to be dishonored.
Thank God, we have such a rallying point in this struggle.
Its very presence in the fight hallows the cause and is an earnest of success.
Every star that blazes in those azure folds is worth a hundred thousand men. The ring of your battle cry will be louder and clearer — your hearts firmer — your arms stronger — where it leads you on. Its very sight must palsy the hands of the traitors, and, blaspheme it as they may, they hesitate to strike it down.
It is like an unnatural son striking at the heart of the mother that bore him; for beneath its honored folds were they born, and under its fostering care have they lived and won all they possess of prosperity and renown.
This proud ensign then represents not only the hopes of the future, but the glories of the past.
Every friend of human progress alive bids it God speed, and if the spirits of the illustrious departed are permitted to visit the scenes of their early triumphs, then are the shadows of the mighty dead leaving the skies to witness this conflict — all the martyrs of liberty down the track of time, from Marathon
You will fight under a cloud of witnesses — both the living and the dead.
But I adjure you, comrades, in the soldier do not forget the Christian
and the man. War too often appeals to the worst passions of our nature, and tends to deaden the sensibilities, brutalize the heart, and make even the compassionate cruel.
In the heat, then, of victorious fight ever remember mercy.
Be a magnanimous enemy in the hours of triumph.
You may disdain to ask quarter for yourselves, but never refuse it to a suppliant or prostrate foe. Let no wanton cruelty stain the laurels you may win. War, at best, is a tremendous calamity.
Add not to its horrors the devilish spirit of hatred and revenge.
It was said of Washington
— Liberty unsheathed his sword, Necessity stained it, Victory returned it. In this unnatural strife, let the pleading voice of humanity be heard even over the roar of battle.
Smite with the sword of the Lord
when duty commands; but in the flush of conquest, remember the Divine promise--“Blessed is the merciful man, for he shall obtain mercy.”
Above all, remember Him who giveth the victory.
The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong.
Implore the protection of the God of Battles.
You may feel indifferent now. You will be serious, thoughtful, in the presence of the enemy.
You will not regret then your daily prayers.
If your duties are exciting you may make them brief.
That was a short prayer of the publican--“God, be merciful to me, a sinner.”
It was accepted.
Imitate the great captain when about to rush into a desperate conflict.
You can remember it--“Oh, my God, if I forget Thee this day, do not Thou forget me.”
Pray, then, yourselves, and dear ones at home will pray for you. And now God be with you, and bear your shield and buckler against all your foes, temporal or spiritual, and return you to your homes — conquerors for humanity's sake, your country's sake,--conquerors for Christ
received the banner from the hands of Mrs. George Strong
, and, carrying it into the ranks, gave it into the hands of the color-sergeant
. Colonel Wilson
and the color-sergeant
then returned to the foot of the steps, both grasping the banner of liberty.
seemed deeply affected, and his utterance was choked for some time.
His wife stood on the stoop, regarding him with tearful emotion.
At length he summoned courage and spoke as follows:--
I can hardly speak; utterance has been taken from me. When I see my wife, when I see the ladies of New York city, who have done so much, I have to say of that flag that I love it better than my wife or child; better than I love her, my wife, do I love the honor of that flag.
For my God first, for my country next, and for my family next.
(Cheers.) I have sacrificed every thing except my God for that flag--(cheers)--and I do believe as enthusiastically as the men who went to Palestine
to fight, that the man who fights for that flag, although he dies, he dies holy, and fighting for the Almighty.
(Enthusiastic cheering.) I feel this in my heart; I can hardly speak, for I know not what I had to say. What I do say I say from my heart, and it is as God directs me — that this is a religious war. It is a war for the intelligence — for the freedom of the world — not for this country.
(Cheers.) It is a war to protect men, women, and children; that the liberties of the people may be protected in spite of aristocrats or would-be traitors.
(Cheers.) It is not for the glory of fighting or being the colonel of any regiment that I go forth to fight.
It is because I devote my life to this cause.
(Cheers.) I love my wife and child second to my flag, which I am ready to defend and die for. (Cheers.) The ladies of New York, God bless them, for they are Heavenborn angels — they have proved Heaven-born angels to me — to bless and protect the poor traveller as he passes through the world.
They have looked on me as one who was disgraced in the world — and some of my men bore hard names once.
But they are honest and true.
They are nature's noblemen.
(Cheers.) They are such men as those who guarded the liberty of this country — such as those who guarded the liberties of England
, made the King
sign Magna Charta
--(cheers); they are such men as made Rome
a republic, and fought for liberty in France
(Cheers.) They are as the sons of Abraham, who went forth to fight the Philistines.
I love that flag, (pointing to the banner,) and though I go upon the torrid, sandy beach of Pensacola
, and die there; though I go on the plains of Texas
, it matters not. If I go on the plains of Virginia
and gain renown, it is well; but wherever we are told to go. we go there, as long as it is for the honor and perpetuity of