his life for his country, he has paid the dearest tribute which men can offer, and there is a moral sublimity in the act which ennobles the very poorest.
In every age the sacrifice has been immortalized in verse and song, and the divine Dante
says of him:
He goes in quest of liberty—which is so dear,
As he knew best who gave his life for it.
Liberta va cercando, ch'e si cara,
Come sa chi per lei vita rifiuta.
It was a great error to confound the Confederate
soldier, as some of our surgeons did, with those of a standing army, or with mercenary troops, and treat them with harshness or disdain.
The great majority did not require to be drafted into the army; honor and patriotism carried and kept them there.
They were our brethren and our friends—sometimes our superiors; and though only privates, often the social equals of the best and highest in the army.
Nor was his bearing that of an inferior.
We all know the free, unconcerned air and carriage of the soldier, and how he would chaff his colonel or his general as readily as his comrades, whenever he could do so with impunity.
Many noble youths who were killed in battle or who perished by disease were after the pattern of
Little Giffen, of Tennessee,
ill-clad, ill-fed, humble heroes—the peers of any major-general or surgeon-general in the army.
There were others more delicately reared, but not more true and loyal than these—high bred, gentle, keenly sensitive youths—who felt a stain as they would a blow—but brave as lions—who freely gave their lives, with only a tear for those at home, in obedience to the demands of that in-born nobility which sent them forth at the call of their bleeding country.
Lycidas is dead, dead ere his prime,
Young Lycidas, and hath not left his peer.
Finally, brethren, in looking around us now on the ‘survivors,’ we see no men like the militia colonels of the dear old ante-bellum
days—decked in gay apparel, the ‘cynosure of neighboring eyes,’ as when, decorated and bedizened for a fourth of July celebration, they were surrounded by applauding multitudes and accompanied by bands of music—
Sonorous metal blowing martial sounds.
But, on the contrary, we gaze—not without emotion—upon real