy, New York.
  1882.  Entered U. S. Military Academy, West Point.
  1886.  Graduated from West Point, senior cadet captain.
         Sent to southwest as second-lieutenant, 6th cavalry.
  1891.  Professor, military tactics, University of Nebraska.
  1898.  Took part in Spanish-American War.
  1901.  Captain, 1st Cavalry, Philippines.
  1905.  Married Frances Warren.
  1906.  Brigadier-general.
  1914.  Recalled from Philippines.
  1915.  Lost his wife and three children in a fire.
  1915.  Sent to Mexico in pursuit of Villa.
  1917.  Sent to France as commander-in-chief of American
         Expeditionary Force.
  1919.  Appointment of general made permanent.
  1924.  Retired from active service.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Boys' Book of Famous Soldiers" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.