seen their temper and spirit tried in the lagoons and galls of the Edisto
, and their pluck on John's Island, in South Carolina
I have heard the shouts of the Virginia
men when ordered back from South Carolina
to rally again around the altars of home, and heard them raise the slogan of “Old Virginia never tire,” when they pressed forward to open the defile at Nottoway bridge, and rushed to Petersburg
in time twice to save the Cockade City
against odds of more than ten to one.
I have seen them drive through the barricade and cut at Walthall Junction, and storm the lines at Howlett's not for five days only, but for twice five days successive fighting.
I have seen them on the picket lines and in the trenches, throughout all seasons of the year, in heat and cold, day and night, in storm and sunshine, often without food fit to feed brutes, with not enough of that; without half enough of fuel or clothing or blankets; under the almost incessant fire of shot and shell; without forage for transportation and without transportation for forage; scarce of ordnance stores; not supplied with medicines for the hospital; all the time rolling a Sisyphean stone of parapet, and traverse, and breastwork, and bomb-proof, for the want of material for revetment, and for the want of tools to dig out and work up the indispensable lines of defenses.
I have seen their manhood worn by every variety of disease and wounds in the hospital wards.
Starved, half naked, rest broken, I have seen them summoned to stand to or to storm the breach and do it, filling ditches and a crater full of the assailant's dead.
I have seen their brigades blasted by the shock of mines and rise from the debris
and rubbish to repel and conquer the storming enemy.
I have seen them bivouacked on the right of Hatcher's Run
, and on the ever memorable days of the 29th and 31st of March last advance first one, then two, then less than three brigades, on the Military and Boydton
plank-roads, against two corps
, and fight them for hours, and so stagger them that they dared not follow the retreat.
I have seen them on the quick night-march to Church Crossings, and thence hurried to the Namozine, to Flat Creek
, to Big Creek
, to Sailor's Creek
, to the High Bridge
, and to Farmville
, marching and charging, and charging and marching, and starving, but not sleeping nor stopping on the way, but to work or to fight.
And I have seen them fire their last volleys at Appomattox
; and often times in marches, on picket, in the trenches, in camps and in charges I have seen them sad and almost sink, but I never saw their tears
until their beloved commander-in-chief ordered them to surrender their arms.
Then they wept, and many of them broke their trusty weapons!
The blessed and ever glorious dead were not there to surrender, and they