The Civil War in North Carolina

Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians

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and the lesson of his life comes home to every bosom, "With all your gettings, get understanding." We can now think with grateful satisfaction that those great powers of mind, which were our pride and astonishment on earth, are ever expanding in knowledge, ever getting new revelations of Divine love and ever attaining new degrees of holiness.

        "The saddest sight on our afflicted earth is that of a man of great gifts, culture and refinement, living out of Christ and deliberately choosing to spend his eternity with the coarse, the brutal and the depraved. With heartfelt gratitude we adore that distinguishing love which made our illustrious countryman choose that good part which shall not be taken away.

        "Judge Osborne was born in Salisbury, North Carolina, on the 25th of December, 1811, and died in Charlotte on the 11th August, 1869, so that he had hardly passed the meridian of life, and until a short time before his death, 'his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated.'

        "He took his degree at Chapel Hill in June, 1830. At the University he specially delighted in mathematics, and his success in that study was eminent. His logical mind peculiarly fitted him for the exact sciences. Hence, a distinguished lawyer said of him, that he had the first legal mind in the State, though his varied and extensive reading kept him from being as familiar with the formula and technicalities of the law, as were some of the routine lawyers. But his keen perceptions and accurate judgment made him know what the law ought to be in any new case presented.

        "The extent and variety of his reading was truly marvelous. There was scarcely a subject which he had not looked into, if indeed he had not thoroughly mastered it. Few clergymen outside of our Theological Seminaries were so well read in theology. He said to the writer of this, that there was a charm about the study of theology which no other reading possessed for him; and he devoured huge volumes of theologic lore with the most eager relish.

        "As an instance of the multifariousness of his learning, it may be mentioned that long before the Civil War, he had been a profound student of military history and science. During the siege of Yorktown, he gave a Division Commander such masterly reasons for its evacuation and so supported by authority and precedent, that he went to General Johnston and repeated them. Again, when the battle was in progress at Mechanicsville on the first of the seven days' fights around Richmond, the same officer received a letter from the Judge suggesting the very movement that our troops were making. Just after the battle of Chancellorsville, he wrote: 'Lee has crushed Hooker with one wing of his army. Let the other be thrown rapidly to Murfreesboro, annihilate Rosecranz and seize the waters of the Mississippi above Grant at Vicksburg.' There is every reason to believe that many Confederate officers thought that this would be a wiser move than the advance into Pennsylvania.

        "Fluency of speech was a natural gift with Judge Osborne, and this, combined with his vast acquaintance with books, made his language the very choicest Anglo-Saxon. His warm-hearted, genial, pleasant manner, and bright, kindly face added a charm to the whole, which was absolutely irresistible. He had no equal as a conversationalist, and his intimate friends can never forget the grace and fascination of his address. And so his ready command of the best words, his learning, his enthusiasm, his sonorous voice and graceful delivery, made him one of the very first orators in the land. We confess that we have been more impressed by him than by Mr. Clay, or even by Mr. McDuffie.

        "The magic spell thrown around Judge Osborne in the social circle and on the hustings was his imperturbable good temper, and that proceeded from his large hearted humanity, his sincere and unaffected love for his race. He had a kind word and a pleasant smile for everybody, simply because he loved mankind. He
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