November 2, 1861
|Gen. John B. Magruder cut an|
impressive figure in his uniform.
(Cdv, blog author's collection)
Editors Dispatch:--I reached here two days ago, and immediately repaired to the office of Col. Colquitt, the commander of the post, to get my permit endorsed. I sat in his office for one hour, and observed him in the midst of business, giving his ear and attention to a multitude of details and an infinite variety of applications. No man I have met has impressed me more favorably. He is polite and intelligent,-- --comprehends readily the questions submitted to him, and disposes of them with facility. Simple and unaffected in his manners, he is wholly free from that grave and mysterious air of consequence, with which men devoid of merit seek to impose upon the world. I would trust my fortune to his good sense and discretion in any emergency.
If there is one error more than any other into which our military leaders have fallen, it is the mistaken and contemptible idea that an abrupt manner and a curt reply are the evidences of their fitness for power and authority.
I passed from the office of Col. Colquitt to the headquarters of General Magruder. Here, too, all was stir and talk. General Magruder stood in the midst, a proud and commanding form, bowing to one, listening to another, and giving directions to a third. He is impulsive in manner, and one would think, up on the first blush, impatient and harsh, yet there is a fund of good nature in him. A scene occurred in my presence which illustrates it. A man with a sabre steps in and hands him a paper. "What's this?""Application for a furlough, sir.""Furlough! Don't you know my order, sir; don't you know my order?""Yes, General; but I [ hav'nt ] been home in four months; left hurriedly; business mixed up; wife at home by herself; furlough short.""How long?"--"Ten days.""Ten days! Where do you live?" "New Kent.""New Kent! Two days to go--two to return--five days is enough, sir; any man can attend to business in one day. Five days is enough." He takes his pen and, relaxing in his feelings, writes, "Grant him ten days furlough." He has enough to make him impatient and to keep him so, and I should hardly blame him if he were to swear a little. He is untiring in his exertions, and is now bending his energies to a more perfect defence of the Peninsula. The present state of preparation I am not allowed to refer to; but it is enough to say that while much remains to be done, the troops here would be glad to meet the enemy now or at any time. More anon. Accomac.