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[215] Virginia, it becomes my pleasing duty to accept from your hands this handsome tomb and sculptured shaft, designed to perpetuate the memory of those who fought and fell for the Lost Cause, and at the same time a fitting place of rest for those who must soon follow.

Most of your old comrades are scattered over the battle fields of Virginia, from Manassas to Appomattox, sleeping quietly on its mountains and in its valleys. Some you left on the banks of the James river, the Chickahominy, the Rappahannock, the Shenandoah and the Potomac; many in places long since forgotten, with nothing left to mark the spot, except perhaps, in some lonely place in that beautiful valley of the Shenandoah, under the shadow of the Blue Ridge, Nature's kind hand may have planted in spring time a lily, pure and white as angel's hands, which stands as a sentinel drinking dews from heaven, and bowing its head in grief at night to kiss the spot, and with the first greeting of the morning sun, leaves its dew-drop tears on the unknown soldier's grave.

You have nobly performed the task assigned you by your companions in arms, and this grand mausoleum, surmounted by that life-like statue of our immortal commander, is now the mute witness of your untiring labors.

When we shall have run our course in life, and our bodies lie mouldering in mother earth, beneath the shadows of this noble monument, our children, and our children's children will revisit this sacred spot to learn a new lesson of patriotism from those who offered up their lives, a precious sacrifice, on Freedom's bleeding altar.

Strangers from other lands will pause here and recall the scenes of that memorable struggle of four years, in which you bore so prominent a part.

The first rays of the morning sunlight, and the last gleam of evening will linger around yon silent, solitary sentinel, and in the still, quiet watches of the night, when the pale moon's beams fall upon the dreamless sleepers here, the spirit of the great Stonewall, loosened for a while from the prison-house of the faithful departed, will wander forth to guard the noble band of martyrs who are slumbering here in peace. Yes, comrades--

The dead shall guard the dead,
     While the living o'er them weep;
And the men whom Lee and Stonewall led,
     The hearts that once together bled,
Shall here together sleep.

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Fitzhugh Lee (1)
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