previous next

The courage of the Confederate soldier.

by Rev. J. B. Hawthorne, D. D.
At the reunion of the Richmond Howitzers, on the 13th of December last, Dr. Hawthorne was called on to respond to the following toast:

The Confederate dead. Their courage was inspired by their convictions of right and their love of country.

He said:

Courage is not peculiar to man. The lion has it; the eagle has it; the serpent has it. In a very limited degree even the worm and the insect have it. Of mere brute courage the savage has more than the civilized man; the drunken man more than the sober man; and the villain more than the virtuous man. Of this courage the army of Grant had more than the army of Lee.

A man who has much of it fights well anywhere. It is a matter of small consequence to him under which flag he fights. In his feelings he knows no country — no East, no West, no North, no South. His voice is simply for war — war anywhere — war for any cause. What did the average immigrant soldier know about “States rights?” What did he know of the history of the controversy which culminated in war? About all he knew, or cared to know was, that he should “fight mit Seigle,” and receive rations and twelve dollars per month for his services. I have heard it said that in the battle of Shiloh there was a company of New Orleans “roughs” who fought the first day with great desperation on the Confederate side, and the second day they fought with equal desperation on the Federal side. It is a real satisfaction to know that this body of our Southern army was so small that it is hardly worthy of mention.

There is a courage inspired by hatred. There are men who go to war with the spleen of dragons in their breasts. They neither fear God nor regard man; they are for blood, ruin, desolation, and at the very jaws of death they will stand and wreak their vengeance. I thank God that of this spirit our dead heroes had none.

There is a bravery inspired by ambition for a leader. One of Napoleon's Old guard had fallen in battle, and while the surgeon was probing near his heart in search of the ball, which had inflicted the mortal wound, the dying hero looked up and said: “Out a little further, doctor, and you will find the Emperor.” He meant that the name of his royal master was graven on his heart. I am proud to say that the people of the South were never hero-worshipers, and that the men who

Creative Commons License
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.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Napoleon (Ohio, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
J. B. Hawthorne (2)
Seigle (1)
Fitzhugh Lee (1)
John A. Grant (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
December 13th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: