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[546] glow will light up familiar scenes to you, because once again in imagination you will see the fiery hoof of battle plunged into the red earth of Virginia's soil. I approach it, as was said by the sage of Monticello, in his famous inaugural, “with those anxious and awful presentiments which the greatness of the charge and the weakness of my powers so justly inspire, and I humble myself before the magnitude of the undertaking.” Soldiers, your committee requested that I should present to your consideration, a field of conflict which brings before the military student as high a type of an offensive battle as ever adorned the pages of history. The military wisdom of those directing the tactical and strategical manoeuvres upon the Confederate side, was equaled only by the valor of the troops entrusted with the execution. Aye, the heart of the Southron of to-day will beat with lofty pride, his cheek will mantle with crimson consciousness, and the eyes of his children's children, yet unborn, will flash with inherited fire, as is seen the splendid laurel wreath which fame hangs upon the Confederate colors, fluttering so victoriously to the breeze in those early days of May, 1863, when the “stem of the willow shoots out a green feather, and butter cups burn in the grass.”

For giants were wrestling there, for victory upon the gory ground of Chancellorsville. To understand clearly the combination which resulted in this success to the Confederate arms, go over with me, as briefly as possible, the immediate preceding events.

When the sun of September 17th, 1862, with the mellow splendor of autumn, had gone down beneath the horizon, 35,000 Southern soldiers, living and dead, slept upon the field of Sharpsburg — some waiting for to-morrow's conflict, others resting where they wearied, and lying where they fell. They had successfully withstood the assaults of the Federal army, numbering in action, according to McClellan's report, 87,164. On the 19th the Army of Northern Virginia recrossed the Potomac, and for weeks its encampments whitened the charming region of the lower Valley. Nineteen days after the battle, Mr. Lincoln, President of the United States, ordered McClellan to cross the Potomac and give battle to the enemy or drive them south. On the 10th October, four days after the date of that order, the dashing commander of the Confederate horse, J. E. B. Stuart, led his cavalry back into Maryland, and riding around both flanks and rear, made a complete circuit of McClellan's army, possibly to inquire why Lincon's orders were not obeyed.

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