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Book Reviews347 men in the period he is studying. The day-to-day concerns of the men who sat in Congress a hundred years ago did not always get into the written annals of the time. Attempting to fill in these gaps can be risky. In his study, Mr. Riddle has treated the lively skirmish for the General Land Office in full detail. It is a revealing account, which shows Lincoln as a man who knew when to be silent even though an injustice had been done to him, and who could be magnanimous. Flashes of the great strength of character which would later distinguish the man appear in this book, and for these clear insights and his review of the patronage scramble Mr. Riddle deserves a hearty commendation. Arnold Gates Garden City, New York. Lincoln's Commando. By Ralph J. Roske and Charles Van Doren. (New York: Harper and Brothers. 1957. Pp. x, 310. $4.50.) in the methodical and determined slaughter that men call the game of war there are always individuals who defy rules of caution and not only survive but manage to perform unbelievable feats. Of such a mold was Commander William B. Cushing, U.S.N. In the words of Gideon Welles, "his brief, adventurous and heroic achievements furnish some of the brightest pages in our naval annals." Biographers Roske and Van Doren have turned to Cushing's letters and contemporary records to detail the life of an extraordinary young man. When William Cushing entered Annapolis as a naval cadet at fifteen, nearly half of his life was behind him. Almost as though he sensed that premium on time, Cushing would not hew to the line or plod diligently with studies and drills. During his first year at Annapolis he received 99 demerits. During the second year he boosted that to 188. Although full of high spirits and a restless urge to be doing something, Cushing still managed to stand high in his studies. His health was never good, and since the Academy had nothing in the way of organized physical exercise the "endless grind of acquiring knowledge" drove him to pranks. A joke at the expense of his Spanish instructor finally backfired. Will Cushing was marked deficient in Spanish in the February, 1861, examination and "not recommended for continuance at the Academy." Promptly after Fort Sumter was fired on, William Cushing went to Secretary of Navy Welles and asked to be used in the naval service. He was made an acting master's mate in the United States Volunteer Navy and sent to the U.S.S. frigate "Minnesota." Aboard, Cushing was assigned to the berth deck which, he later observed, was "the lowest of all positions in a man o' war." Undaunted, he wrote to his cousin that he was "an officer aboard the splendid steam frigate Minnesota. We have just left our moorings, and as I write we are moving under steam and sail out of Boston Harbor. I am going to fight under the old banner of freedom. I may never return, but if I should die, it shall be under the folds of the flag that sheltered my infancy and while striking a blow for its honor and my own." In a characteristic tone he added, "Wherever there is fighting, there we will be, and where there is danger in the battle, there will I be, for I will gain a name in this war." 348civil war histoby Coming from a brash youngster, Cushing's words could be marked off to youthful exuberance. It is only as one reads the further adventures of the man from Fredonia, New York, that it becomes apparent that here was a young man who meant what he said. Ever ready to take the long chance, he had the quick wit necessary for accomplishment. In one instance the blockading squadron, of which the "Minnesota" was a part, captured three schooners, and Cushing was assigned to take one to Philadelphia. The second night out a storm came up. The untrained crew all but gave up when a large vessel bore down on the schooner, and only Cushing's quick action in springing to the wheel prevented...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 347-349
Launched on MUSE
2013-01-02
Open Access
No
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