U.S. Senator Daniel of Virginia speaks of the glory of the Confederacy as he sees it and the maintenance of white supremacy at a Convention of the United Confederate Veterans
From pages 24-46, Proceedings of The Third Annual Meeting and Reunion of the United Confederate Veterans, held at New Orleans, April 8th and 9th, 1892.
[Note. – This master-piece is inserted here in the proceedings in the order in which it was delivered, as it should be in the possession of every camp, of every veteran, and will be preserved as one of the most cherished household treasures of every Southern home. – Adjutant General.]
ORATION OF SENATOR DANIEL
Gen Gordon then introduced the orator of the day, as follows:
“Ladies, Comrades, my Confederate Countrymen—The delightful experiences which have stirred the tenderest and profoundest depths of my sensibilities are now to be heightened and intensified by the privilege accorded me of introducing to you the glorious representative of old Virginia. [Applause.] I present to you my friend, your friend, a superb soldier, a golden-hearted gentlemen, the unrivalled orator, John W. Daniel, of Virginia.”
Who, after an almost unparalleled ovation, spoke as follows:
“Gen. Gordon, comrades, soldiers of the army and navy of the Confederate States and fair women of the South. [Cheers.]
In the Hebrew and Arabian legends concerning Nimrod, “the mighty hunter” of old, it is recounted that Abraham, the patriarch, was called before him, and Nimrod, the King, said unto him:
“Let us worship the fire.”
“Rather the water that quenches the fire,” said Abraham. “Well, the water.”
“Rather the clouds that carry the water.”
“Well, the clouds.”
“Rather the wind that scatters the clouds.”
“Well, the wind.”
“Rather man, for he withstands the winds,” answered Abraham.
It is not as a worshipper of the fire, or of any of the material elementa and powers of the earth that I have come to meet you here to-day—you, who were once citizens of a land, soldiers of an army, that live only in the memories of days that have vanished.
It is rather as the respecter, and lover of my fellow-men—of you men of the South—who have withstood the wind; withstood it when it raged through the flames of battle, and when it moaned over the wastes of death, devastation and defeat. Man, created but a little lower than the angels, and reflecting his Maker’s image in the majesty of his countenance and the beautiful genius of his mind, is the link between the earth and the heavens of which he dreams; and if the patriarch, by successive steps, led the King to realize his superiority over the forces of nature and to the contemplation of nature’s God, so have you, once soldiers of the South—so have you made mankind realize your superiority over the caprices of fortune and the decrees of fate, and your firm reliance in that Providence which holds men and nations in its keeping.
THE SOUTH SINCE THE WAR.
Brilliant as are the annals of the Southern land, from the days of the Revolutionary War to the present time, there are no pages in its history which bespeak the stern, enduring stuff of its manhood and the beautiful piety of its womanhood as do those which relate to its rising up from the prostration of civil strife, and its restoration to social prosperity and political liberty. Self-respect indeep adversity, self-containment under harshest trial; self-assertion under vast discouragement; patient toil under hard conditions, magnamity under keen exasperation; faith in God and His justice, though the heavens fall—these traits have marked this people; and by their exercise the fires of hatred have been quenched, the rains that refresh have been gathered, the clouds of goom havebeen scattered; the storms of evil-fortune have been withstood.
The glory of the Confederate soldier is in the fact that he went forth from the people’s homes to the field of battle, and back to those homes from the field of battle; that he suffered for a people’s cause, without pay; that he carried a people’s standard, without rewards; and that when all was lost, save honor, he worked as he fought, with his whole soul, and achieved victories of peace that outshine all the fields of war.
THE CONFEDERATE STATES IN HISTORY.
The Confederate States of America live only in history.
There they will live forever in the dignity of honest purpose and high principle, and in the grandeur of heroic sacrifice. They are resplendent in the virtues of the people that ordained them. They were made immortal by the brave deeds done for them.
With all the crimes of falsehood that history is guilty of, one crime it is without capacity to commit—so does human nature rebel against it—it can never bring stigma, contempt or shame upon a people who bravely fight for Liberty and Independence. You, surviving comrades, are but a fragment of the band that did this thing: fought for Liberty and Independence. These words stand upright and alone. No adjective may prop their firm footing. No epithet can strike them down.
Some say it is better for mankind in the long run that the South failed. None but God can tell. Some say it were wiser had it never attempted to set up for itself. None but God can tell. Whether for better, whether for worse, that we dared the great enterprise of making a new nation, such is the merit of Liberty and Independence that they condone all errors of judgment and glorify all fair deeds done for their sake. Mankind honors you for two things; first, because you offered your lives with your faith to your country’s cause; second, because you were honest, honorable, chivalrous and brave. I greet you with reverence and love. To have stood with you in the thin gray line is the proudest memory of my life, to meet you once again is a joy tender and inexpressible.
Did I follow my heart’s first prompting now, I would recall the men and incidents of the days we spent together. I see in retrospect the Washington Artillery or the Louisiana Guard Artillery go rattling to the front, and hear again their pealing guns. I see again the lines of Hayes and Stafford go sweeping by to the charge, and hear over the rattling musketry their ringing cheers. Did I follow the bent of the genius of these times I would speak of the material progress of the South, of its mines and minerals, of its crops and herds, of its railway systems, its mighty contributions to commerce, and its multiplying furnaces and factories, but I have chosen rather to pay a tribute to its character and its history.
SOUTHERN CHARACTER AND HISTORY THE SOUTH’S GREAT POSSESSIONS.
These are its great possessions. We live in a generation that is so busy with to-day’s pursuits that it thinks but little of yesterday and its lessons. But the greatest wealth of the South is not in its material resources, great as they are. It is in the virtue of its people.
I would not give the memory of Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, Albert Sidney Johnston, Joseph E. Johnston, Bragg, Polk, Ewell, Hardee, Breckinridge, Pat Cleburne, Dick Taylor, Hood, Price, McCullough, Semmes, D. H. and A. P. Hill, Stuart, Forrest, Morgan, Ashby. I would not give the memories of these dead warriors and their compeers for all your mines and fields.
I would not give the character and fame of the Confederate private soldier for the wealth of Ormus and of Ind. I would not for my own part exchange the fact that I, too, was an humble soldier of my people for all the gold and silver piled up in the treasury vaults, for the proudest crest in the heraldy of knighthood, nor for the grandest crown that ever sparkled on a monarch’s brow.
The Confederate soldier lived, moved and had his being within the brief space of four years. These four years flame across the sky of history with the brilliancy of a comet. They were years of undimmed glory.
