It was common for the Northern
press to represent that “secession leaders” betrayed the people of the South
, and led them unawares and unwilling into “the rebellion,” and many of the so-called “histories” still insist that the “Union” men of the South
were forced against their will into “the revolt.”
Never were a people more misrepresented.
The simple truth is, that after Mr. Lincoln
issued his proclamation, calling for troops to coerce sovereign States, there ceased to be any “Union” party in the South
, and the people of every class and every section prepared for resistance to the bitter end, and forced their leaders
to join the secession movement.
A public sentiment was at once formed, which not only impelled our best men to enter the army, but branded, as a “skulker,” the able-bodied young man who failed to do so. This spirit affected the character of all of the armies of the Confederacy
, and none more than the Army of Northern Virginia.
The colleges of the South
were deserted, and professors and students alike enlisted.
The “learned professions” were suspended, and the office abandoned for the camp.
The hum of the workshop ceased, the plough was left in the furrow, the ledger was left unposted, in many instances the pastor enlisted with the men of his flock, and the delicate sons of luxury vied with the hardy sons of toil in meeting patiently the hardships, privations, and sufferings of the camp, the march, the bivouac, or the battle-field.
I remember that the first time I ever saw the Rockbridge artillery --that famous battery which was attached to the Stonewall Brigade at the first battle of Manassas
, with Rev. Dr.
(afterward General) Pendleton
as its captain — it had as private soldiers in its ranks no less than seven Masters of Arts of the University of Virginia (the highest evidence of real scholarship of any degree conferred by any institution in this country), a large number of graduates of other colleges, and a number of others of the very pick of the young men of the State
, among them a son of General R. E. Lee
, and a score or more of theological students.
Two companies of students of the University of Virginia were mustered into service, and fully nine-tenths of the five hundred and fifty students, who were at the University
that session, promptly entered the Confederate
service-most of them the Army of Northern Virginia--as private soldiers.
When Rev. Dr. Junkin
, of Pennsylvania
, who was then president of Washington College, Lexington, Virginia
, called a meeting of his faculty to devise means of punishing the students for raising a secession flag on the dome of the college, the day after Virginia
seceded, he found the faculty in hearty sympathy with the students;