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[31]

When the lord of the log cabin had passed beyond the view of the lonely watchers at its door a brief prayer was uttered, a quaint musical voice sang the old hymn of faith, “How firm a foundation ye saints of the lord,” and with a deft and busy hand, and a fortitude worthy of an honest mother's faith in God, she turned to her homely duties, and your house was set in order for the war. It would be a sad thought that language cannot convey a just idea of the beauty and excellence of character manifested by these silent, suffering, toiling, trusting, faithful women, if it were not that the great story is reserved for that day when Heaven shall reveal it in its fullness as the fairest chapter in the history of mankind.

The greatest of your trials was to remain in the army, far away from your homes, when you knew that hunger, sickness, and distress in almost every form, were invading them. At long intervals the travel worn letters from home would reach you in the distant camp. In plaintive but uncomplaining narrative your almost martyr wife would tell you how the cattle had been impressed; the horse had been taken from the plow by raiders; the corn had been nearly consumed, and of meat there was none; the children were languishing in sickness, and medicines had even been declared contraband of war; that as she toiled in the hot field by day, and spun by the pine torch at night, rumors would often come that brought the pangs of widowhood and orphanage to the little circle at home; but, thanking God that this calamity had been spared them, she closed with prayer that you might return, a free and independent man, to a country worthy of your citizenship, and to a family proud of your achievements.

Your devotion under such circumstances, which are but a mere glimpse of the trials you endured for years, ought to convince every honorable man that a government which lays a just claim to your allegiance, by securing your rights under its Constitution, will receive in return the most faithful support.

Your children, reared amidst such hardships,,became sadly wise and self-reliant. In facing dangers that might well have appalled the stoutest men, they came to be familiar with them in childhood. They have listened to the fireside traditions of the war from night to night, as related by their fathers and mothers, and weaving them into the woof of their own experiences they understand the war in all its vast and sanguinary history. Not once have they doubted that their fathers fought in a just cause. Not a word of reproach against the Confederate States, its army or its leaders, have they ever heard uttered by any sufferer who fought for its cause.

They are men now, and comprise with yourselves, the essential power of the South.

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