FIRST REGIMENT VIRGINIA INFANTRY.
IN the light shed by the time that has passed, the two grand central figures of the war are President Lincoln and General Grant. Other names, heroic as their possessors may have been, sound commonplace and inferior to these. As we get farther from the contest and viewing it through time's softening shades, these two figures, will stand out the more prominent. The one called to the most exalted position by his fellow-citizens, the other working up from the command of a regiment by his own merits and true soldierly qualities. The one a Moses and the other a Joshua to lead the nation through a sea of trouble out of the wilderness of war to Peace, the Land of Promise.
As fair an expression of the estimate placed on General Grant by foreigners, and in all probability an impartial one, is that given by Matthew Arnold, in the late English magazine. This writer will not be charged with entertaining a partial opinion of him or of his countrymen generally, hence the higher value should be placed on this.
"Wholly free from show, parade, and pomposity, sensible and sagacious, scanning closely the situation, seeing things as they as they actually were, then making up his mind as to the right thing to be done under the circumstances and doing it. Never flurried, never vacillating, but also not stubborn; able to reconsider and change his plans; a man of resource. When, however, he had really fixed on the best course to take, - the right nail to drive, - resolutely and tenaciously persevering, driving the nail hard home, - Grant was all that."
Proving General Grant by his actions, this opinion is about as near correct as to his soldierly qualities as can be expressed. About two years ago the writer was in Vicksburg looking over the ground for the possession of which the two armies fought so hard in 1863. At the time referred to General Grant was on his death-bed. One of the most prominent citizens of Vicksburg, Mr. R----y, was present, and remarked, "Our people have none but the kindest feelings and best wishes for General Grant." The writer, on his invitation, accepted a seat in his carriage, and became quite interested as he recalled the incidents connected with the battles on the Jackson road and the environment of the city, ending with the capitulation of Pemberton. The same generous sentiments, it is hardly necessary to say, are expressed in the South towards President Lincoln. This, however, only leads to the goal desired; and at the risk of giving undue prominence to one whose walk was in a subordinate position, it is ventured to preface it with what will doubtless appear superfluous, - a tribute to his superior officers. The writer feels that his duty is not done if he neglects the opportunity, in the absence of a sketch of his life, having failed in getting it, to give the Wheeling Intelligencer's tribute to Colonel Thoburn on the occasion of his burial, October 22, 1864, as a fitting final to the history of his regiment.
Joseph Thoburn's Monument
Mt. Wood Cemetery, Wheeling, W.Va.
(Image provided by PAUL BURIG.)
"The most magnificent pageant that was ever seen in the city was the funeral of Colonel Thoburn. It was altogether the most impressive that the community ever witnessed in honoring the remains of the gallant dead, and will live in the remembrance of the youngest in our midst."