Empire, that “ Heaven is on the side of the bigger battalions?” Do you forget, again, that in the American struggle everything that was personally great and noble was to be found almost exclusively on the Southern side? The North produced no gentleman and chevalier worthy to be named in the same day with him who led so long the splendid chivalry of Virginia and the Carolinas, and before whom, on every occasion, the Northern cavalry (often the Northern infantry) were scattered like chaff before the wind. The Unionists had no twenty statesmen whose combined moral and intellectual powers would have reached the level of President Davis; indeed, the comparative quality of the two nations could hardly be better illustrated than by contrasting the Mississippi soldier and gentleman chosen to rule the ‘rebels’ with the “rail-splitter” representative of the “legitimate” democracy, whose term, had he died in his bed four or five years later, would have been remembered only as marking the nadis of American political decline; the culmination of the vulgarity, moral as well as formal, of the unworthiness and ignobleness that had so long dishonored more and more deeply the chair of Washington. Lincoln's uncleanness of language and thought would hardly have been tolerated in a Southern “ bar.” Or, again, take the favorites of the North--the best known names in the camp and Cabinet — Sheridan and Hunter, whose ravages recall the devastation of the Palatinate, political rowdies like Banks and Butler, braggarts like Pope and Hooker, or even professional soldiers like Meade, Sigel, Sherman. These are the ‘household words’ of the North, and any one Southern chief of the second rank — Ewell, Early, Fitzhugh Lee, Hardee, Polk, Hampton, Gilmer, Gordon — alone outweighs them all. Needless to remind you that among the ‘twenty millions--mostly fools’--was no man whom even party spirit dared liken to the stern, simple Virginia professor, the Cavalier-Puritan, whose brigade of recruits stood “like a stone wall” under the convergent fire of artillery and rifles that was closing round them at Mannassas; no A. P. Hill, second only to Jackson among the lieutenants of Lee; no strategist comparable to him whose death by simple self-neglect marred the victory of Corinth, or his namesake, who baffled so long the threefold force of Sherman in the Georgia campaign. Rivers, railways and brute numbers only enabled the Federal power not to conquer, but to exhaust, on fifty battlefields, nearly all disastrous and disgraceful to the Union, the flower of that “incomparable Southern infantry,” whose superiority is acknowledged in these very words by one of the bitterest of Northern historians. Washington himself cannot sustain as soldier, statesman or citizen a comparison with the last and greatest of the long list of Virginia heroes.
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