There was no Confederate before 1861 and there was none after 1865. The Confederacy marked its boundaries with your bayonets. It flashed into the family of nations like a sword from its scabbard—it vanished from the family of nations like a sword returned to its scabbard. Its birth was registered and its epitaph written in the blood of the brave. It was born, it lived and it died amidst the roll of drums, the blast of bugles, the rattle of musketry and the thunders of cannon. Its Constitution was dissolved in the flame of war. Its flag fell to rise no more. Its institutions perished. When the sun rose after Appomattox there was a new heaven and a new earth. And the old South lay dead in majesty.
THE OLD SOUTH.
It lies far off in the bygone years under the cypress trees and the ivy vines, with a broken shaft upon its tragic tomb. It was a land of true men and modest women. It lay aside from the great highways, beaten down with the tread of the myriads following westward the star of empire. On the broad acres of its plantations were the homes of its people. In groves and fields and by pure waters were its altars. Its population was not crowded in tenement houses. It had few cities, and of them New Orleans, Richmond, Mobile, Charleston and Savannah were the greatest. Commerce and manufactures had not kept pace with agriculture. It had little or no shipping. There were but three rolling mills in the entire South, but agriculture flourished. Cotton, sugar and rice fields, corn, wheat and tobacco fields were its great resources. It had universities, colleges and schools of high grade. Its scientists were eminent. Its statesmen were imbued with the philosophies that spring from contemplation. Its jurists were filled with the spirit of equity; its soldiers with the spirit of patriotism; its people were filled with the high martial spirit of their race, softened by the spirit of Christianity. Wealth was more evenly distributed than in most modern nations. There were few beggars, few millionaires, no monopolists, but many gentlemen. In no land was merit more readily recognized, and in none was its passage to wealth, to position and distinction less impeded. Marriage was a sacrament. There were few divorces. Its women shrank from the avocations of publicity, but they made home lovely, happy and sacred. Its society possessed elegance, refinement and dignity. Its public life was but little stained with public scandals. ‘The incontinence of a public officer was rare, and, when it occurred, damning. Its men were men counting honor more than life or riches.
THE ELEVATION OF THE BLACK MAN.
It had a peculiar institution, slavery. I will not discuss it further than to say, that whatever else the war did, it vindicated the beneficence of the institution to the subject race. Our own race found the black man a wanderer in the wilderness and gave him a home; it found him naked and clothed him; it found him a savage, a cannibal, and a heathen and it made him a Christian; it found him muttering a gibberish and gave him a language; it found him empty-minded and it filled him with instruction. When he ceased to be a slave, so had he been elevated from his barbarous state that he was declared fit to assume the great prerogatives and responsibilities of an American citizen. What prouder monument could there be to the civilization and humanizing genius of a people?
THE OLD SOUTH AND THE UNION.
The old South had done much for and had gloried in the Union. The War of the Revolution, the war of 1812 and the war with Mexico and the Texas revolution had each of them been led by a Southern general. The fabric of the Union had been woven, as it were, largely by Southern hands. The territory north of the Ohio to the great lakes, the territory of Louisiana, stretching to Oregon, the territory contained in the acquisition of Texas altogether constituting three-fourths of the United States, was chiefly the fruitage of measures framed and deeds done by Southern leaders, Andrew Lewis, George Rogers Clark, Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk, Winfield Scott and Zachary Taylor. The genius of Democracy that filled the Southern heart was quaffed from the fountain of American independence and the patriotic traditions that inflamed its fancy were those of our grand American story.
THE CONFEDERATE LAND.
We turn our faces to the past. There arises before us a land as fair as any that ever dawned on human vision. It stretches from the Potomac to the Rio Grande. Its western frontier lays far in the woods beyond the Mississippi. Its eastern and southern coast is washed for two thousand miles by the Alantic wave. Four of the original colonies of Great Britain, which proclaimed themselves at Philadelphia in 1776 to be free and independent States are embraced within it—Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. To them are added Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas. Kentucky, Maryland and Missouri divide between it and its Northern neighbor. On its map you may read the names of Alamance, where American freemen first defied the power of the English King before Concord or Bunker Hill were heard of; of Mecklenberg, where first was sounded the note of independence before the proclamation of Philadelphia; of Williamsburg, where the first Democratic convention in America was held and the first State declared its independence. There, too, you may read the names of Moultrie, Camden, Cowpens, Kings Mountain, Savannah and Charleston. There you may see Yorktown, where Cornwallis gave up the ghost of conquest, leaving his sword to Washington. There you may see New Orleans, upon soil which Jefferson negotiated from the empire of Napoleon to the republic of Washington, where the fierce Democracy of Tennessee and Kentucky, led by Andrew Jackson, gave the quietus to the veteran regulars of Great Britain the same who Iater won the glories of Waterloo. There at the Alamo in the Lone Star State, yot may read the grandest epitaph of history, where
“Sparta had its Messenger—the Alamo had none”.
There you may see, too, Bentonville and Appomattox, where valor, unawed by fate, paid to its flag the last salute and flaunted the colors of victory over the precipice of surrender.
THE CONFEDERATE CONSTITUTION.
The Constitution of this land had been made in the image of the Constitution of the United States. But it contained some improvements. It represented the advanced thought of a progressive people, expert in constitution making. There is the same division of powers, legislative, judicial and executive; the same organization of Senate and House of Representatives; there is the same reservation of powers not delegated to the general government, nor prohibited “to the States respectively, or to the people.” There are the same apportionment of representation and direct taxation by adding to numbers three-fifths of other persons, meaning slaves. There are the same muniments of civil and religious liberty. The ten amendments to the Constitution of the United States which were framed by Massachusetts and subsequently adopted, had been embodied as an integral part of it. The main differences between it and the Constitution of the United States were that no bounty could be granted and no tax levied to foster any branch of industy. No appropriation for internal improvements could be made except aids to navigation, the removals of obstructions from rivers and the improvement of harbors. It was less monarchical than its prototype. The President could hold office but for six years and was made, ineligible to a second term. It recognized African slavery just as the Constitution of the United States recognized it, and repeats its fugitive slave law in identical language, but unlike that Constitution, it did not procrastinate the interdiction of the slave trade, but once for all and forthwith forbade it. It was the freest Constitution that has ever been adopted by the English speaking race.
THE CONFEDERATE PRINCIPLES AMERICAN.
The Confederate principles were three-fold: first, local self-government represented by the sovereignty of the State; second, race purity represented by the sovereignty of the race; third, the union of States represented by a confederated, union and constitution.
Let all, then, realize and contemplate this fact, that there was not a single principle appearing in Confederate history that had not existed, and did not contemporaneously exist, in the Constitution and history of the United States. The revolution of the Confederacy did not dislodge or controvert a single idea or institution that underlay the independence, the freedom and the constitutional fabric of the American Union. There was no difference between the Confederate States and the United States in respect to those things which made or was the fruit of the revolution of 1776.
