necessity for what is termed an active army, and should it be incumbent upon you to furnish troops from your reserves, you have no constitutional scruples, like Governor Strong, of Massachusetts, against marching your militia from the borders of the State, to fight the battles of the cause in which you are engaged. I honor you for it. It is needless for me to argue questions here which have been discussed elsewhere, for here I am among the disciples of him from whom I learned my lessons of State Rights — the great, the immortal John C. Calhoun. Among those to whom we are indebted in South Carolina, I have not yet alluded to that peculiar claim of gratitude which is due to the fair countrywomen of the Palmetto State--they who have gone to the hospital to watch by the side of the sick — those who throng your wayside homes — who have used their needle with the industry of sewing-women — who have borne privation without a murmur, and who have given up fathers, sons, and husbands, with more than Spartan virtue, because they called on no one to witness and record the deed. Silently, with all the dignity and grandeur of patriotism, they have made their sacrifices — sacrifices which, if written, would be surpassed by nothing in history. If all the acts of heroism and virtue of the women of the South could be transmitted to the future, it would present such a record as the world has never seen. All honor, then, I say, to the ladies of the Palmetto State. Their gallantry is only different from that of her sons in this, that they deem it unfeminine to strike; and yet such is the heroism they have displayed — such the noble demeanor they have exhibited — that at the last moment, when trampled upon, and it became a necessity, they would not hesitate to strike the invader a corpse at their feet. [Applause.] It is scarcely necessary for me, at a time like this, to argue grave questions respecting policy, past, present or prospective. I only ask you to have faith and confidence, and to believe that every faculty of my head and my heart is devoted to your cause, and to that I shall, if necessary, give my life. Let every one in his own sphere, and according to his own capacity, devote himself to the single purpose of filling up and sustaining our armies in the field. If required to stay at home, let him devote himself not to the acquisition of wealth, but to the advancement of the common cause. If there is to be any aristocracy in the land after this war, I hope it will be an aristocracy of those men who have became poor while bleeding to secure our liberty. [Applause.] If there are to be any peculiarly favored by public opinion hereafter, I trust it will be those men who have longest borne a musket and oftentimes bled upon the battle-field. If there is to be any young man shunned by the young ladies when he seeks their favor, I trust it will be the young man who has grown rich by skulking. And with all sincerity, I say to my young friends here, if you want the right man for a husband, take him whose armless sleeves and noble heart betokens the duties that he has rendered to his country, rather than he who has never shared the toils or borne the dangers of the field. If there still be left any of those military critics, who have never spoken of our Generals but to show how much better things could have been managed, or of our Government, but to find fault with it because it never took their advice — in mercy's name let those wise men go to the front and aid us in achieving our independence. With their wisdom and strength swelling our armies, I should have some hopes that I will not be a corpse before our cause is secured, and that our flag would never trail in dishonor, but would wave victoriously above the roar and smoke of battle. I believe it is in the power of the men of the Confederacy to plant our banners on the banks of the Ohio, where we may say to the Yankee, “Be quiet, or we shall teach you another lesson.” Within the next thirty days much is to be done, for upon our success much depends. Within the next thirty days, therefore, let all who are absentees, or who ought to be in the army, go promptly to their ranks. Let fresh victories crown our arms, and the peace party, if there be such at the North, can elect its candidate. But whether a peace candidate is elected or not, Yankee instinct will teach him that it is better to end the war, and leave us to the enjoyment of our own rights. Prayerful for your welfare, confiding in the army of the Confederate States to do that which soft words can never achieve, and in the hope that God will preserve the little ones of all brave men who are in the field, or who are going to it, and trusting that in the future, under brighter auspices, it may be my fortune to meet the good people of Columbia; I wish you all, for the present, farewell. [Applause.]
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Doc . 16 . operations in Tennessee .
Doc . 19 . the siege of Suffolk, Virginia .
Doc . 36 . General Rousseau 's expedition.
Doc . 59 . battles of Spottsylvania , Va: battle of Sunday , May 8 , 1864 .
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.