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[131] of Northern Virginia had fought. Their guns were the first to flash for Southern independence, and they were literally the last guns that fired in the defence of Southern liberty. The memories and associations which bind me to this company are very dear indeed. As your old captain has told you, it was one of the first batteries to join my legion, and it was the only company of that legion which, through all the mutations and fortunes and trials of the service, served with me to the close of the great struggle. Would that I had time to tell you what I could of their bravery and heroism! How I have seen those men charge, and how I have seen a boy — a mere boy — as the Federal cavalry charged through their ranks, pull out the sponge-staff with which he was swabbing his gun and strike an enemy from his horse and kill him. When I came to South Carolina the last year of the war, I felt that it was my duty to bring that company to my new field of service. Soon after reaching South Carolina I was placed on duty, and the first thing which I did was to telegraph for Hart's battery. They reported promptly, and came into position at Bentonsville just in time to check the enemy, as they had done on scores of fields before. Thus it is that I can say that their guns were the last guns fired in defence of Southern liberty under Johnston's command, When they heard that the army was to be surrendered, for the first time since their organization they turned their backs upon the enemy — not from an enemy, but from a surrender. I followed them for twenty-five miles before I overtook them. As I have said since, the memory of that scene will forever be indelibly impressed on my heart. As I rode up and the battery was halted by my men, the sun was just gilding the tops of our forest trees — the last sun that ever rose on the Southern Confederacy. I told them that they had been good and brave soldiers; that they had done their whole duty; that no reproach could rest upon them, and that I knew that they would follow me. I told them that they had been surrendered by superior authority, and that it was their duty to remain where they were and obey commands. And when I had spoken thus, the veterans of Hart's battery threw themselves upon their captured guns (for they had no others) and passionately kissing them wept like children.

You cannot imagine, my friends and comrades of the old artillery, how dear you have been to me; and this little flag which has led you through the whole war, I have now the honor to transmit again to your keeping, free from all stain save the honorable scars it has received in battle. I transmit it now to you in a time of peace, and I feel that I have the right to say to you, my old soldiers and you who represent them — not to order you, but, as a father to his children, to appeal to you for the memories of the past — to appeal to you for the sake of all you have done for South Carolina--to appeal to you in the name of your State, to be now good citizens in peace as you were brave and honorable soldiers in war. I see upon this banner the legend, “Right shall make might!” --Right shall make might, my friends. We may not see it here on

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