previous next

[229] the figures would have been reversed. We want our side of the war so fully and exactly stated, that the men who come after us may compare and do justice in the case.

You all know how utterly unprepared we were when we engaged in the war, without money, without an army, without credit, without arms or ammunition, or factories to make them. We went into the struggle relying solely on brave hearts, strong arms, and, unfortunately many relying on deciding the issue by argument. When they found they were mistaken — that it was the dread ordeal of battle by which the question was to be settled — they shrank not from it, and I do contend their valor was equaled only by the moral of their conduct throughout the struggle. The unanimity of our people and the heroism of our soldiers has caused us to be the admiration of the world. They know the disadvantages under which we fought; they know the great achievements which we did. But there is much that is not known. You may ask the school-boy in the lowest form, who commanded at the Pass of Thermopylae. He can tell you. But my friends there are few in this audience who, if I asked them, could tell me who commanded at Sabine Pass. And yet, that battle of Sabine Pass was more remarkable than the battle of Thermopylae, and when it has orators and poets to celebrate it, will be so esteemed by mankind.

The disparity of numbers was greater, the inequality of arms was greater. When an iron-clad fleet came to pass the Sabine so as to invade the interior of Texas, an Irish Lieutenant, with forty-two men behind a little mud fort, having only field guns for its armament, held them in check. When he asked for instructions he was told he had better retire. But this gallant man said: “We will never retire 1”

[The speaker went on to relate how the Irish Lieutenant, Dowling, had captured two of the war vessels on September 9, 1863, and taken a great number of prisoners.]

It is our duty to keep the memory of our heroes green. Yet they belong not to us alone; they belong to the whole country; they belong to America. And we do not seek to deprive “Americans” of the glory of such heroes as we have produced. Nor were their services rendered in our war those only which claim grateful remembrance. There was pious Jackson, the man, who, when he was waiting for the troops to move up would, under a storm of bullets, be lost in ejaculatory prayer: the man who, when he bent over a wounded comrade, would feel a woman's weakness creep into his eyes: the man who came like a thunderbolt when his friends most needed him, and his enemies least expected his coming, was the same who had marched into the valley of Mexico to sustain the flag of the United States. That man

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.
United States (United States) (2)
Texas (Texas, United States) (1)
Sabine Pass (Texas, United States) (1)
Mexico (Mexico, Mexico) (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.
Irish Lieutenant (1)
Stonewall Jackson (1)
Dowling (1)
Americans (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.
September 9th, 1863 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: