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[129] But, oh, there was a time, my countrymen, when you saw suddenly, like a shooting star that invincible, incomparable Jackson wheel round on the enemy's right flank, and then something terrible happened!

It is true the Confederacy fell, but it did great service to the military world. Success is not altogether a mortal achievement. Man cannot know the purpose of God in defeat. There may be a destiny yet unknown to all, the first workings of which may have only taken shape at the dread field of Appomattox. I believe that all great battles are fought beyond the stars.

I am not one to despair. Wars and defeats precede all great achievements and successes. When the wild Goths and Vandals poured down upon Rome and her arts, and civilization seemed almost blotted out forever, the true Roman spirit arose grander than ever, and from that wreck of former glory arose the renaissance. Here in the South have we been tried in the school of adversity, and destiny has not spared the rod. For my own part, I felt at the close of the war that there was nothing left here in old Virginia for John, so I concluded to take Horace Greely's advice, ‘Go West.’ I did so. I went out to St. Louis, Kansas City and Chicago, but everywhere I went I felt so terribly lonesome. I had gotten out of my latitude, and I just broke out in that old strain, ‘Oh carry me back to old Virginia,’ where the ragged boys were that I loved; and sink or swim, live or die, I am going to stay right here with you all. I thank God that I have done so, for I have builded better than I know, and all I am and all I hope to be I owe to these dear people of old Virginia.

Ladies and gentlemen, I beg to assure you that I most profoundly appreciate the honor to which your courtesy has invited me. I bring no gaudy flower to lay upon the monument your noble hearts have placed upon consecrated ground.

It stands like a sentinel of your love pointing heavenward, simple, grand, and beautiful as the story of their lives. As Macaulay has so fittingly said:

To every man upon this earth
Death cometh soon or late;
And how can men die better
Than facing fearful odds—
For the ashes of his fathers
And the temples of his gods.

I have not spoken of the brave leaders who led those valiant men. Never was a valiant army more valiantly led. One reason why their


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