The new swarm of bees that comes forth from the old hive in spring follows the queen bee, and builds its hexagon cells and stores its honey just like the old hive. The Confederate swarm of 1861 followed its queen bee of independence and built its cells just like the old rebel swarm of 1776.
THE CONFEDERATE PEOPLE.
The Confederate people were Americans, all—in blood, in history, in principle, in habitation—descendants for the most part of the early pioneers and from the purest and gentlest strains of the English yeomen blood. They discerned the rights of man with as clear an eye and upheld them with as firm a hand as any that ever dared the wilderness or the wave or the imminent deadly breach to grasp the fruits of nature or to erect the shrines of conscience.
The Anglo-Saxon stock in the British isles had been stimulated and brightened by the blood of the conquering Norman. The English stock of the South had been invigorated by an infusion of the sturdy Scotch-Irish blood, and enlivened and illumined by a strain from the chivalrous vivacious and polished blood of France.
The painter Turner had painted a picture that seemed to him too somber. He paused, and then threw upon it a radiant touch of red, which illumined the canvas. This is what the Norman did for England and the French for the South.
THE CONFEDERATE WAR WAS A TERRITORIAL QUARREL.
The Confederate war was distinctly a territorial quarrel. The South wanted a “United States of America,” to be named “Confederate States,” to distinguish it from the northern confederacy, and to consist of Southern States with homogenous institutions; and the North wanted but one “United States of America,” to comprehend the half continent. The Northern swarm wanted to keep one hive and the Southern swarm wanted two hives. One or two? This was the question.
WHY THE CONFEDERATE WAR?
You ask then, “Why the Confederate war?” “Why did North and South fall out?” I answer, “African slavery.”
Who are responsible for African slavery? All of our ancestors, English and American; all of our contemporaries, Northern and Southern. Not a section, not a country, but a race. The English enslaved the African in order to profit thereby. Kings and Queens and Cabinets took stock in the slave trade. South Carolina, Georgia and Virginia sternly protested against it. Our Declaration of Independence in 1776 made it an accusation against the English crown. Every Northern State and every Southern State then alike yielded to it. There was no free State when the United States adopted their Constitution; but slave States organized by it a union of slavery. If it were wrong all were guilty, for all put it in the Federal Constitution and swore to support it, and the fugitive slave law in the Constitution found its germ in the earlier action of the united colonies of New England.
HOW SLAVERY PRODUCED WAR.
Slavery produced war because it soon differentiated Northern and Southern society. The North did not refuse to prolong slavery for moral reasons: but because, first, it was not profitable in mechanical labors; second, it competed with free labor; third, the South wanted free trade, because, slavery made it agricultural, and the North wanted high tariffs, because of its mechanical and manufacturing conditions. We hear the cry now against competition with the pauper labor of Europe. That cry was antedated by clamor against competition with the slave labor of the South. The South had received slavery from the imposition of tyranny; it continued it from necessity. It knew not what to do with it but to keep it; it was, “between the devil and the deep sea.” The slaves were too numerous to transport. Free them and free suffrage would follow, and with free suffrage race conflict.
Just before the war a citizen of New Orleans wrote a pamphlet entitled, “A Separate Nationality vs. The Africanization of the South,” by W. H. Holcombe. It showed how abolition was coming, and how through it would come from free suffrage, race conflict, confusion and anarchy. The author lives yet. He has seen every word of his prophecy fulfilled. The old South had its alternative: Africanization or a separate Confederacy. It drew its sword for independence and race sovereignty, and so died.
WHAT WILL HISTORY SAY OF US?
“What will they say of us at home?” the confederate said to himself, as be slept at night before the batteries he would charge at dawn, or saw the long lines come gleaming in. What home thought and thinks of him he knows full well, and is content, and yet he asks now what will history say of us and of the confederate cause?
At Appomattox, when General Lee had resolved to save further effusion of blood, and to treat for surrender, one of his attendants passionately exclaimed: “Oh, general! what will history say of the surrender of the army in the field?” “Yes, I know,” he answered. “Yes, I know they will say hard things of us; they will not understand how we were overwhelmed by numbers; but that is not the question, colonel; the question is, is it right to surrender this army? If it is right, then I will take all the responsibility.”
NO CONFEDERATE TRAITOR.
Just history will say—aye, history has said—there was no treason in being a confederate. No more loyal hearted people ever trod the earth than those who bore the confederate arms. The epithet “traitor” was the mere passionate froth of wordy conflict. Actions speak louder than words. They are the only things that signify in history. And the United States never at any time treated the confederates as traitors. It recognized their belligerent rights. It exchanged prisoners of war. It deliberately, purposely, wisely abandoned all effort to prosecute for treason. The federation system is dual. The citizen could, only be a citizen of the United States by being a citizen of a state. He swore to support the constitution of his state; and by the action of his state became a party to the constitution of the United States. The right to alter or abolish government was at the base of state government and of federal government alike—a fundamental principle to which they both owed their being. The state could not possibly commit treason. It is a personal act. It would be absurd to say; that the citizen could be hung for treason for not obeying his state, which decided one way, and hung for treason if he did not obey the federal government, the two governments differing. If not so, a man would be predestined to be hung anyway if state and federal government quarreled. This was absurd. The fact is, until the war it could not be determined whether the paramount allegiance was due to the central or local power. Our fathers had left the question open, fearing to attempt to close it. It was a question of fact rather than of law, for the law was silent, and the jury of nearly three millions of men decided the fact their way according to the majority of bullets which were made to vote viva voce. And sometimes I am quite sure they voted very loud.
Daniel Webster in his oration at Bunker Hill declared that after a revolt has levied a regular army, and fought a pitched battle, its champions even if defeated cannot be tried and convicted as traitors. If this be true where technical law is undoubtedly violated, how must the case stand where the question of technicality is itself in issue? Let our two thousand battles give the answer.
LESSONS OF THE CONFEDERACY—PEACE.
Your work was not lost, your sacrifice was not vain. You have taught the world great lessons and have yourselves learned great lessons. You have taught peace. The iron is melted and then it is made harder than ever into steel. Peace was broken and then peace was cemented stronger than before. What England learned through the battles of eight hundred years were learned in four years. We do everything in America on a magnificent scale, and when it is done it is done. With the flash of a sword we silenced the conflict of eight centuries. You taught peace in making war, in finding it vain to your ends but turning it to the accomplishment of grand aims for the future of our country and mankind. War was not inevitable in the possibilities of nature, but it was inevitable in the possibilities of the generation that made it. The forces conducing to it had accumulated for generations. Small minds attribute the war to politicians. The politicians on both sides went forward because the people pressed them. When the snows of the Alps are piled up, a whisper may pour the avalanche down the mountain side. If our race had been wiser, and riper, and greater they might have settled every issue by the arbitration of council. The value of all the Southern slaves was not equal to the blood of one brave soul that perished; but when war became inevitable and arbitrament could not be reached, then the vindication of character was worth the blood of all that perished, and all of us, whether we be Northern or Southern, can stand to-day upon a higher plane and contemplate a grander prospect than if we had deferred or suppressed issues when they demanded settlement.
A LESSON OF COMMERCE.
Commerce was the conquerer: It rose in rebellion against slavery. Commerce is the great nexus of nations—the builder of union, the organizer of empire. It led Columbus to discover America, seeking a short passage to the Indies. Commerce freed America protesting against a tax restriction. The tea thrown into Boston harbor infused multitudinous seas and all the airs of heaven, and drunk in by all nations, fills them with desire for unrestricted commerce. It is battling to-day in Washington. Mountains and rivers and valleys and oceans are the great politicians of the universe. When lawyers said that secession was all legal and well the Mississippi river, the Rocky Mountains, the Alleghenies, the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, the Mississippi Valley sat in session as a supreme court and quashed the plea. Commerce was bailiff and cried come into court. It wanted no custom house between Northern manufactures and Southern markets. It wanted no barrier between the grain fields of the Northwest and the delta of the Mississippi. Not cotton, not slavery, not the Declaration of Independence, not the Constitution, but commerce was king. It wanted the continent for its shop, keeping with freedom to buy and sell at all the bargain counters. Napoleon turned up his lip at the English as a “race of shopkeepers” before Waterloo, and the shopkeepers turned up their lips at him at Waterloo. The British soldiers have been the forerunners of the English merchant all over the world. The drumbeat that follows the sunrise is the summons to business.
The clause in our Federal Constitution giving Congress the power to regulate commerce among the States and foreign nations is the vetebra of that instrument. Like Aaron’s rod it is swallowing up all the others. It was the rod that swallowed up the Confederacy. It is the rod that now is building levees on the Mississippi that it may roll onward unvexed to the sea.
IDEAS OPPOSED TO THE CONFEDERACY.
Gen. Robert E. Lee said: “Judge your enemy from his stand-point if you would be just,” and again, “God disposes, let this satisfy us.” Shall we not rise to this high plane of equity, and to this great confidence in him who orders our being? If great ideas underlay the Confederacy, great ideas also underlay opposition to it, and all the ideas of the times were American. You were defeated because you were outnumbered and overweighed, and because the weight of modern thought brought up the heaviest guns against you. You were not out generaled nor outfought. The tendencies of social movement are (1) to the equality of man, (2) the consolidation of States and interests, (3) the integrity of empire and (4) the assimilations of peoples. The syllogisms of logic and the technicalities of legal pleading take subordinate part in great movements of nations. Great causations underlie all great events and phrases of exposition and argument are the mere state costumes for greater things than they. Nature made a map of a great empire in the territory of the Union. Our rivers flow from the Rocky Mountains on the one side and the Alleghanies on the other inward to the Mississippi Valley. Great oceans sweep around this empire and the Father of Waters flowing through its centre pours its commerce into the Gulf and the great ships bear it to the world. The tides of immigration followed the rivers and poured like them into one great basin and the Mississippi furnished their exit. These tides of immigration, with a race instinct like our own, avoided the South, and moving on shores of Northern latitude, imbibed Northern jealousy of and antagonism to African slavery. Nature is indivisible. Race instinct is imperishable. Slavery was ephemeral. Look up at the stars! There is no band around Orion. There are no boundary lines between the constellations. Nature made here the mold of Union. Destiny fashioned into it the plastic clay. God rules amidst the wrecks and ruins of history. The instincts of men are the tools He works with “God disposes, let this satisfy us.” We abide His decree.
IDENTITIES OF NORTH AND SOUTH AND THEIR MOVEMENTS.
Underneath local policies, individual interests and transient conditions, the war disclosed the strong identities of thought and aspiration and method and custom of the Anglo-American nation. Probe to the bottom of the Northern heart, and white supremacy in fields of labor is found to be its stirring, moving, moral animus. Probe to the bottom of the Southern heart, and white supremacy is found to be its similar animus. Race followed race instinct on both sides of Mason and Dixon’s line. The Northern scions of the white race would have no dark rivals in bleeding Kansas and Nebraska, and no competitors of free labor in the Southern plantations. The Southern scions of the race feared and fought against the rivalry of the black race for political power. The same thought was in both breasts. The political methods were the same. As the American colonies merged into independence through secession from union with the British Empire, so the Southern Confederacy merged into secession from another union with the creeds and words of the fathers upon its lips. As our British ancestors fought against secession when interest prompted; so did the North when interest prompted. When secession was backed by natural influences and strong powers it won. When it came in contact with the natural suggestions and the traditional thirst for union, it lost. But while our forefathers changed the fundamental principles of government and repudiated ancient dynasties and institutions which had nursed their infancy, the South changed neither principles of government nor administrative forms. President and Cabinet and Congress were on one side, and President and Cabinet and Congress on the other. As no two people were more alike, and no two impulses to action more alike; as no two constitutions were more alike, so no two armies were more alike than those which faced each other during the Confederate war. They spoke the same language; they were mainly of the same people and lineage and antecedents; they loved the same institutions; they sought for the most part the same laws; they drilled by the same tactics; they moved by the same evolutions. They had the same organization from the General-in-Chief to the corporal of the guard. They fought pretty much with the same weapons, and, just between you and me, the most of the weapons that the old Confederates had were borrowed from Brother Jonathan—and that, too, behind his back—when he was moving and looking the other way. In their shirt sleeves no man could have told the difference between a Union and a Confederate soldier. It was a family quarrel, between a big brother and a little one, and like most little brothers we got the worst of it.
A LESSON OF LIBERTY.
You have taught a lesson of liberty. The capacity of a people for freedom was never more clearly demonstrated. War is autocratic and monocratic. Government in war runs to despotism. The laws are said to be silent because war generally has but one law—force. Our forefathers won liberty by first abandoning liberty for war. They made Washington a dictator before they made him President, and then had not France plucked the drowning liberty of America by the locks, who knows what story might substitute that of Yorktown?
The Confederate States never stooped to conquer. The proud young republic never condescended to a dictator’s sway. Jefferson Davis never deviated a hair’s breadth from the plum line of a constitutional President. They refused to accept compensation for their slaves from President Lincoln as the price of surrender. This was because it was not a venal war for property, but a spiritual war for the ascendency of principle and the purity of blood. They refused to accept the interference of foreign powers upon the conditions of abolition for the like reason. They died with heads up, budging not an inch from their principles, died in the battle line bleeding with a thousand wounds.
A LESSON OF DEMOCRACY.
You taught a lesson of democracy. The Confederate soldier was the Confederate citizen, a citizen to the edge of battle, a citizen again after battle, a citizen even during the battle. You elected your own officers with voting booths in camps. You had free ballots and fair counts at the cannon’s mouth, pulling lanyards with one hand, casting ballots with the other. Accomplished in the habitudes of free men, you were statesmen with muskets, philosophers wielding sabers, husbandman on horseback. Democrats, Republicans, approving the suffiency of our Demcratic methods and our American institutions for every exigency of war as of peace. Let Kings ponder that war and cease to prate of the necessity of crowns and scepters. Let the war lord of Germany who proclaims the King’s will the supreme law, amid anarchical uprisings and standing armies—let him see how a people can hurl their thunderbolts without war lords and Czars and Emperors, and how they can turn back to home and shop and plow and anvil when war is ended.
Let hereditary aristocracy and corporate monopolists and the barons of gold—let them behold a land that had no aristocrats, but only they who were brave and true counted as the best.
Confederate officer and Confederate soldier were but the testaments of that brotherhood which in honor prefers one another. They ate together, slept together, fought together; the officer led the soldier by the soldier’s command, and the soldier followed, needing no command. Confederates were brothers.
LESSON OF FINANCE.
The war taught a great lesson in finance, and I am candid to say the Northern statesmen, trained to commercial ideas, surpassed the Southern in financial genius. Brother Jonathan always was a keener hand at the game of dollars than Johnny Reb. Finance is an experimental science, not an exact one, and dollars are such delicate and weighty things that nations are too timid to experiment, except under the stress of circumstances. The North invented two things, the national banks and greenback legal tender notes, which supplied them the sinews of war. The South, under a greater stress of circumstances, invented neither an efficient banking system nor a legal tender paper currency. Money is the blood of business. The North poured its blood into the veins of business and conquered. We, the South, perished from financial inanition. The North, by its financial policy, contributed a vast store to the permanent knowledge of mankind.
The Confederacy never made its dollar a legal tender. The Confederate note was an orphan. It soon became an outcast. Nations learn only from experience. Let the future profit by the experience, of the past.
A LESSON OF GENERALSHIP.
The South, I think, surpassed the North in generalship, and it contributed illustration of two great ideas to military science which are also added to the permanent store of knowledge of mankind. First, that cavalry used as mounted riflemen in great bodies are the efficient agencies of great campaigns. Stuart, Hampton, Forrest, Ashby, Morgan, Shelby and Wheeler proved themselves not only great generals upon the field of battle, but great in the larger sense, that they developed the use of great bodies of horsemen as mounted infantry in a more efficient manner than ever used before.
The greatest cavalry battles of the war were Brandy Station, June 9, 1863, where Stuart met Pleasanton. At its close Pleasanton retired, beyond the Rappahannock, and Trevelyan’s in June, 1864, where Hampton with 5000 troopers, bore against Sheridan with 8000, and at its close Sheridan retired to the White House, giving Hampton “right of way.”
Stuart, the flower of cavaliers, fell at Yellow Tavern, and a nation wept to hear that “Harry Hotspur’s spur was cold.” His soul was wafted heavenward upon the sacred accents of that hymn, “Rock of ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in thee.”
Forrest, the “Wizard of the Saddle,” oh, what genius was in that wonderful man! He felt the field as Blind Tom touches the keys of a piano. “War means killing,” he said, “and the way to kill is to get the most thar first.” There is military’ science—Napoleon, Stonewall, Lee and Jomini, in a nutshell. He was not taught at West Point, but he gave lessons to West Point.
Morgan and Ashby alike died while their swords were bright. Hampton, thank God, lives yet and the day will never come when the heart of the Southron shall not thrill to the sound of that glorious name. Patriot, lofty-minded as any Senator of old Rome. Statesman pure and just, serene and wise. Soldier and gentleman—every inch a hero.
Murat and Ney, splendid soldiers as they were, are not the models that the world will hereafter copy. The cavalrymen of the future will pattern after Stuart, Hampton and Ashby, of the Army of Northern Virginia, and after Morgan, Wheeler, and Forrest the Wizard of the West.
The genius of Lee, a combination of that of Stonewall Jackson and of Wellington and Marlborough in one, developed the power of flank attack and of field defense alike. That great commander leaves three campaigns as marvels of accomplishment and models for study:
1. At Second Manassas, he divided his army and surrounded Pope with far fewer numbers, mystified him, confused him, blind folded, and then concentrated, assailed and defeated him.
2. At Chancellorsville he divided an army which was less than half that in numbers of his adversary, marched one portion of it as if in grand review down the battle front of that adversary and assailed him flank and rear, and drove him back across the Rappahannock.
3. The next year he began a battle eleven months long, commencing on the 5th, day of May, 1864, and lying breast to breast with his enemy until April 9, 1865, succumbed only when he had worn himself out beating back his fourfold foe. He has left in the landmarks of our history the map of campaigns which every student of military science hereafter will peruse with startled and lasting admiration and instruction. Joseph E. Johnston from Dalton to Atlanta drew a companion piece for this battle picture worthy of association with it. Beauregard, the famous engineer of Charleston, the splendid field officer of Manassas, facing his army from front to rear and swinging from right to left with ready aptitude, proved that the leader of American soldiers who has the most confidence in their ability to meet occasions sudden, is the best reader of their character and the truest interpreter of the art of war. I might prolong those scenes and multiply these glorious names, but a glimpse of greatness is all that time permits.
The genius of Stonewall Jackson demonstrated the power of infantry to march no less rapidly than cavalry, and that flank and rear attacks are the most powerful methods of grand tactics. Jubal A. Early, who succeeded Jackson, and who from Cold Harbor to Washington made the greatest march of the whole Civil War, underscored the lesson which Jackson taught; and lost only when four to one combated him, and his enemy’s cavalry alone outnumbered his entire force.
Gordon—field marshal grand in battle—who started lieutenant and ended Lieutenant General, showed that the General and the soldier are like the poet, born, not made.
Albert Sidney Johnston—alas! the bright sun but peeped over the hills to light the landscape—and then bathing the world in glory, found Shiloh alike its rising and setting scene.
NO DECISIVE BATTLE.
Our war was marked in this: it had no decisive battle during its progress, and it was not ended by a decisive battle Wolfe won Canada from Montcalm at one blow, on the heights of Abraham. Washington destroyed Cornwallis at Yorktown. Waterloo ended Napoleon. Solferino ended the Franco-Italian war of 1859. Sadowa concluded the Prusso-Austrian war of 1866. Sedan was the finale of Napoleon III. But there was no Quebec, Yorktown, Solferino, Sadowa, Sedan or Waterloo in all the battles of our Civil War.
