previous next

[275] those, our Confederates in the ranks fought on, suffered on, endured on, with no expectation of promotion or preferment; with no hope of ultimate success, each knowing surely that the end must be, at best, life and unrecognized prowess; at worst, death and an unknown grave. We talk of the sufferings at Valley Forge, and the American people should hold them in everlasting remembrance. But what were the sufferings of Washington's men in comparison with the sufferings of Lee's men? Yes, I feel that it is presumptuous in me to try to eulogize with words these martyrs without hope of reward or success—the Confederate soldiers in the ranks; but I yield to no man in my love, respect, and reverence for them.

And what shall be said of those unselfish patriots who were true to their colors to the last, when the ravages of armies had desolated their country, and the torches of bummers had left blackened chimneys as monuments over the buried treasures of a husband's and father's love? How can we sufficiently honor these men, who, knowing that their families, without food and without shelter, were starving to death or were living on the offal of the enemy's camps, who, knowing even this, yet still answered to roll call, yet still filled their places in the ranks, yet still faced death again and again, putting duty to country above duty to wife and children? Aye, how many of these poured out their heart's blood in that last despairing struggle, leaving those they loved more than life to the cold charities of a forgetful world? Hard must be the heart of that foeman which does not warm with a generous glow at this simple tale of sublime devotion to principle. And how should this story affect us, their comrades in danger and their partners in the same buoyant hopes and the same deep despair? May my arm be palsied by my side when it ceases to hold up the banner inscribed all over with their glorious deeds. May my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth when it ceases to pronounce the praises of such matchless courage, unrivalled fortitude, and unselfish patriotism.

God bless the privates in the ranks now and forevermore!

Having an unwavering faith in the wisdom, justice, and mercy of God, I bow with adoring reverence to his decree which destroyed our hopes of Southern independence. I would not reverse His decree if I could do so. That would be wicked and presumptuous. All honorable Confederates render the truest allegiance to the obligations imposed upon them by the surrender. I believe that the most uncompromising rebels, yea, the bitterest rebels, if you choose to call them so, would be the very first to rally round the old flag in any just and honorable

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Valley Forge (Missouri, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
W. H. F. Lee (1)
Confederates (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: