odds, but is it not rather more to his credit that he counted all else as dust in the balance when weighed with honor and duty? On many a stricken field our soldiers stood few and faint, but fearless still, for they wore the panoply of unquestioning confidence in the rectitude of their cause, and knew how to die but not to surrender. Let not any of their survivors impugn their faith by offering the penitential plea that “they believed they were right..” It is meet that this monument should have originated with the ladies of the land, whose self-denial was conspicuous through all the tri'als and sufferings of war, whose gentle ministrations in the hospitals and at the wayside refectories so largely contributed to relieve the sick and the wounded, and whose unfaltering devotion to their country's cause in the darkest hours of our struggle illustrated the fidelity of the sex which was last at the cross and first at the sepulchre. I am profoundly thankful to them for inviting me to represent them as their orator on the approaching occasion. Had it been practicable to accept, their request would have been to me a command, obeyed with no other reluctance than the consciousness of inability to do justice to the theme. Thanks to the merits of our Confederate dead, they need neither orator nor bard to commend their deeds to the present generation of their countrymen. Many fell far from home and kindred, and sleep in unmarked graves, but all are gathered in the love of those for whom they died, and their memories are hallowed in the hearts of all true Confederates. By the pious efforts of our people many humble cemeteries — such as, in their impoverishment, were possible — have been prepared, and the Confederate dead have been collected in them from neighboring battlefields. There annually, with reverential affection, the graves alike of the known and unknown are decked with vernal flowers, expressive of gratitude renewable forever, and typical of the hope of a resurrection and reunion “where the wicked cease from troubling and the weary are at rest.” To be remembered, honored, beloved by their people, is the reward bestowed on our Confederate dead. It is the highest which a good and purely patriotic man could desire. Should it be asked, Why, then, build this monument? the answer is, They do not need it, but posterity may. It is not their reward, but our debt. If the greatest gift a hero gives his race is to have been a hero in order that this gift may be utilized to coming generations, its appreciation by cotemporaries should be rendered as visible and enduring as possible. Let the monument, rising from earth toward heaven, lift the minds of those who come after us to a higher standard than the common test of success. Let it teach that man is born for duty, not for expediency; that when an attack is made on the community to which he belongs, by which he is protected, and to which his allegiance is due, his first obligation is to defend that community; and that under such conditions it is better to have “fought and lost than never to have fought at all.” Let posterity learn by this monument that you commemorate men who died in a defensive war; that they did not, as has been idly stated, submit to the arbitrament of arms the questions at issue-questions which involved the inalienable rights inherited from their ancestors and held in trust for their posterity; but that they strove to maintain the State sovereignty which their fathers left them, and which it was their duty, if possible, to transmit to their children. Away, then, with such feeble excuses for the abandonment of principles which may be crushed for awhile, but which, possessing the eternal vitality of truth, must in its own good time prevail over perishable error.
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Fifth annual meeting of the Southern Historical Society , October 31st ., 1877 .
Address of General John T. Morgan , U. S. Senator from Alabama .
Fifth annual report of the Executive Committee of the Southern Historical Society , for year Ending October 31st , 1877 .
Leading Confederates on the battle of Gettysburg .
General James Longstreet 's account of the campaign and battle.
Our Gettysburg series.
The true story of the capture of Jefferson Davis .
Letter from Admiral Semmes .
Letter from Colonel William Preston Johnston , late aid to President Davis .
A correction of General Patton Andersons report of the battle of Jonesboro , Ga.
Advance sheets of Reminiscences of secession, war, and reconstruction, by Lieutenant-General Richard Taylor .
Torpedo service in the Harbor and water defences of Charleston .
A review of the First two days operations at Gettysburg and a reply to General Longstreet by General Fitz. Lee .
Letter from General Winfield Hancock .
Letter from John B. Bachelder , Esq.
Letter from General R. Lindsay Walker .
Official report of General W. N. Pendleton , Chief of artillery , A. N. V .
Battle of Murfreesboro .
Letter from President Davis -reply to Mr. Hunter .
Decision of the Supreme Court of Tennessee that the Confederacy was de jure as well as de facto-opinion of Judge Turney .
The bank of Tennessee v. Wm. B. Cummings , Adm'r.
Steuart 's brigade at the battle of Gettysburg .--a narrative by Rev. Randolph H. McKim , D. D. , late First Lieutenant and Aide-de-camp, Confederate army .
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.