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[30] South, reluctance in fighting its battles. It was the base suggestion of cowardly demnogogues, who avoided the fields where Confederate laurels were being won, and sought to stop the war before public opinion would compel them to fight.

They hoped to influence the people of the States to withdraw their armies, and cared not though they should leave the men abandoned on the fields who were winning honors for the South that more than compensated all their sufferings.

This false accusation maligns the true people of the South. It perverts that living truth, which shines like a star in the night of error, that the Southern soldier took up arms for no other motive and for no other inducement than to defend a country that he loved, and a cause that commanded the unbought allegiance of his heart.

No men have ever exhibited, in their faithful service and fortitude, a higher degree of proof that their hearts were in a cause than those who were called the “poor men of the South.” They were in no respect poor, though by comparison with others they were not rich in the things which save men from honest toil.

In spirit, independence, honest self-appreciation, in their lineage, and in proud exaltation of sentiment they had riches, inherited from their fathers, which the people of America have valued as above all price.

In the heraldry of their lineage, the wars of the Revolution, the war of 1812, and the war with Mexico are inscribed as the events which sealed the patents of their nobility.

I am proud, my countrymen, to adopt for you that title-“the poor men of the South” --which, though applied by those who knew you not as a badge of your inferiority and poverty of spirit, is yet the highest proof that your “glory which the world cannot take away” was earned in a struggle that involved honor, justice and liberty only, and in which you had neither gold nor slaves to protect, to gain, or to lose.

Could your traducers have seen you when you left your homes, and when you returned after the war, they would scarcely believe that you had been compelled to take up arms by a power you could not resist.

When you left your humble but loved homes, where virtue and contentment had made your lives so happy, your sinking, saddened heart was lifted up and your soul was strengthened when you saw the stars of hope glittering in the tears that were shed by your wife as she gave you to God and your country, as they had given you to her. Her clinging arms almost refused to yield you to the battle's fury, but she would not ask you to stay. The familiar fields where you had toiled in peace through many years and the sentinel forests standing around were the last witnesses of your grief at the parting.

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