Appendix. Oration at West Point.
Oration delivered by General Mcclellan
at West Point
, June 15, 1864, at the dedication of the site of a monument proposed to be erected in memory of the officers of the regular army who shall have fallen in battle during the present war.
All nations have days sacred to the remembrance of joy and of grief.
They have thanksgivings for success, fasting and prayers in the hour of humiliation and defeat, triumphs and paeans to greet the living and laurel-crowned victor.
They have obsequies and eulogies for the warrior slain on the field of battle.
Such is the duty we are to perform to-day.
The poetry, the histories, the orations of antiquity, all resound with the clang of arms; they dwell rather upon rough deeds of war than the gentle arts of peace.
They have preserved to us the names of heroes, and the memory of their deeds, even to this distant day. Our own Old Testament teems with the narrations of the brave actions and heroic deaths of Jewish
patriots, while the New Testament of our meek and suffering Saviour often selects the soldier and his weapons to typify and illustrate religious heroism and duty.
These stories of the actions of the dead have frequently survived, in the lapse of ages, the names of those whose fall was thus commemorated centuries ago. But, although we know not now the names of all the brave men who fought and fell upon the plain of Marathon
, in the pass of Thermopylae
, and on the hills of Palestine
, we have not lost the memory of their examples.
As long as the