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[396] ‘greatly stood at bay’ and ‘taught’ astonished nations ‘what long-enduring hearts can do.’

Yonder to the left frowns Fort Steadman, made glorious by that daring stroke of desperate valor, where Gordon's ‘fiery few clashed’ and for the moment ‘won’—here almost at our very feet the long ravine now clothed in summer bravery, which it seems but yesterday we saw one moment shrouded in billowing smoke and then agleam with serried bayonets, as the men of the ‘Virginia brigade’ sprang along its slope with fierce, wild cries, and by the magic touch of veteran steel transformed disaster into ‘swift winged victory’—and far afield, where yonder fringe of solemn pines sharply cuts the distance sky-line, we mark the spot where this day, twenty-six years ago, the gray-haired men and eager boys of this heroic town with stubborn valor held ‘the outer works’ and freely shed their blood for hearth and home and country.

Surely then, I say, it is most meet that on this spot, above all others in our southern land, should rise some monument in breathing marble or enduring bronze to tell our children and children's children of the courage and devotion of these heroes, who chose death in resistance rather than safety in submission.

And as in those eventful days, when selfish dross was purged away in steady fires of patriotism, these noble women ministered with tenderest touch alike to humblest soldier as to famous captain, and counted none a stranger who wore with honor his country's gray, so now to-day we bid their southern sisters mark that those who closed the dying eyes of these their ‘unreturning brave’ have reared this monument not alone to those who called Virginia mother, but to all ‘Our Southern Dead.’

Crowning this monumental shaft, ‘the counterfeit presentment’ of a simple Confederate soldier, fashioned so true to life by cunning art, that we almost catch the merry quip or wild, defiant yell, looks down upon the serried graves of sleeping comrades from ‘the Old North State,’ from the rice-fields of Carolina, from the cotton-lands of Georgia and Alabama, from Arkansas and Mississippi, from the savannahs of Florida and Louisiana, from happy homesteads on the banks of the Cumberland, and from that teeming empire beyond ‘the Father of Waters,’ whose ‘Lone Star’ banner has ever blazed in Glory's van—a mighty patriot host, who, at the trumpet call of duty put aside the clinging arms of wives and little ones, or turned from aged sires and weeping mothers to attest upon these distant fields their fidelity to constitutional liberty, and who here

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