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[486]

His farewell address.

It has been said that Forrest was uneducated, and this is true; but his ideas, when properly clothed in correct language, were pointed and strong, and he was exceedingly tenacious that his own ideas, and not those of the writer, should be expressed by those who wrote for him. His strong and touching final address to his troops, though shaped by another, was his own creation, and he felt all that the language imported when he said: “Civil war, such as you have just passed through, naturally engenders feelings of animosity, hatred and revenge. It is our duty to divest ourselves of all such feelings, and as far as in our power to do so, to cultivate friendly feelings towards those with whom we have so long contended and heretofore so widely differed. Neighborhood feuds, personal animosities and private differences should be blotted out, and when you return home a manly, straightforward course of conduct will secure the respect even of your enemies. Whatever your responsibilities may be to government, to society, or to individuals, meet them like men. . . . I have never on the field of battle sent you where I was unwilling to go myself, nor would I now advise you to a course which I felt myself unwilling to pursue. You have been good soldiers; you can be good citizens. Obey the laws, preserve your honor, and the government to which you have surrendered can afford to be and will be magnanimous.” Like the cause he loved, he is dead. In coming years, when the bitterness of strife has passed away, when that mystic harp, whose chords connect the graves of the dead with the hearts of the living, shall vibrate the music of a restored Union, and some blind old bard shall sing the praises of American heroes, while eager children listen to their deeds of valor, the story of none will awaken loftier feelings of emulation than--“Forrest — the wizard of the saddle.”


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Jefferson Forrest (2)
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