Gettysburg has been regarded like
“Flodden’s fatal field,
Where shivered was fair Scotland’s spear
and broken was her shield.”
And I have myself spoken of it on another occasion as decisive in certain sense. It proved our inability, at our highest degree of efficiency, to defeat the North in the North; and from its date the Confederacy declined. Its influences may have been indirectly and remotely decisive; but in itself it was not. You know, for many of you were there, that after it was over the army stood defiant in battle array on the hill tops, from which it had descended to the charge. Never did Early’s division, to which many of you and I belonged, seem grander to me than that 4th day of July, when it stood in line on the edge of the valley of the shadow of death, where lay the stricken of the lost fight.
Do you remember how Gordon brought up the rear guard and turned back to give a parting blow? Do you not remember how anxious the boys were for Meade to attack? They blame him sometimes in the North for not advancing. But Meade knew his business that day, and knew “his man.” Did you ever see “the boys” in higher spirits, or keener for a fight, than when they slowly receded, covering the retreat of Lee—acting as the rear guard of Gettysburg? Don’t you remember how eagerly they hurried back to slap in the face the audacious fellows who trod too swiftly on their heels; and how grim and fierce they looked when, at Hagarstown, they were put in line and Meade was feeling them? They undoubtedly felt to him like “quills of the fretful porcupine. But he felt with a gentle and gingerly touch, and when they quietly recrossed the swollen Potomac he seemed to say: “Go—and joy go with you.”
And do you not remember Lee, how he looked on that day, on the retreat, as our ranks opened for the handful of Pickett’s men to pass—how he stood with his hat off, saluting that little band clustered under its shredded flags, looking as if the world lay conquered at his feet? Verily, the man who never saw Robert E. Lee, I think, missed seeing the greatest of God’s creation—a man on whom “every god did seem to set his seal to give the world assurance of a man.”
A LESSON OF RACE COURAGE.
The war taught a lesson of race courage. “The Yankees won’t fight,” some one remarked at the outset. I have never been able to discover the man that said it. He “vamoosed the ranch” the first shot. That was a good story Gen. Robert Toombs told on this subject. He had met a fellow during enlisting time who was cutting up terribly, brandishing words and weapons, and swearing he could whip and eat ten Yankees. He met him again at Gaine’s Mills when the conflict was raging and shells, with that peculiar “Whar is you?” sound, were falling thick and fast and shrieking through the air. This time the gentleman had got under the hill and was hugging the ground with vast tenacity. “Hello!” said Gen. Toombs, “is that you, Jim? I thought I beard you say some time ago you could eat ten Yanks?” “Well, so I did, General, but it seems to me there’s a million of them here, and you don’t take me for a glutton, do you?”
Well, the Yanks did fight—well and bravely; and when they got licked they came back again and kept on fighting, and the next war that comes along will find no encouragement in any argument based on the suggestion that “the Yanks won’t fight.” At the same time, it is true that if the old Confederate did not beat ten, he made it awful hot for four apiece for four years—and was only himself out done when the army, as Gordon said, was “fought to a frazzle.” The North said at the begining these Southern fire eaters are dashing but they haven’t the sturdy staying qualities—they haven’t the British bull dog tenacity—the cold enduring blood. All this sort of talk soon died out. For staying quality, what soldiers of ancient or modern times ever surpssed the old Confederate whether of the East or the West
SWORD AND BAYONET.
The war proved that the bayonet and sabre are terrible tools, but their terrors are for the most part in the imagination. They look dreadful, especially when pointed toward you by a fellow with fire in his eye, who is coming your way at double-quick or a gallop. Out of 246,712 wounded men treated on the Union side in the war but 922 were hurt by sabre or bayonet. I never saw a single man stuck by a bayonet, and never knew personally but one who was struck, and that was Lieut. Orr, Adjutant of the Sixth Louisiana Regiment, who was the first to leap over the ramparts of Fort Jackson, at Winchester, in June, 1863.
WHAT HISTORY WILL SAY OF THE CONFEDERATE ARMIES.
History will say of the Confederate armies that never in all time did so few stand up so bravely against so many. Some visionary is now contending that there were a million and a half men in the Confederate armies. Facts in general, and facts specifically, contradict this absurd pretension. The Confederate Generals concentrated so rapidly, and the old Confederates’ legs were so highly educated to the forced march, that they counted him two or three times.
Of the thirty-four States and Territories of the United States only eleven States seceded. Their men of military age—that is, eighteen and forty-five years—numbered, 1,064,193, inclusive of lame, halt and blind, while on the Union side the same class numbered 4,559,872, over 4 to 1.
The border States gave to the South 19,000 men, but these were offset by 89,009 which the seceding States gave to the Union armies.
“According to the best authorities,” says Lieut. Col. Fox, of the United States army, in his book, “Regimental Losses in the Civil War,” according to the best authorities the aggregate enrollment of the Confederate armies during the whole war numbered over 600,000 men, of whom not over 400,000 were enrolled at any time.” This accords with the statement of Gen. Samuel Cooper, the Confederate Adjutant General. To oppose them was an aggregate enrollment of 2,865,028 men, but there being many persons who enlisted twice this extensive number of enlistments is reduced to 2,236,168 persons—nearly 4 to 1.
Counting the border States of Kentucky, Missouri and Maryland, which gave 231,509 soldiers to the Union, West Virginia, which gave 32,068, and Tennessee, which gave 31,092, and the rest of the Southern States, which gave 21,755, it is a fact that the South itself—the slave States—gave 316,424, half as many soldiers to the United States as constituted the active Confederate army.
New York, with 448,850, and Pennsylvania, with 337,936 Union soldiers, aggregated 786,786, and together outnumbered the Confederate armies.
Illinois, with 259,092, Ohio, with 313,180, and Indiana, with 196,363, aggregated 768,635, and outnumbered the Confederate armies.
New England, with 363,162, and the Union soldiers of the slave States, 316,424, outnumbered the Confederate armies.
The States west of the Mississippi, exclusive of Missouri and other Southern States, enlisted 309,563; Delaware, New Jersey and the District of Columbia, 105,632, and the colored troops enlisted in the Southern States, and not before counted were 99,337, an aggregate of 514,532.
These facts, taken from the war records, show that there were four Union armies in the field, each of which was as large as the entire Confederate army.
Never was such prolonged and desperate fighting done by the same men. The Light Brigade in the famous charge of Balaklava, which has sounded over the world, carried in 673 officers and men and lost 113 killed and 134 wounded; total 247, or 36.7 per cent. This pales before many exploits of both Union and Confederate troops, of which we have scarcely heard. I have a list of seventy-three Federal regiments which lost over 50 per cent in particular battles. The heaviest loss during the whole Franco-German war was that of the Third Westphalian Regiment at Mars-la-Tour, which lost 49 per cent.
Over fifty Confederate regiments lost over fifty to the hundred in different battles. The First Texas, at Antietam, 82.3 per cent; the Twenty-first Georgia, at Manassas, 76; the Twenty-sixth North Carolina, at Gettysburg, 71; the Sixth Massachusetts, at Shiloh, 70; the Eighth Tennessee, at Stone River, 68; the Seventeenth South Carolina, at Manassas, 66; the First Alabama Battalion, at Chickamauga, 64; the Fifteenth Virginia, at Antietam, 58; the Sixth Alabama, at Seven Pines, led by your gallant commander-in-chief, Gen. Gordon, lost two-thirds of its men in that action.
The total loss in killed or died of wounds of the Germans in the Franco-German war was 3.1 per cent: that of the Austrians in the war of 1866, 2.6 per cent; that of the Allies in the Crimea, 3.2 per cent. But in our war the Federals lost 4.7 and the Confederates over 9 per cent, the largest proportion of any modern army that fell around its standards.
In numbers the Federal loss was 67,058 killed and 43,012 died of wounds; total, 110,070. Of the Confederates the like total was 74,524. Borodino was, since the discovery of gunpowder, the bloodiest battle of modern times, as the historians state, but not so bloody as Gettysburg in proportion to the numbers engaged.
THE CONFEDERATE SOLDIER IN HISTORY.
Whatever else mankind may say of the Southern Confederacy, its movement, its aspirations, its deeds—history spoke its unalterable decree respecting the Confederate soldier while yet the field was red. Your comrades have covered you with tokens of their faith in you, of their love and veneration for you. Matron and maid, sire and son, old and young, have said to you, “well done.” The outside world, who knew you only by your deeds, have said, “well done.” Your foes that were have been just to your valor and generous in expressions. Glory has wrapped you in its arms and bound your brows with wreaths as green as the leaves of your magnolia trees and as fragrant as their blooms. The Confederate soldier is honored because he made it manifest that he was honest and honorable and true and brave.
The strongest instinct I see in nature is the moral instinct, the thirst for truth, the passion for justice. Truth sticks and stays and tongues and grooves with all things, and truth has stood by you and spoken for you. You were not soldiers of conquest. You did not seek to add an acre to your empire. You were not soldiers of greed; your month’s pay scarce bought a dinner. You were not soldiers of ambition; titles did not dance in your vision. You were soldiers of a principle, and that principle the right of a people to make government to suit themselves, and pursue happiness to suit themselves; to create their own temple of liberty and to worship therein the god of their own conscience. If the principle be wrong your education was wrong and the Declaration of Independence was not an immortal truth, but only a special plea. You were soldiers of home, for the well-being of home. Napoleon said to his soldiers, “Behold Italy! Conquer and take the spoils.” Your General said, “Behold home! Defend it.” Let who will, say you erred; it is his privilege to think so and to say so. Thought is free; speech is free, but this remains: you were true to principle as you conceived it, true to home as you loved it; true to manhood as you possessed it, and the everlasting verities of nature envelop you in armor bright as the burnished steel, and stronger.
General Joseph Hooker said of the
ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA.
“That army has by discipline alone acquired a character for steadiness and efficiency unsurpassed, in my judgment, in ancient or modern times. We have not been able to rival it, nor has there been any approximate to it in the other rebel army.” (First volume Conduct of the War, page 113.)
Gen. Henry J. Hunt, who commanded the Federal Artillery at Malvern Hill and Gettysburg, closes his account of the third day’s battle at Gettysburg with these words, as to the Confederates who fought it: “Right gallantly did they act their part, and their failure carried no discredit with it. Their military honor was not tarnished by their defeat nor their spirit lowered, but their respect for their opponents was restored to what it had been before Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville.”
Gen. Grant in his “Memoirs,” thus speaks of his meeting with Gen. Lee at Appomattox: “What Gen. Lee’s feelings were I do not know. Whatever his feelings they were entirely concealed from our observation, but my own feelings, which had been quite jubilant on the receipt of his letter, were sad and depressed. I felt like anything rather than rejoicing at the downfall of a foe who had fought so long and valiantly, and had suffered so much for a cause though that cause was, I believe, one of the worst for which a people ever fought and one for which there was the least excuse. * * * When Lee and I separated he went back to his lines and I returned to the house of Mr. McLean. Here the officers of both armies came in great numbers and seemed to enjoy the meeting as much as though they had been friends separated for a long time while fighting battles under the same flag. For the time being it looked very much as if all thought of the war had escaped their minds.”
THE RIGHT SPIRIT.
These are generous words, written in the true spirit of an American soldier. No good is done by belittling our brave foes of other days; and I am proud to be of the same race and country as the soldiers who thus fraternized while the bloody dew of battle was on the field; of the soldiers who fell before the fires of Marye’s Heights and Cold Harbor, and climbed the heights of Missionary Ridge. There is something noble and touching in the way the old warriors met and treated each other. When Gen. Richard Taylor met Gen. Canby at the last surrender the Federal band played “Hail Columbia:” Gen. Canby retired a moment, “Hail Columbia” ceased and “Dixie” burst upon the ear. “No gentler courtesy,” says Gen. Taylor, “has been recorded since Froissart’s time.” When the guns were allotted for a salute of victory at Appomattox, Gen. Grant said to a member of his staff; “Stop those guns! It has taken us four years to capture those 8000 men—let no salute be fired.” Gen. Meade and Gen. Lee met after the surrender. “Gen. Meade,” remarked Gen. Lee, “you are getting a little gray, are you not?” “It is not the work of years,” replied Gen. Meade, “it is you, Gen. Lee, who have made me gray.”
THE ACHIEVEMENTS OF THE SOUTH SINCE THE WAR.
If you did great things under the flag of the Southern cross you and yours have done still greater things under the old flag that your fathers helped to make illustrious in the brave days of yore.
Uprising from the grave of the old South—uprising from financial failure, from battle failure, from independence failure, from institutional failure—from every manner of failure but heart failure, rose the New South, her chastened face pale with suffering, but illumined with sublime hope and resolution.
What a scene was there in all the land from 1865 until reconstruction was ended. From Virginia to Texas all of the eleven States lay stricken in a seething caldron of rain and corruption over which
“Chaos umpire sat
And by decision more embroiled the fray.”
Character and intelligence disfranchised. The bottom rail on top. The slave become master. The carpet-bagger going about, not a roaring lion, but like a sneaking hyena, ravaging the land, crunching the bones of the dead. Public office the opportunity for plunder. Penitentiaries and capitols undistinguishable by their inmates. Good faith a ribald jest. The middle ages squatted down on the nineteenth century. Tragedy and comedy played the antics of frenzy. Taxation the instrument of robbery. Governors, judges, legislators, commissioned robbers under the prostituted great seal of the people. Corporals of the guard in Legislative chambers. Cannons and sergeants at the polls. The official coterie—one vast Mardi Gras of the imps of darkness—government a mixture of sheol, hades, hell fire, the black death and pandemonium.
With indignant stroke the New South shook off the incubus and stamped it under foot. Up from the black deluge—as peak by peak the mountains stood forth when the water of the flood abated—rose State by State, until from old Virginia to Texas the American of the South stood conqueror on the land of conquest—a free man rejoicing—and the South was glad; and the North was glad, and the world was glad, and the morning stars sang together over the bans of the new Union over the birth of the New America, over the latest and the grandest triumph of the Anglo-Saxon-American race. The generation that had fought and lost in the civil war had well-nigh fulfilled the text of the Anglo-Saxon Bible that the, father shall transmit to his son the heritage of liberty undiminished.
It was the victory of civilization.
It was the victory of Christianity.
It was the victory of republican institutions.
It was the victory of all America.
It was the victory of the race that is destined first to dominate this continent, and then to rule the globe, making its language the base of human language, making its institutions the institutions of mankind, making its freedom the benison of the world.
Lee at Washington College is to me a sublimer spectacle than Lee at Gettysburg.
Davis vindicating the honor of his people with his latest breath is as grand as the renowned President at Richmond.
And our friend, Gen. Kirby Smith here, teaching the youth of the South is no less admirable than the gallant General who fell riding to the rescue at Manassas.
Old Confederates all along the line won laurels brighter than those of war. Kemper and Withers, in Virginia; Ransom, Vance and Scales, in North Carolina; Hampton and Butler, in South Carolina; Gordon and Colquitt, in Georgia; Perry, in Florida; Morgan, Forney and Wheeler, in Alabama; Lamar, George, Walthall and Hooker, in Mississippi; Berry and Jones, in Arkansas: your one-armed and one-legged hero, Nicholls, and Gibson, in Louisiana; Coke, Reagan and Mills, in Texas; Faulkner and Kenna, in West Virginia; Blackburn and Buckner, in Kentucky; Cockerill, Marmaduke and Vest, in Missouri. These and hundreds like them—I but take the names “that come uppermost”—won back the lustre of the stars that shine for their States on the flag of the Union.
Before coming from Washington I took a glance at the Senate. There are eleven of the States which seceded entitled to representation there, and these would have twenty-two Senators present. On the first bench are seven Confederate brigadiers, and, all told, twenty-three Confederate soldiers; so they have a full quota and a little more, being reinforced from non-seceding States by ex-Confederate soldiers.
The scene bespeaks the magnanimous sentiments and the liberal policy of this great republic, which is no place for little policies and little men:—and it bespeaks as well the fidelity of the South to those who fought for it.
GENEROUS MEN OF THE NORTH.
Nor will we forget the brave, true, noble men of the North who helped us—who were Union soldiers with us in this new strife for the purity of our Constitution, for the purity of our race, for the virtue of our reunited Union.
First among the men who have shown their generous sentiment was Greeley. Yes, Horace Greeley, when he put his name upon the bond that set Jefferson Davis free—that stroke of his pen wiped out forever every ill thought I ever had against him. Then there were Seymour, Cox and Tilden; of New York, Adams and Winthrop of Massachusetts, McClellan and Randolph of New Jersey, Black and Randall of Pennsylvania, Bayard of Delaware, Voorhees of Indiana, Thurman of Ohio, Blair of Missouri; these and thousands like them—thousands of whole-hearted, true-hearted Americans, helped us, without whose help our work had all been vain. And second to none reckon I him—Hancock of America—the American soldier, the American citizen, the American statesman, the intrepid champion of our oppressed people and of our reunited land, who here uttered the words which made him one of the immortals.
And now I am done. I came from old Virginia, where were fought so many battles, whose very dust is quick with your heroic blood, to have the pleasure of looking again upon your faces, of shaking once more your hands, and to stimulate myself for the remaining battles of life by quaffing of the noble spirit of this reunion in your society. We owe it to ourselves and our children, to justice and to truth, that the sacrifices made, the glorious deeds done, and the great names of our history shall not perish from earth, but be handed down as an heritage to our race, our children and to mankind.
MONUMENT TO JEFFERSON DAVIS.
And, first, it seems to me fit to build a monument to him, the foremost Confederate—to Jefferson Davis, our civil magistrate, our commander-in-chief—who is buried in New Orleans, the city which he loved and in which he died, but whom we hope will soon be removed to the city around which rolled so many waves of battle, which was the capital of the Confederacy, and which fell only when our armies were worn out, and the cause was lost.
Let there be reared no unmeaning shaft but a temple, in which his own figure shall be the central object, and around which shall be grouped the heroic relics of the battles of the Confederacy and the pictured faces and the sculptred forms of the great and true and brave men who fought them. This is not yet accomplished, but I hope to see the movement grow until that temple shall stand—the Battle Abbey of the South—the undying memorial of the people who fought their own battles, in their own way, for their own liberty as they conceived it, for their own independence as they desired it, and who need give to the world no other reason why.
OLD COMRADES, FAREWELL.
We may never meet again. God bless you! May you bear ever with you the guerdon of Lee’s words. “The consciousness of duty faithfully performed.” Gently may you glide adown the stream of time, and when life is ended may you rest in peace and honor in the land you loved so well.
[NOTE.—The orator was greeted by applause (loud and long) at the conclusion of nearly every sentence of this grand oration, and it was so frequent that notice is omitted at points where it occurred in the body of the oration, as it would mar its beauty, and interfere with its reading.
[NOTE.—As this publication is only intended to give a history of the official proceedings of the Reunion; no attempt is made to give a description of the distinguished audience of noble men and beautiful women, the notable gathering on the stage of the surviving Generals of the “Lost Cause,” the scene of enchantment as the lovely daughters of the Southern States, moved forward with their bannerets, nor of all the admirable arrangements at the French Opera House, where the oration by Senator Daniel was delivered. This belongs more properly to the duties and report of the Local Committee of Arrangements, whose chairman Col, Chas. G. Johnson, is entitled to the highest credit, as he displayed exquisite taste in all his conceptions and the greatest ability in the perfection of all of his arrangements, and was ably seconded in all the details, and execution of his plans by Col. A. A. Maginnis, and Col. Thos. L. Macon.