Portray him as he was—great, single minded and simple. He was the devotee of duty, but softened its asperities to others. His was a character with but few counterparts in ancient or modern story. Talleyrand's saying, “No man is a hero to his valet,” is true in the main. Johnston would have been a hero to his very shadow. Those who knew him best admired him most. His peerless, blameless life was long enough for glory, and but one brief day too short for liberty. One hour more for him in the saddle, and the Confederate States would (in all probability) have taken their place at the council board of the nations of the earth.You, gentlemen, have determined that the equestrian statue of Albert Sidney Johnston shall surmount and ornament the tomb erected to the Confederate dead. You thus transmit his image to coming generations as he loved best to be in life—a warrior who sat his noble steed so firmly, and yet so gracefully, as to make it part and parcel of himself. With his death this brief and imperfect eulogy of a typical Confederate soldier and officer ends, and laying manuscript aside, I turn to pay brief but heartfelt homage to the boys who wore the ragged gray jacket of the Confederacy, and whose steadfast and stubborn bravery forged the epaulettes that graced the shoulders and marked the rank of their great leaders.
In response to enthusiastic and continued calls from the vast crowd, President Davis came forward, and as soon as the deafening cheers with which he was received had subsided, spoke in substance as follows: