Reunion of the Virginia division Army of Northern Virginia Association.The annual gathering in the State Capitol of Virginia of ‘the men who wore the gray’ has been for years an occasion of deep interest. The reunion on the 22d of October, 1885, was no exception. The Hall of the House of Delegates was crowded with fair women and brave men, and the occasion was one of deepest interest. General W. H. F. Lee, President of the Association, called the meeting to order, and called on the Chaplain (Dr. J. William Jones), who led in prayer. General Lee introduced as orator of the evening, General D. H. Hill, in the following graceful words, which were heartily applauded: I have the honor, ladies and gentlemen, to introduce to you as our orator of the evening one of the famous Captains of the gallant Army of Northern Virginia, whose name and fame is interwoven with its history. It is especially pleasing to Virginians to greet this distinguished soldier, not only on account of his own great merits, being known as among the bravest of its Generals, but also because he comes from our sister State of North Carolina, whose gallant sons poured out their blood so freely on Virginia's soil in defence of constitutional liberty. General Hill was received with deafening applause, and stood for some minutes before he could proceed.
Address of General D. H. Hill.
General Hill was vociferously applauded as he took his seat, and was warmly congratulated on his speech. General Early was loudly called for, but excused himself from responding, except to remind his friend, General Hill, that the Federal estimate of the Confederate strength at Sharpsburg was made by General Banks, who always saw the ‘rebels’ through a powerful magnifying glass whenever ‘Stonewall’ Jackson was about. In response to calls, General W. B. Taliaferro made a brief and stirring speech, which was loudly applauded. The officers of last year insisted upon a change, and a committee consisting of Captain C. A. Bohannon, General William McComb, and N. V. Randolph reported the following who were unanimously elected: For President: Major-General William B. Taliaferro. Vice-Presidents: Major-General William Smith, Colonel Charles  Marshall, Colonel James H. Skinner, Captain P. W. McKinney, Brigadier-General Thomas T. Munford. Executive Committee: Colonel William H. Palmer, Colonel Archer Anderson, Sergeant George L. Christian, Major T. A. Brander, Sergeant John S. Ellett. Treasurer: Private R. S. Bosher. Secretary: Private Carlton McCarthy. General W. H. F. Lee, the retiring president, was heartily thanked for the ability with which he had presided and the energy he had displayed in the management of the affairs of the Association. On motion of General Early, Misses Mary and Mildred Lee, Mrs. Thomas J. Jackson and her daughter, and Mrs. J. E. B. Stuart and her daughter were unanimously and enthusiastically elected honorary members of the Association, and the Secretary was directed to send them badges.
The banquet.After the exercises in the hall the Association and the invited guests repaired to Saenger Hall, where an elegant banquet was spread and the good things heartily enjoyed. General Taliaferro presided, and Judge George L. Christian acted as toast-master and read the toasts. The regular toasts and the respondents were as follows: The Infantry:
If ever a band of warriors wonGeneral William McComb. The Cavalry:
A paean for deeds of valor done,
They deserve, indeed, the glorious meed
And the proud triumphal hymn.
As went the knight with sword and shieldGeneral T. T. Munford. The Artillery: The voice from the mouths of their pieces sent dismay into the ranks of the enemy. Judge William I. Clopton.  The Staff of Our Armies: The nerves which contributed to the genius of our great commanders, and through which their inspiration was conducted to their troops. Colonel Archer Anderson. The Armies of the West: The heroes of Corinth, Chickamauga, and Mobile are worthy comrades of those of Manassas, Gettysburg, and the Wilderness, and will ever greet each other as brethren. General D. H. Maury. The Women of the South:
To tournay or to battle-field,
They offered at their country's call
Their lives, their fortunes, and their all.
Land of heroes, your endurance through the strife transcendent shines;Dr. Thomas J. Moore. The Dead: Their dust sleeps well in the land of their choice,
Born of sunlight, 'mid the tempest stood ye firm as mountain pines.
Their names in song and story;
And fame shall shout with immortal voice,
Dead on the field of glory.
Hon. D. B. Lucas, of Jefferson county, West Virginia, whose exquisite poem, ‘The Land Where we were Dreaming,’ has touched so many hearts, responded to the last toast in a speech which elicited loud applause. There has been so strong a demand for its publication that we are glad to give it in full.
Speech of Hon. D. B. Lucas.In responding to the sentiment now proposed to the memory of the dead of the Army of Northern Virginia, I feel and appreciate both the difficulty and the sacred character of the melancholy duty which has been assigned me. What can I say which shall exaggerate the debt of gratitude or lighten the burden of regret which we owe to the brave soldiers who, by their courage, illumined the most brilliant page of military history, and by their unselfish devotion sanctified the sternest lessons of civil and institutional disaster? The formation of this Association was but the outgrowth of a sense of duty to the sentiments which cluster around our dead.  To preserve in some permanent form the original and authentic evidence of what these men achieved was a high and sacred duty which we owed not to them only, but to ourselves and to our children. For no more melancholy sight can meet the eye of the patriot than to see a teacher in our public schools engaged in teaching the children of these dumb and silent martyrs that their fathers died under some manner of cloud, or that they needed some sort of pardon, other than the free grace of the everlasting God whom they served. Neither can there be any moral or national necessity that the first axiom of mathematics, which is that the sum of all the parts is only equal to, and cannot exceed, the whole, should be untaught in the vain effort to prove that when an aggregate of twenty-seven hundred thousand Federal soldiers engaged six hundred thousand Confederates, the latter in every separate engagement, from Manassas to the Wilderness, outnumbered their Federal antagonists. No; thank God, the first duty which we owe to these dead heroes is the same which we owe to truth. The simplest form of annals, unadorned by political disquisition, as unwarped as mathematics and impartial as a sun-dial, would embody all that we should need to excite our just pride in their almost superhuman achievements; all that our children need to keep alive the flame of patriotism or the love of glory. They do not need any depreciation of their adversaries, nor, as Chief-Justice Chase expressed it, any detraction from ‘the heroism of our countrymen who fell upon the other side.’ This unreasonable, not to say unholy sentiment, that to do justice to one side implies detraction from the other, should be given over to the sounding brass and tinkling cymbals with which we amuse ourselves in political harangues or popular assemblies. But here, as it were in the presence of our dead, we can do most honor to them, while at the same time we do full justice to the motives and courage of those who confronted them. We can divest ourselves of every suspicion of clap-trap, and, standing face to face with our dead, say, in all clearness of conscience, that having accepted the umpirage of the sword we have also accepted its award, and mean to abide by it. This much for the outcome or actual result. But may God do so to us and more, if ever we fail when occasion demands the expression of conviction, to assert the simple truth, that these dear, darling dead were right; that on the plane of clear reason,  they were most sternly logical; that as patriots, they had no superiors; and as soldiers, they have had no equals. This is our conviction, that these men ventured all for self government and died in a righteous and holy cause. Now, as for their achievements. They were matched against as brave soldiers as the world had produced, in love with a sentiment— the Union. They were outnumbered in the aggregate as six to twenty-seven, or more than four to one. In population, their section (excluding slaves) was as seven to twenty-two, or less than one to three. And yet they carried on the points of their bayonets their cause for four long years, and in the end yielded to famine and an exhausted treasury, rather than to military necessity. We cannot evade history. We may for a time startle her from her propriety, but she will in the end regain her equipoise. I have already remarked upon the absurd paradox presented in our school histories, namely, that while in the aggregate the Federal army numbered over twenty-seven hundred thousand and the Confederate but a little over six hundred thousand, yet, in the separate decisive battles of the war, the forces engaged were nearly equal. What surpassing generalship! What matchless strategic skill, which, with an average disparity of more than four to one, yet, on every critical plain, could oppose an equal number to their adversaries! But we can not suffer the prowess of these private soldiers, so justly extolled to-night by one of their most brilliant captains, to be disparaged, even to increase the fame of their immortal leaders. Let the plain story be told, though our Peter Parley histories and Mother Goose biographies should have to be relegated to the regions of romance where they rightfully belong. Let us frankly acknowledge that from first to last, on every important field from Manassas to Appomattox, the Army of the Potomac, composed of brave, enthusiastic, and well-equipped soldiers, outnumbered the Army of Northern Virginia by an average of more than two to one; that for the first two years, the latter were mainly armed and clothed by captures from the opposing forces; that they never hesitated when ordered to attack a superior force and seldom failed to gain the advantage; that they took more prisoners than they lost by capture; that they killed more than they lost in battle, and that in one important campaign they destroyed more of the enemy by ten thousand than the actual count of their own whole army. I have compiled a table founded on the most reliable authorities  exhibiting the comparative numbers and losses of the Army of the Potomac and the Army of Northern Virginia in the more important engagements of the last two years of the war:
A combination and a form indeed, When General Lee announced to the Army of Northern Virginia the death of General Jackson, he hit upon the two great qualities of the soldier which distinguished, with most peculiar emphasis, the dead captain—courage and confidence in God. ‘We feel,’ said General Lee, ‘that his spirit still lives, and will inspire the whole army with his indomitable courage and unshaken confidence in God, as our hope and strength.’ ‘A great captain,’ said Napoleon, ‘supplies all deficiencies by his courage.’ It was this courageous self-confidence, inspired by a higher confidence in God, which distinguished General Jackson. But he was not more self-confident than modest. It is related that when General Lee's note of condolence, telling him that for the good of the country he had preferred being wounded himself was read to him, he exclaimed, ‘Better ten Jacksons than one Lee!’ Thus did these two great compeers vie in modesty, and unselfish admiration, each of the other. Two twin giants, to whom Virginia, a second Ilia, pregnant by Mars, had given birth; and who, though they failed to found an Empire, as did Romulus and Remus, will yet shine like Castor and Pollux as bright constellations in the firmament of history; but with this difference, that while the Sons of Ledd illumine the sky but one at a time, our Twins, sons of Virginia, transfixed, shining together, shall cosparkle in one equal splendor throughout all coming ages. These dead—these darling dead—they have not died in vain! Not in vain, my countrymen, their courage and achievement; not in vain their highest virtue of fatigue-enduring fortitude; not in vain their unbought and unpaid services in the field; not in vain did the fathers die unbountied, as their children live unpensioned; not in vain did they walk through the tragedy of war, or do they now lie down in the dull pantomine of death; their deeds were not in vain, because we who survive shall teach them to our children, and thus preserve a heroic race of men capable of such self sacrifices as these men made, and equal to such heroism as may serve, when lapsed from virtue, ‘to recall us to ourselves, and join us to the eternal gods!’ The speeches were enthusiastically received, and the occasion one of great interest and pleasure.
Where every god did seem to set his seal,
To give the world assurance of a man!