CHAP. XXV.] CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.---CONFEDERATE. 971
IL He has been profoundly afflicted by their unfavorable opinion of himself; admiring at the same time the chaste and elegant language in which it has been expressed. And his life will hereafter be embittered by the reflection that he failed to secure the good opinion and applauses of a body of men so just and discriminating in their censures, whose opinions are entitled to so much weight, and who, by patriotically hurrying to their homes at the moment when a bleeding country besought them for their services, have deserved so well of that country, covered their own names with immortal glory, and added new dignity to human nature.
III. He deeply regrets that the gentlemen in question were, by his sole fault, forced into the service of an ungrateful country, which ought to be able to take care of herself; fight her own battles, and secure her independence without compelling any of her citizens to assist her in doing so. For what is liberty worth, if; to secure it, dangers have to be incurred, and hardships and privations undergone?
IV. He assures them that it was with the deepest sorrow he became convinced that he could not furlough all of them in April, until the end of the war, and permit them to remain at home until that time, still continuing to receive their pay, and forty cents a day for use and risk of each horse.
V. He particularly apologizes to every gentleman for not having been able heretofore to furlough men and grant leaves of absence to officers for more than fifteen days out of ten, and to indulge their burning ardor for active service, and their eager desire to be at home at one and the same time; and he is taking active steps which he hopes will enable him to effect all this in the future.
VI. The commanding general is utterly unable to find words in which to express his intense admiration of these lofty and heroic souls, who, leaving a little handful of their countrymen, unfortunately not thirty-five years of age, to aid our Indian allies in checking an overwhelming torrent of invasion, are returning exultant to their homes in Texas, furnished with those honorable certificates of discharge which their children and their children's children will in after years exhibit with a just and laudable pride, as in other countries men exhibit the patents of nobility of their ancestors; nor can he find language in which to express his conviction of the supreme injustice of those laws, ordinarily known among fools as the laws of honor, decency, and justice, which have not permitted him to take the moneys belonging to oar Indian allies to satisfy the demands of those patriots who are now retiring to the shades of private life, after a long term of arduous service, chiefly passed by them in cursing the officers over them, and yelling clamorously for furloughs, sick leave, pay, active service, horse shoeing, corn, and bacon.
VII. He condoles with them on the unexampled hardships that they have undergone, and which, such has been their patriotic devotion, they have borne, unmurmuring, with unexampled, unheard-of, and incredible constancy, patience, and cheerfulness.
VIII. He is deeply afflicted at the incredible privations which the men have had to endure, in the cause of a beloved country, in the way of food. Their sufferings in that respect have brought many tears to his eyes; and their heroic patience under these terrible privations totally eclipses the boasted constancy of the men of the Revolution, who starved and stood barefoot in the snows of winter at Valley Forge, and went into action with only a rag tied round their loins, to keep the belts of their cartridge-boxes from eating into their flesh.