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[112] and rights were threatened with armed overthrow; that all that they held most sacred in life was in danger of being trampled beneath the foot of military invasion. And, in the defence of these cherished objects, they sprung to arms with all the might they possessed. And now, after more than a score of years have passed, as we recall our motives and ponder over our aims in the clear, calm atmosphere of sober afterthought, now, with the larger part of our comrades, who shared our feelings, asleep in their graves beneath the soil on which we stand, and the great Searcher of Hearts looking down upon us, we may look the whole world in the face and declare that, in our sincerest convictions, men never went forth to battle with a clearer consciousness of the rectitude of their motives or a more assured confidence in the inherent righteousness of their actions.

With respect to the military leaders, whose standards we followed and whose orders we obeyed, we need cherish no misgivings as to the honorable station their names shall hold in future history. They indeed are among

the few, the immortal names,
     That were not born to die.

In the brightness of a well-earned distinction, they have been sealed to an immortality of fame. With those of Wellington, of Marlborough, of Hampden and of Washington, the names of Lee and of Jackson will be forever honorably associated on the roll of the military worthies who have illustrated the public virtue and genius of the Anglo-Saxon race. And as future generations shall look back through the vista of American glory on the field, among the conspicuous forms that shall pass in view shall be those of our own gallant leaders. There, at the head of their dashing columns, shall float, as of yore, the plumes of Ashby and Stuart; and there shall be seen Pickett and Hill, with outstretched arms, pointing their lines onward to victory or to death.

As regards, also, the great conflicts of arms that illustrated the skill of our leaders and tried the valor of our troops, we need harbor no apprehensions that the muse of history will not in coming years accord to them adequate justice. It may, indeed, be said of the men who followed Lee and Jackson in these heroic struggles, that the light of their camp fires has cast its reflection, and the thunder of their guns sent its echoes, over the civilized world. Appreciative historians, using other languages than our own, have written for distant people the story of our marches, our sufferings, our endurance

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Robert E. Lee (2)
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George E. Pickett (1)
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