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[283] and marched direct to Richmond, engaging in the battle at Mechanicsville on the 26th, a distance of one hundred and twenty miles, and without taking time to rest or recruit, except on the intervening Sabbath, which was spent in rest and worship.

But why do I recount these instances of fortitude and endurance on the part of the Army of Northern Virginia before men, many of whom were participants in these heroic struggles, and all of whom are familiar with their history?

Not only did the Army of Northern Virginia excel in that highest attribute of a soldier, fortitude, but their love of country was unsurpassed. For the last two years of the war they served, practically, without pay. Nominally the private soldier received thirteen dollars per month, but it was paid in Confederate currency. I have made a careful estimate of the value of these wages, reduced to the gold standard for the forty-eight months of the war, and I find that the average pay of the Confederate soldier, reduced to gold, was less than thirty-five cents per month.

No hirelings these, but patriots, whose services were inspired only by a sense of duty, and rewarded only by the gratitude of their countrymen.

Of the military leaders, our dead officers who commanded these men, I cannot consume your time to speak. They came from every Southern State, and now sleep in the bosom of Virginia—Lee and Jackson, and Bee, and Pelham, and Winder, and Whiting, and Wheat, and many others now imperishably linked in fame with the story of the Great Struggle.

Napoleon, though great in victory, did not bear irredeemable defeat with the fortitude which the world had a right to expect; while Washington, being victorious, left his composure in final disaster only to be conjectured from his magnanimity in ultimate success. But General Lee demonstrated by the reluctance with which he took up arms, and the brilliancy with which he bore them; by his moderation in victory and the unsurpassed nobility of his bearing in defeat; by his great achievements in war and his dignified devotion to the most ennobling arts of peace, that he possessed all the rare elements of moral and intellectual greatness, which, by their combination, conspire to form the noblest specimens of our race—

A combination and a form indeed,
Where every god did seem to set his seal,
To give the world assurance of a man!

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