me. And so I said to the friend who was with me: ‘We must stop.
I must speak to that young man.’
When he drew near, singing merrily at his work, I recognized him as a young man whom I had baptized in the army.
I knew his history.
Raised in the lap of luxury he had resisted its temptations, and when the war broke out he was about to bear off the highest honors of one of our colleges, and seemed destined to shine in his chosen profession, for which his tastes and talents fitted him. He was one of the first to step to the front when Virginia
called on her sons to rally to her defence, and was one of the best of her noble soldiers.
To see him thus, then, his hopes blighted, his fortune wrecked, and his body maimed for life, deeply touched my heart, and my words of greeting and sympathy were right warm.
I shall never forget how the noble fellow, straightening himself up, replied, with a proud smile: ‘Oh, Brother Jones, that is all right.
I thank God that I have one arm left and an opportunity to use it for the support of those I love
If my voice could reach all the young men of the South
to-day, I would ring in their ears the words of that maimed hero, and would beg them to imitate the example of our returned Confederate soldiers, who, as a rule, went to work with an energy and patient industry which have made them a real power in the land to-day.
I recollect that when, several months after, I met General Lee
, when he came to take charge of Washington College, and he asked me, as he frequently did: ‘How are our old soldiers getting on these hard times?’
I related to him, among others, the above incident.
The old chieftain's face flushed, his eyes filled with tears, and he said: ‘It is just like them, sir!
It is just like my poor boys!
They were the noblest fellows that the sun ever shone upon.’
And so I believe they were.
And now my task is done.
If my readers have derived half the pleasure from the perusal of this narrative that I have done in reviving these hallowed scenes and recalling these precious memories—in living over again the days when the dark clouds of war were illumined with the sunshine of the Redeemer
's smilethen I shall be more than satisfied.
And surely Christian men of every section and of every creed will unite in thanking God that Christ was
in the camps of Lee
's army with such wonderful power to save, and that out of that terrible war God brought such rich blessings.