This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
 their fathers. The American people cannot dishonor themselves by the encouragement or toleration of a feeling so unworthy. These young men have not been taught to hate the Government of the United States, but they have been taught to hold as enemies to their country those who trample upon and spurn its Constitution after having been sworn to defend it. But few of those remain who had passed the meridian of life in 1861. They are tottering along the steep declivities of life, without purse or scrip, looking hopefully to a future here peace is eternal, and feeling that the work of life has been faithfully accomplished. The honor and reverence bestowed upon them by the people of the South compensates them for the privations and hardships which followed the sacrifices they made of all their wealth and influence to the cause that commanded their homage. The soldiers of the Oonfederacy are now, as they have been since 1861, the representative men of the South. Those who would comprehend the people of the South must know them and their children. When I speak of the soldiers of the Confederacy as representative men, I do not mean that they have sought or received recognition as the official exponents of the opinions of the people. Deference to the opinions of their friends in other sections, and a just regard for the policy that was thought to be the wisest in the restoration of peace, confidence and composure to the country, led them to decline any unavoidable part in the public councils. Some politicians in the South also demanded that they should take “back seats,” and they took them cheerfully, until the people required them to come to the front. Neither do I exclude from the honorable title of Confederate soldiers the men and women who devoted themselves, through their sympathies, prayers, labors, sacrifices, and sufferings, and gave their property, comfort, and ceaseless toil to the cause of the Confederacy. The honors of the battle-field won by their soldiers are not a more precious remembrance to the people of the South than the heroic devotion and sufferings of their mothers, sisters, and wives. Whatever may be the judgment of those who yet live amidst the lingering shadows of that great struggle, human nature will never find in the history of all the generations past and to come a higher or more worthy example of patriotism and sacrificial devotion than was furnished us in the conduct of the women of the Confederacy. Woman cannot espouse, with her soul's deepest and truest devotion, a cause that is not just and honorable. If she doubts the cause in which her husband or son suffers or is lost, her bereavement has no bounds, It is misery without consolation. Philosophy, or religion even, affords no balm for the wounded spirit.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.