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[30] duly appreciate—and the presence here of the Author of ‘Minutiae of Soldier Life,’ a book which preserves for us, in all the delicious freshness of local colouring, that interior life of the soldier which is the best index of his character and the best indication of his stalwart and sturdy fortitude, confute the allegation.

And yet, perhaps, Sir, the best history is the unwritten history. The best schools of history are around the hearth-stone. The best lessons of patriotism, of veneration for the past, of true and laudable appreciation of noble deeds, are received at the lips of a mother. Her unerring instincts teach her to select with wonderful skill the best exemplars to kindle the aspirations of youth. The women of modern times take the place, and perform the duty, of the minstrels of an older age. They keep alive the traditions of a land and suffer nothing of enduring value to perish. Happy, then, is that land which can furnish the lips of its fair minstrels with rich stores of inspiration, drawn from the achievements of its sons. Happy that land which has placed in the mystic temple of fame such embodiments of all the manly virtues as may be found in the soldier of the Confederacy, whether the chieftain of its armies or the humblest private in the ranks. All the better if the laurels of their fame is intertwined with the emblematic cypress of sorrow. All the better if the paeon of their praise is interpersed with minor cadences speaking softy of sufferings nobly, if vainly, borne. All the better if the blood they shed be intermingled with tears, so that the baptism of blood and tears may descend in fructifying influence, upon this fair land.

Yes give me a land of the wreck and the tomb,
There is grandeur in graves — there is glory in gloom,
For out of the gloom future brightness is born
As after the night comes the sunrise of morn;
And the graves of the dead with grass overgrown
May yet be the footstool of liberty's throne,
And each single wreck in the war path of might
Shall yet be a stone in the temple of right.

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Soldier Life (2)
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