previous next

[125] reproach, derision and contempt, feud, faction and recrimination would have brought an aftermath of disorder and terror; and had it been based on such terms as those which critics have suggested, a glorious revolution would have been snuffed out like a farthing candle in a miserable barter about the ransom of slaves.

It was well for all that it was fought to the finish without compromise either tendered or entertained. The fact that it was so fought out gave finality to its result and well-nigh extinguished its embers with its flames. No drop of blood between Petersburg and Appomattox—not one in the last charge—was shed in vain. Peace with honor must pay its price, even if that price be life itself, and it is because the South paid that price with no miser's hand that her surviving soldiers carried home with them the ‘consciousness of duty faithfully performed.’ We should rejoice that if weak men wavered before the end, neither Jefferson Davis, nor Robert E. Lee, nor Joseph E. Johnston wavered. Though they and their compeers could not achieve the independence of the Confederacy, they did preserve the independent and unshamed spirit of their people. And it is in that spirit now that men of the South find their shield against calumny, their title to respect, their welcome to the brotherhood of noble men, and their incentive to noble and unselfish deeds.

If you would know why Rome was great,

says a student of her history, ‘consider that Roman soldier whose armed skeleton was found in a recess near the gate of Pompeii. When burst the sulphurous storm, the undaunted hero dropped the visor of his helmet and stood there to die.’

Would you know why the South is great? Look on the new-made grave in Louisiana, and consider the ragged soldier of Bentonville and Appomattox.

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)
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.
Robert Edward Lee (1)
Joseph E. Johnston (1)
Jefferson Davis (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: